Postcard from West Superior Street, Alworth Building, et. al.

This postcard from the early 1900s primarily shows the buildings on the 300 block of West Superior Street in Downtown Duluth. The white building with the flag is the Alworth, Duluth’s tallest building from 1910 to 2022. Construction of the new Essentia Tower is relegating the Alworth to second-tallest status.

5 Comments

Chester Knob

about 2 months ago

Why would there be three trolleys on the south track so close to each other? And two on the north track?

IDK, looks photoshopped.

Matthew James

about 2 months ago

I don't think the Alworth needs to be regulated to #2, it just needs some qualifiers to keep it at number one, the same way that Minnesota Point is the world's longest urban, freshwater sandbar. The Alworth is Duluth's tallest downtown building or tallest historic building or tallest building that you might want to purchase a postcard of. Something like that.

Paul Lundgren

about 2 months ago

Obviously the first comment is making a wisecrack about the Photoshopping, but the card does have a credit to McKenzie Photo Co. on it, which means the illustration was based on a Hugh McKenzie photo. It would be interesting to track down that photo if it still exists and compare the number of trolleys.

And yeah, the Alworth is Duluth's tallest 20th-century building. Good point.

Ghist1

about 2 months ago

Well, here are all of the McKenzie photos that include the Alworth Building that were digitized on the MN Digital Library. I don't see a match, but maybe it was his earlier work. 

https://collection.mndigital.org/catalog?utf8=%E2%9C%93&f%5Bcreator_ssim%5D%5B%5D=McKenzie%2C+Hugh%2C+1879-1957&search_field=all_fields&q=alworth

Matthew James

about 2 months ago

I also couldn't find the original picture but another Minnesota Reflections photograph from around the same period shows that wasn't necessarily an unusual number of streetcars for Superior Street. The Twin Ports by Trolley book notes that "every streetcar line except the isolated Highland Park and Park Point lines funneled through Superior Street." It could be a manipulation of the postcard image but it could also be streetcars running different routes converging on Superior Street and then getting a bit stuck behind each other because there is only one track in each direction and they were using the same stops (the transit principle of "bunching"). And a professional photographer would likely wait for a moment like that.

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