Postcard from the Proposed Court House Group in Duluth

This undated postcard depicts plans for the Duluth Civic Center, a cluster of government buildings that includes the St. Louis County Courthouse (1909), Duluth City Hall (1928), Gerald W. Heaney Federal Building (1930), St. Louis County Jail (1923) and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument (1919).

The courthouse at the center of the illustration appears quite similar to what was built and still stands today, though the other buildings are noticeably different.

According to local historian Tony Dierckins, the postcard is made from a sketch of the planned set of buildings by Daniel Burnham, who did the layout and designed the courthouse. The postcard was made before the courthouse was built.

“The buildings in the background are not meant to be part of the civic center proper,” Dierckins said, “but to reflect his idea of the ‘City Beautiful’ movement. His plans did not include the St, Louis County Jail, which was added as an afterthought around 1920, after his death. And because Burnham died prior to 1920, the jail, city hall, and fed building (not named Heaney until the 1970s) were designed by other architects, but in keeping with the courthouse’s neoclassical design as Burnham called for.”

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