The Scandia Fisheries, Duluth, Minn.

A friend of mine from Seattle was eating at Jimmy Mac’s Roadhouse in Renton, just south of “the Emerald City,” and sent the above photo to me. At first it seemed like a manufactured novelty sign because searches only returned other copies of the same sign. But then I found a Minnesota Historical Society listing for a paper crate label from the same company from around the 1950s, so it appears to have been a real business.

A Zenith City article on commercial fishing on Lake Superior lists a Scandia Fish Company active in the 1890s, which is likely the same company. There isn’t much to be found under that name either though, other than an article in the Duluth Herald from Sept. 1, 1917, that noted the company owned a steamer named Liberty with an ad in that same paper for a trip on the boat.


Sailing 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Round trip, 50c.

Take either the morning or afternoon boat and spend an enjoyable day on the water
with the added attraction of a baked trout dinner or supper aboard the boat.

Grand 463 – Mel. 409.

This would have been the first year that the Scandia Fish Company offered these tours, as it bought the Liberty in June of 1917. It would also be one of the last, as the boat burned and sunk in the harbor of Grand Marais on July 6, 1919.

It’s unclear when the Scandia Fisheries was founded or when it shut down, but its legacy of cleaned, dressed and headless pickerel lives on in a theme restaurant outside of Seattle. And with the anchor of the Liberty, which can still be found outside of the Cook County Historical Society and Museum in Grand Marais.



about 2 years ago

A very progressive font "New winter caught." Popular in the 1970s. Duluth had a humming fishing industry. Keep the heritage alive!


about 2 years ago

Before electronic graphic design made misuse of fonts a daily disaster, this Cooper-like font maybe created in the 1920s resided in California job boxes at letterpress printers across northern Minnesota. My knowledge base of fonts began in the early 1970s. Too bad we don't see more authentic signage and election posters from that era.

Part of my father's family resided for some time in Renton. If the sign had been at a liquor store ...

Barrett Chase

about 2 years ago

Speaking of Starfire shirts, this sign was the basis of a Father Hennepin T-shirt, modeled here by Starfire in 2006. I took these photos at Grandma's Grand Avenue Cafe, where the sign on the right hung.


about 2 years ago

Thanks for digging up the photo. I never would have guessed that pickerel ad had connections to some more recent Duluth cultural history.  That fish and font are certainly not the most obvious Duluth references and it looks like a visual joke that took some work to pull off. I like that this post allowed for a moment to appreciate that effort 15 years later.

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