Mark Nicklawske Posts

Hotel Pikku, an early Lincoln Park revival project, is up for sale

The building at 1923 W. Superior St. was constructed in 1899 and houses the Hotel Pikku and Hemlock Leather works. (Photo: gregfollmer.com)

A small, stylish boutique hotel that opened in a renovated historic building and helped transform Lincoln Park into a hip, trendy neighborhood is now for sale.

The three-suite, second-floor Hotel Pikku, 1923 W. Superior St., opened after owners Chelsy Whittington and Andy Matson purchased the building in 2016 and spent more than a year remodeling it. Hemlock Leatherworks, a custom shoemaker, is located on the ground floor.

New Lincoln Park housing takes over old furniture row

The Anderson Furniture Building, 2032 W. Superior St., was recently purchased by a Duluth developer. The building was constructed in 1910 for use by the Otis Elevator Company. (Photos by Mark Nicklawske).

A historic “Furniture Row” anchor store in Duluth’s Lincoln Park Craft District has new owners who plan to renovate the building and add more housing and retail space to the booming neighborhood. The former Anderson Furniture building at 2032 W. Superior St. was purchased earlier this year by Ohana Holdings LLC of Duluth. St. Louis County property tax records show the company purchased the three-story, 37,000-square-foot property for $500,000.

Filling Up at the ‘Coldest Gas Station in America’

Back in January of 1997, my friend Keith and I took a drive across Wiscosota and Minnesconsin with my cousin Matt, a California beach boy searching for a real northland winter. Our road trip launched on the eve of the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XXXIII appearance. A handmade Packer flag crafted from a pillow case was taped to the bumper of Keith’s sedan as we drove 300 miles across frozen farm fields and snow-covered forest to Title Town. The idea was to celebrate an inevitable Packer victory in the shadows of Lambeau Field.

I’ll save our tales of mischief and revelry for another time. This essay is about gas stations – very cold gas stations.

Gas is needed to get from St. Paul to Green Bay in a V-8 Chevrolet. Somewhere in the middle of Wiscosota we stopped at a convenience store and pulled up to a service island. A snowmobile was parked at an adjacent pump and its driver was filling a tank under the seat. Matt’s jaw dropped like he had just spotted Bigfoot munching on a cheeseburger.

“Whaaaaatttt????” he said, as he grabbed a cheap point-and-shoot camera and jumped out of the car.

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.

Preservation group lists ‘most endangered places’ in Duluth

The Duluth Missabe and Iron Range Railway Dock #5 has not been used since 1985. The Duluth Preservation Alliance has listed it as an endangered property. (Photos by Mark Nicklawske)

A slowly disappearing neighborhood rich in Native American history, a large building once home to a radical labor college and an iconic, unused iron ore dock are included in a list of places historians fear may disappear from the Duluth landscape.

The Duluth Preservation Alliance released a Top 10 Most Endangered Places list during an event outside the soon-to-be demolished Esmond Building in Lincoln Park Saturday, Sept. 25. The list, regularly compiled by the group, is designed to raise preservation awareness and encourage the reuse of historic properties.

Duluth’s ‘Mushroom House’ looks for new owner

The “Mushroom House” near the University of Minnesota Duluth is for sale. (All photos via realtor.com)

When it comes to houses, Duluth is noted for the grand, turn-of-the-century mansions clinging to the Lake Superior shoreline or more modern places with stunning hilltop views but there are unique gems sprinkled throughout the city and one of them is on the market.

“The Mushroom House,” located at 1401 Mississippi Ave., just northwest of the University of Minnesota Duluth campus, was listed for sale Aug. 9. The five-bedroom, three-bath home was built in 1971 in a striking triple-dome shape that seems to grow out of its wooded, half-acre lot. The listed price is $279,900.

Spirit Mountain, Mission Creek trail link ready

A biker crosses the new Sargent Creek bridge on the DWP Trail Connector west of Ely Peak. (Photos by Mark Nicklawske)

A critical bridge is open, a tunnel has been repaired and work is nearly complete on a six-mile scenic trail that uses a former rail line to connect two large recreation sites on the west side of Duluth.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Division is in the final stages of improvements to the Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Trail Connector which provides a direct link between the Mission Creek trail system in the Frederick Rodney Paine Forest Preserve and Spirit Mountain. A ribbon cutting on the $600,000 trail project is expected later this summer.

