Mark Nicklawske Posts

West Duluth theater project moves forward, seeks city loan

The Alhambra Theater sits just to the east of the West Theatre on Central Avenue in West Duluth (Photos by Mark Nicklawske)

A long-lost vaudeville theater renovation gained ground this week when city officials authorized grant money to fund a business loan for the West Duluth entertainment district project.

The Duluth Economic Development Authority approved a $150,000 grant Jan. 25 to the city of Duluth 1200 Fund for restoration work at the Alhambra Theater, 321 N. Central Ave. The move allows the 1200 Fund to loan building owner Paladin Properties LLC a total of $200,000 for project completion.

Miller Hill Mall Perkins leads list of 2022 restaurant closings

The Miller Hill Mall Perkins closed in March after 37 years of service. The national chain still operates at two other Duluth sites. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

Restaurants come and go all the time but some seem like they will be around forever. The Miller Hill Mall Perkins is a perfect example. The naugahyde booths, chrome-plated tables, gigantic breakfast menu and sweet pies made each visit feel like the one before — like eating in a time machine that would never end.

But then it did end.

Globe News, landmark store in Superior, changing ownership

Globe News owner Tom Unterberger, left, has sold his store to a new ownership group led by longtime customer Jon Fritsche of Poplar. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

A landmark Superior collectible store — along with its iconic sign — has been sold to new owners who plan to maintain all its nostalgic charm.

Globe News owner Tom Unterberger announced last week that he has sold the historic building at Tower Avenue and Belknap Street along with all its contents to a partnership group headed by a longtime customer. Unterberger and his wife, Jill, purchased the building with the help of his parents in 1982 and slowly converted its corner newsstand into a retail store filled with books, music, trading cards and a wide variety of vintage gifts.

Loiselle Liquor ends 88 year run; new owners plan name change

Loiselle Liquor Store, 413 E. Fourth St., was owned and operated by the Loiselle family for 88 years. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske).

The oldest liquor store in Duluth has changed hands and will take on a new name for the first time in nearly nine decades.

Loiselle Liquor Store, 413 E. Fourth St., was sold by the Loiselle family this spring to Matthew Krueger and Katherine Eagle of Cloquet. St. Louis County property tax records showed the sale price at $360,000 for the two-story building — which was constructed in 1893 as the Goering Block.

Duluth Grill makes big Lincoln Park land moves

Duluth Grill Family of Restaurants co-owner Tom Hanson stands atop OMC Smokehouse. The former Kemps Dairy property and new parking lot are in the background. (Photos by Mark Nicklawske)

A popular Duluth restaurant group has acquired the largest piece of open land in the Lincoln Park business district and plans to build apartments, a parking garage and new street-level business space on the property — similar to plans announced by its previous owner.

The purchase is part of several big land moves revolving around the Duluth Grill Family of Restaurants.

Mid-century modern work highlighted in Duluth home tour

The Hart House at 1545 Skyline Drive soon after construction was completed in 1952. The Chester Bowl ski jump can be seen in the background to the left of the house. (Photo courtesy of Aethan Hart)

The legendary Frank Lloyd Wright may not have been the architect but his influence is all over a striking little house tucked into a wooded lot just around the bend from Chester Park.

Known as the Hart house, the property at 1545 Skyline Parkway will be one of six featured homes in the 2022 Duluth Preservation Alliance Historic Properties Tour beginning at 11 am Sunday, Sept. 18. The annual event allows ticket holders to roam around inside some of the most beautiful homes in the city, this year featuring a collection of unusual mid-century modern works.

Lincoln Park trades print shop for restaurant, tea and spices

JS Print Group moved into the Lincoln Park neighborhood about five years ago. The business then outgrew the location at 1927 W. Superior St. and moved this summer to a larger facility in the Central Hillside.
(Photos by Mark Nicklawske)

A fast-growing print shop has moved out of Lincoln Park for a bigger building and plans are in the works for two new businesses — including an Indonesian restaurant — to take over the prime Superior Street location.

Canal Park restaurant expands into Island Lake landmark

An investment group has purchased the former Boondocks saloon & grill and drive in on the south side of Island Lake. Investment group spokesperson Andrew Knutson, right, said the group plans to revitalize the roadside business district. Lake Ave Restaurant and Bar owner Derek Snyder, center, will take over food operations and Luke Anderson, left, has been named head chef at the new location. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

A popular Canal Park eatery started serving smash burgers and ice cream at a historic drive-in this summer while work is underway to expand operations at the site and create a new destination restaurant just south of Island Lake.

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.

Duluth’s Ten Most Endangered Properties in 2021

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.

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