Eleanor Roosevelt’s 1947 visit to Duluth

Two years after U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in office, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt traveled to Duluth. While here she was made an Honorary Ambassador Extraordinary of the Dushy of Duluth — the ambassadors program of the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. The photo above shows her receiving the citation from Arthur C. Young, “Prince of the East.”

For more details we turn to excerpts from Mrs. Roosevelt’s newspaper column “My Day”

May 31, 1947

After a very busy day in Milwaukee, we took the night train to Duluth, Minnesota, where we arrived in time for a luncheon under the auspices of the Round Table of Christians and Jews. …

June 2, 1947

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a thriving, bustling business city where you feel men and women would attempt anything that might challenge their imagination. I was much impressed, too, by Duluth and Superior. In a way, they seemed like one entity. The harbor lying between them is a marvelous shipping outlet for a tremendous area of the country, and the possible developments for the future seem limitless. At present, the city is stretched out in a narrow strip along the lake. In Superior, they told me, much of the country around is cut-over land, and the city is chiefly an ore-shipping center. Cut-over land, however, can again grow the original kind of trees.

This is not particularly good farming country. With conservation, however, I should think it would remain extraordinarily good country for sportsmen. We saw fishermen, for example, starting off with glee on holiday trips. That could continue to be an unending source of profit to the area, as well as of pleasure to many people throughout the country.

It seemed to me that Duluth had opportunities for the establishment of new businesses and civic developments which were being neglected. It is a cold climate, but it is very beautiful there and I have seldom seen a lovelier home site than that of my cousin, Mrs. Bernard Ridder, Jr. Her house is hidden among trees and looks out over the lake, yet it is only about a ten-minute drive from the business district.

Some of the people I met were concerned about the hospital drive which is now on. They have only 300 beds available in their hospitals at the present time. Their situation points up the fact that even though Congress, in spite of the President’s message, may not think it necessary to take up the nation’s health problems during this session, the people of the nation in their own communities are becoming aware of the need for health services and, in many cases, the need for coordination and some Federal assistance.

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