October 2021 Posts

PDD Quiz: October 2021 in Review

Happy Halloween, folks! Treat yourself to this current events quiz and see how many of this month’s headlines you remember.

The next PDD quiz will explore Superior Laws (a complement to the September quiz on Duluth laws); it will be published on Nov. 14. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Nov. 11.

Albert Heyroth gets electricity out of air in 1921

West Duluth was the scene of windmill experiments a century ago, according to a story in the Oct. 31, 1921 Duluth Herald. Albert Herman Heyroth was hard at work at 55th Avenue West and Raleigh Street attempting to generate electricity for home energy use.

N is for Nostalgia: Peak Bradbury

When my father died, I had a surrogate dad waiting in the wings: the work of Ray Bradbury. I was obsessed. I felt I would devote my life to him, a feeling common to loves which last no more than a couple years, as this one did. But they were timeless years. Between my 13th and 15th birthday, with my adult future on the horizon, I was still young enough for summers to last forever.

Now in my 50s, I retain the suite of Bradbury paperbacks I collected back then. I have no use for them, although no library contains merely useful books. I quit re-reading them decades ago. But there are many reasons for books to be collected. I moved on to obsessions with writers less old-fashioned and less overly lyrical, although not before his lyricism infected my own style. Yet even for me, Bradbury is too breathless and too wordy (although not chatty like Harlan Ellison). He wrote terrible poetry. He became a cranky old man. Film and TV adaptations of his work are, by and large, bad. I now consider him (along with his contemporaries Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein) to be a branch of Young Adult (i.e., children’s) literature. But I still give his books a treasured pride of place on my shelves, which overflow with his successors. Strangely, most of my adult favorites also begin with the letter “B”: Burroughs, Ballard, Borges, Bowles … but Bradbury got to me first.

Fatal plane crash near Moorhead, 1941

A random Duluth Herald front page from 80 years ago today, Oct. 30, 1941.

Kingsbury Bay and Grassy Point restoration completed

The Bong Bridge spans the background in this view of Grassy Point wetlands.

A three-year habitat-restoration project on the St. Louis River in West Duluth was completed this month. Sediment contaminants at Kingsbury Bay and Grassy Point have been remediated and heavy equipment has been removed.

The Slice: Touring Spooky Halloween Homes

Pumpkins, witches, lights and ghouls adorn lawns and houses in the Duluth area decorated in the spirit of Halloween.

In its series The Slice, WDSE-TV presents short “slices of life” that capture the events and experiences that bring people together and speak to what it means to live up north.

I-35 tunnel at Leif Erikson Park completed 29 years ago today

The History Channel website mentions Duluth today in its “This Day in History” feature, pointing out that Duluth Mayor Gary Doty cut the ribbon opening the 1,480-foot–long Leif Erickson Tunnel on Interstate 35 on Oct. 28, 1992.

Postcard from the Ladies’ Parlor at Duluth’s Hotel St. Louis

And now, a little something for the ladies. The St. Louis Hotel was Duluth’s premier lodging establishment in the 1880s. It stood where the Medical Arts Building is today.

Who is Rainbow Trout?

Deep-cut classic country DJ Rainbow Trout is the subject of this new documentary, directed by Daniel Oyinloye of DanSan Creatives. Trout has been a volunteer on Grand Marais’ 90.7 FM WTIP North Shore Community Radio since 2001.

Former ‘RecyclaBell’ recycled into apartments

Developer Mike Poupore stands outside the historic Northwestern Bell Telephone building at 1804 E. First St. The building housed the RecyclaBell all-ages music venue from 1993-1997. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

A look inside a newly-restored building that helped foster the 1990s Duluth indie rock scene is featured in a series of historic property video tours launched on the internet this week.

The Duluth Preservation Alliance explores changes in five iconic properties that once served city businesses and local government during a 2021 Virtual Historic Properties Tour available now on its website. The project provides a first look inside the newly remodeled Northwestern Bell telephone exchange building at 1804 E. First St. — which later housed an unlikely but locally significant music venue called the RecyclaBell from 1993 to 1997.

The Cartoon History of Hunter S. Thompson

My complete 13-part comic strip originally published in Duluth’s Transistor circa 2008. Much information from E. Jean Carroll’s book, Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson. In addition to ripping off Frank Miller, I copied several panels from X-Men comics, and some Hunter photos.

Exploring Nopeming Sanatorium

A few week’s back Duluth Urbex slithered through Nopeming, the former sanatorium located west of Duluth in Midway Township. The resulting video is a perfect primer for the Halloween creeps.

Postcard from Dredging in the Duluth Harbor

Keeping Duluth’s shipping channels open requires occasional dredging. This undated postcard offers a look at the process in the early 20th century.

Wouldn’t we all rather have sex in Duluth?

About once a year, satirical news website the Onion references Duluth in a story. The 2021 example appears in a list of “What Your Partner Is Actually Thinking During Sex,” published this week.


Split Rock Lighthouse stands along the western shore of Lake Superior, atop a soaring cliff. Dressed in cream-colored brick and elegant trim more fitting for a grand house in a genteel neighborhood, it once worked as a watchman holding a luminous light, warning ships about rocky shores at its feet.

It’s a crisp late-October morning. The last day of the season before the lighthouse shutters for the year. From an expansive autumn-blue sky, sunshine washes the landscape in gold. The temperature wanders just north of forty-five degrees. The air breathes softly.

My granddaughter, six, and grandson, four, are with me. It’s their first visit to the lighthouse. Because it’s a weekday and almost the last day the lighthouse will entertain visitors for the year, we are nearly alone on the grounds.

We climb the twisting steps of the lighthouse, just the three of us. We are quiet, and with nothing to arrest my attention, other than the shuffle of feet on the stairs, I travel decades back in time.