Mystery Photo #140: Fourth of July Gals

All that is known about this photo is the information written on the back. “4th July Celebration in Duluth” gives us a date, along with the vague understanding that it’s from sometime in the early half of the 20th century. And we get the first names of the girls: Bonita (?), Rosemary, Helen, Jerry and Kathryn.

Can anyone figure out more?


Mike Creger

about 3 years ago

There's a 207 or 202 on the porch post. Looks like an avenue. In 1915, the DNT reported that Royal Adams, of 302 56th Ave. W, was host to his sister, Mrs. Michael Barney, and her children Helen and Bonita from Upson Wis. (Iron County.) Further reports show sisters Geraldine, Bonita and Helen Barney in Iron County. Bonita was born in 1915. So maybe this is early 1920s.

Mike Creger

about 3 years ago

June 1928 Ironwood Daily Globe reports Royal Adams visiting his mother with children Katherine, Rosemary and Lorraine.

Mike Creger

about 3 years ago

Sept. 1934, Royal Adams dies.


about 3 years ago

This is an unusual mystery photo in that the location is sometimes easy to identify but the people are often lost to history. In this instance, Mike has successfully identified the people but the location of the house remains a mystery. 

And yet the photo does seem to contain a considerable number of small clues that would give away its location. It is on the start of a 200 block that is relatively flat and part of a straight, continuous street that leads towards one of Duluth’s hills. 

There are surprisingly few blocks on the eastern side of town that would match that as the places that might be flat enough don’t have houses built on the avenues where you would find a 200 number. On the west side, the house could be somewhere just above 2nd Street, a street frequently interrupted by parks, streams, railroad tracks, and industrials sites. There just isn’t a lot of West 2nd Street and old aerial photos show it having been that way for some time. Only a few locations, such as around 38th Avenue West, could even potentially fit.

Given the address Mike found for one of the family members, the Irving neighborhood seems the most likely. While there are a few 200 blocks on the south side of the neighborhood, the hill doesn’t seem that far in the distance. The 200 blocks on the northern side seem like the best possible place for a match. But they are rather hard to check, as they were cleared away in their entirety by the construction of I-35, Spirit Valley Mall and other retail with ample parking, as marked by the red box in the satellite comparison between 1939 and today. 

In this case, the family may have been identified but their neighborhood lost to history.

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Read previous post:
Miniatures Display at the Nordic Center

The Nordic Center, 23 N. Lake Ave., is now open to public visits on Fridays from noon to 4 p.m....