Mystery Photo #49: Women and Children First

Gust Landin Photography

The back of this postcard credits Gust Landin, a photographer who operated out of 24 N. 21st. Ave. W. in Duluth’s friendly West End neighborhood, with shooting this image.

The main question here is, what’s going on in this century-old photo? Why have a bunch of ladies in dresses lined up with a row of children in front of them at what we can assume is some Duluth location? Who are they? We’ll probably never know for sure.

The only easily available info about Landin is that he advertised his business in the Duluth Herald on Feb. 1, 1912, just below the busy, prosperous, West End feature, under the header “The men who are working for a greater West End.”

Gust Landin

And there’s also the ad below, from the Dec. 8, 1913 Herald, noting that he does “progressive photo work.”

By the way, there is a building at that office location today, but it’s not the same one.

1 Comment

Paul Lundgren

about 2 months ago

Gust Landin makes a cameo in Herbert Widell's autobiographical chapbook Värmland in West Duluth, compiled by Richard Hudelson based on interviews with Widell.

Gust Landin was another good friend of my parents. He was older than they were. He was a photographer. His shop was on Nineteenth Avenue West between Superior and First Street in Duluth's Scandinavian West End. Much of his business came from new immigrants. Newcomers would want a photograph to send to the folks back home. Photography shops would have suits for men to wear so they would look successful. Landin served as something of a go-between, connecting newcomers to the Swedish-American community in Duluth. He was active in Svithiod Lodge. He was also something of a radical. He thought workingmen were being unjustly treated. He was outspoken in his views. My father, a businessman, laughed at Landin about his radical views, but they remained good friends. When I was a boy, I sometimes went with Gust Landin to his cabin on Whiteface River. These were good times. I liked him. Once he said to me, "Herb, all you need is a wife, a watch, and a suit and you will be rich." His son, Milton Landin, who was older than I was, used to tease me with a little rhyme: "Andrew Widell, Tremont Hotel, tre år, vit hår." ("Andrew Widell, Tremont Hotel, three years old and white hair.") Landin's photography shop went out of business during the depression. For awhile after that he had a restaurant at Fortieth Avenue West.

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