Mystery Photo #126: Twin ‘Tin Man’ Water Towers

The harbor looks busy in this vintage photo for sale at the Superior Salvation Army

I found this framed photo with an unusual view of the Duluth Harbor and Aerial Lift Bridge at the Superior Salvation Army last weekend. It’s signed by Tim Slattery.

Lots of questions about this picture: Was the photo taken from a structure or from an airplane? Can anyone identify the three (!) ships in the port? What jumped out to me were the twin “tin man” water towers on the hill above the bridge. Where were they located and when were they taken down?

If anyone wants a better look at the picture, it could still be in the Salvation Army front window.

Note the twin “Tin Man” water towers on the hill above the bridge.



Gina Temple-Rhodes

about 2 years ago

Those were the Duluth Heights watertowers, pretty sure. They were replaced in 2010; my parents moved near there about that time and we watched the new modern one go up. 

I worked at the Great Lakes Aquarium in 2000 and remember Tim Slattery's name as a local boat nerd and photographer. A sad loss, 17 years ago already!? 

Duluth News Tribune: "Construction begins on 2 Duluth water towers"

Malcom Cheese

about 2 years ago

They were located up in Woodland on the corner of Minneapolis Avenue and East Mankato Street. The old pump house is still there as are the two concrete cisterns (or sewage tanks?) located just behind the pump house. They were replaced with a smaller, mushroom-style tower. Not sure when they were torn down, but they were still there in when I left town in 1973. There were many who were dared to climb the towers, but we were always fearful of the elderly lady who lived across Mankato Street who, we were told by the older kids, would call the police at the slightest sign of activity. There was also a large, five-foot nest of tangled barbed wire stuffed into the cage that surrounded the ladder. Here is a link to an old photo taken sometime between 1925 and 1935 from Woodland Avenue. The cemeteries are on the right and on the left is where Concordia Lutheran Church will be built several decades later. Minneapolis and St. Paul avenues are straight ahead. You can see the towers at the top of the hill directly above the car.  

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