Limited tickets available to Alan Sparhawk at Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart Music Center has just released a small amount of free tickets for a studio audience at its Live from the Heart songwriters/storytellers livestream featuring Alan Sparhawk.

Mysterious timber crib disappears from Canal Park beach

A large timber crib, shown here in 2010, was beached for almost 15 years. City officials said the structure was removed and demolished as part of the recently completed Lakewalk improvement project. (Photo by Kip Praslowicz)

A mysterious wooden structure that had been shipwrecked for years on a Canal Park beach has disappeared following a year-long project designed to improve a popular Duluth walking trail battered by Lake Superior storms.

Elvis slept here: Radisson opens Legends Suite

Radisson Hotel Duluth Harborview Sales and Marketing Director Nancy Kilpo poses with Duluth musician Todd Eckart, impersonating Elvis Presley, in the hotel’s newly redecorated Legends Suite. Presley stayed in the 15th floor suite following Duluth performances in 1976 and 1977. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

Elvis Presley fans who want to live like the king of rock and roll now have a special place to stay in Duluth.

The Radisson Hotel Duluth Harborview, 505 Superior St., has redecorated and renamed its 15th floor suite where Presley stayed following Twin Ports performances in 1976 and 1977. The Legends Suite features concert photos, posters, a ticket stub and other memorabilia recognizing the Presley visit as well as tributes to singer-songwriter Bob Dylan — who was born in Duluth — and country music outlaw Willie Nelson.

Blacklist Brewing finds new space downtown

Blacklist Brewing Company will move its taproom and brewing operations from 120 E. Superior St. to the Lange Motors building one block east this summer. (Photos by Mark Nicklawske).

A Downtown Duluth brewery and taproom is moving into a larger, newly renovated space just an axe-toss away from its existing location on East Superior Street.

Blacklist Brewing Company will move its brewing operations, taproom and axe-throwing lanes one block east into the historic Lange Motors building at 206 E. Superior St. The move will almost double its serving and entertainment space and increase its brewing capacity.

Demolition, apartments is new plan for Esmond building

The Esmond Building – formerly the Seaway Hotel – at 2001 W. Superior St. in Lincoln Park. The now vacant, city-owned building would be demolished and replaced with a mixed use housing project under a new redevelopment proposal. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

A historic but blighted building in the heart of the Lincoln Park craft district could be headed for demolition after plans to renovate the city-owned property fell through and officials started working with a new developer.

R.I.P. Robert’s Home Furnishings building

The former Robert’s Home Furnishings building at 2102 W. Superior St. in Lincoln Park was torn down last week. Robert Rothenberger launched furniture retail business in 1987 and closed its doors in October 2018 upon retirement. Roberts was part of  the “big three” furniture stores that anchored the West End for decades. The building was constructed 1890 as a lumber warehouse. Rachel Development, based in St. Michael, Minn., plans to build a four-story, 74-unit housing project on the site. Rothenberger died in November. Photo by Mark Nicklawske.

Shuttered Park Point church orchestrates big land sale

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church sits on just under one acre of land adjacent to Lake Superior on Minnesota Point. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

A historic church building perched on Lake Superior beachfront property is up for sale and the top bidder will win the largest developable site available in the Park Point neighborhood.

Our Lady of Mercy/St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church officials will open bids for Our Lady of Mercy church, 2002 Minnesota Ave., on Feb. 1. The small neighborhood church was closed in July 2016 and its nearly one-acre lakeside parcel was listed for sale three months ago. The asking price is $650,000.

Mystery Photo #126: Twin ‘Tin Man’ Water Towers

The harbor looks busy in this vintage photo for sale at the Superior Salvation Army

I found this framed photo with an unusual view of the Duluth Harbor and Aerial Lift Bridge at the Superior Salvation Army last weekend. It’s signed by Tim Slattery.

Lots of questions about this picture: Was the photo taken from a structure or from an airplane? Can anyone identify the three (!) ships in the port? What jumped out to me were the twin “tin man” water towers on the hill above the bridge. Where were they located and when were they taken down?

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