Herman Magnusson’s Reinforced Concrete Clothes Poles

Duluthians who have clothesline poles like the one in this advertisement are displaying the work of a gig-economy pioneer. There’s probably not a lot of this type of century-old ornamental concrete lawn stuff still hanging around, but it was certainly made to last and would be likely to survive just about anything except falling out of fashion.

The advertising flier dates to the mid 1920s and comes to Perfect Duluth Day via Jolee Edmondson of Savannah, Ga. She’s a granddaughter of Herman Enoch Magnusson, Duluth maker of “concrete bird baths, seats, benches and clothes line poles.”

“My grandfather, a Swedish immigrant, was very industrious,” Edmondson wrote. “Not only did he have a job for many years at Clyde Iron Works, he also developed this side business, designing and producing practical and ornamental concrete forms in the basement of the home he built on West 12th Street. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of them still dot Duluth’s landscape.”

Edmondson notes her grandfather moonlighted well into the Great Depression, turning out concrete works in the evenings and on weekends.

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