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Mark Nicklawske Posts

Lost incline stairway pushed as historic trail

A group of history hikers follow the old incline railway stairs down Observation Hill.

A hidden stairway, once connected to a long-gone incline rail service between Downtown Duluth and its hilltop neighborhoods, is being celebrated by an organization that would like to see it designated a historic walking trail.

The Duluth Preservation Alliance led an Observation Hill history walk on May 31 over remnants of the 126-year-old incline stairs. More than 50 people attended the event and made the steep, downhill jaunt from Skyline Drive to Superior Street.

Accordion repair school plans return to Duluth

The world’s largest accordion museum and education center has started plans to restore and reopen a building that served as its home more than a decade ago in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

A World of Accordions Museum Director Helmi Harrington said earlier this week the organization will relocate an accordion repair school from current museum headquarters in Superior to its former site at 2801 W. First Street in Duluth. Harrington recently repurchased the historic church building and its adjacent parsonage out of St. Louis County foreclosure and started a tax payment plan for the property.

“Anyone who has visited our museum in Superior knows it’s crowded and our spacious building is no longer spacious,” said Harrington. “The idea for moving just the repair school to Duluth is not inexpensive, but it’s something we need to explore.”

A World of Accordions Museum is located in the Harrington Arts Center and features more than 1,300 instruments, an extensive recording library and art collection and thousands of accordion-related artifacts. Its nine-month accordion repair program accepts about 20 students annually from all over the world.

Developer plans tech village, jazz club in historic jewelry store

Bagley and Company, 315 W. Superior St., was operated by the same Duluth family for 131 years before closing last summer.

Bagley and Company, 315 W. Superior St., was operated by the same Duluth family for 131 years before closing last summer.

A long-time downtown jewelry store has been purchased by a Texas-based developer with Hermantown roots who plans to turn the building into office space for Internet professionals and create a food and music venue where diamond display cases once stood.

The Bagley & Company Jewelers building, 315 W. Superior Street, was purchased earlier this month by Titan Premier Investments of Houston, Texas. The property includes three historic retail buildings, approximately 19,000-square-feet of space, several skyway storefronts and a turn-of-the-century tea room hidden in the middle of it all.

New Canal Park beer hall among largest in Minnesota

Hoops Brewing founder Dave Hoops and Head Brewer Melissa Rainville pose in front of recently installed beer kettles. Hoops Brewing plans to open in late May or June.

Hoops Brewing founder Dave Hoops and Head Brewer Melissa Rainville pose in front of recently installed equipment. Hoops Brewing plans to open in late May or June.

Seven stainless steel tanks and a catwalk preassembled with pipes and pumps were lifted off flatbed trucks and squeezed through the stone doorway of a former Canal Park restaurant on March 21.

The equipment, including four huge fermentors and two beer tanks, was hauled inside on heavy duty carts and laid on a new custom-built floor like tipped-over beer bottles. The massive move, which stopped traffic outside 325 S. Lake Ave., was a major step in plans by longtime Duluth brewmaster Dave Hoops to open Hoops Brewing, a beer hall that will match the largest in Minnesota.

Duluth art scene finds place in Lincoln Park craft district

Duluth Pottery co-owners Tom Hollenhorst and Karin Kraemer pose in the loft of their new art studio with partner artist Luke Krisak. Duluth Pottery is remodeling the former P&J Paint building in the West End.

Duluth Pottery co-owners Tom Hollenhorst and Karin Kraemer pose in the loft of their new art studio with partner artist Luke Krisak. Duluth Pottery is remodeling the former P&J Paint building in the West End.

The art world is quickly carving out space for itself in an ambitious neighborhood revitalization project in Duluth’s West End neighborhood.

An established Twin Ports potter, a new gallery and retail store with studio space and an arts arm of an American Indian social service organization have all recently announced plans to renovate and open buildings on West Superior Street. All three projects fall within the boundaries of the Lincoln Park Craft District, a rebranding and redevelopment effort organized by neighborhood businesses last year.

Masonic building gets new life from sailboat accessory company

ShipShape Canvas owners and employees, pictured from left: Thomas Welinski, Tami Sanders, Jonathan Fure, Alice Carlson, Andy Radtke, owners Barb and Jim Welinski.

ShipShape Canvas owners and employees, pictured from left: Thomas Welinski, Tami Sanders, Jonathan Fure, Alice Carlson, Andy Radtke, owners Barb and Jim Welinski.

A growing sailboat accessory manufacturer will move its operations into a historic and long-abandoned West Duluth property this spring.

ShipShape Canvas has purchased the former Euclid Lodge 198 at 611 N. Central Ave. Founded in 2006, the company is currently located at 732 E. Fourth St., where it makes custom canvas covers for sailboats in winter storage.

Superior record store announces closing, huge inventory for sale

Vinyl Cave owners Tom Johnson, left, and Tom Unterberger will close the Superior record store Dec. 31. They hope to sell the store inventory to a single buyer.

Vinyl Cave owners Tom Johnson, left, and Tom Unterberger will close the Superior record store Dec. 31. They hope to sell the store inventory to a single buyer.

The largest used record store in the region will go out of business this month after owners struggled to meet the demands of younger music lovers buying and selling collectible vinyl on the Internet.

The Vinyl Cave, 1717 Belknap Street in Superior, will close its doors Dec. 31. Owners Tom Unterberger and Tom Johnson hope to find a single buyer for an inventory that includes more than 10,000 albums, 300,000 singles, rock memorabilia and vintage stereo equipment.

Forget the Nobel Prize ceremony, this place is more important

Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan’s parents, Beatrice and Abram Zimmerman, are buried at Tifereth Israel Cemetery in Duluth.

Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan’s parents, Beatrice and Abram Zimmerman, are buried at Tifereth Israel Cemetery in Duluth.

I didn’t get an invitation to the Nobel Prize award ceremony for Bob Dylan in Sweden yesterday. Instead, I visited a memorial to the most important people in his life: His parents.

Abram and Beatrice Zimmerman are both buried in Duluth; the same city they brought Bob Dylan into this world more than 75 years ago. The same city where I live.

So on a bright blue, wonderfully cold day, I stepped into my pick-up truck, dropped a Duane Eddy CD into the player and drove 15 minutes to Tifereth Israel Cemetery. Somehow it seemed more important than anything happening in Stockholm.

Read all about it here.

Planners take another look at West Duluth’s Memorial Park

memorial-park-west-duluth

The overhaul of a neglected West Duluth park honoring local war veterans has been delayed and downsized as city officials develop new plans without a multi-million dollar community center anchoring the project.

Duluth city officials said a two-year-old plan calling for more than $7 million in Memorial Park improvements failed to receive federal funding and a needed community center business partnership. The setback means planning will be reopened to public discussion early in 2017.

Reader publisher buys former West Theater

west-theater-duluth-2016

A repurposed West Duluth movie theater has been sold to the publisher of an alternative weekly newspaper. The historic West Theater building at 317-319 N. Central Avenue was purchased earlier this month by Duluth Reader founder and publisher Robert Boone, operating as Paladin Properties LLC. The building was previously owned by David Orman, whose now-defunct promotional products business Raven & Associates headquartered there from 2012 to 2014.

Hacienda del Sol building eyed by Lake Avenue Restaurant group

The Hacienda del Sol restaurant on East Superior Street closed in 2011. Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar owners are in the process of buying the property.

The Hacienda del Sol restaurant on East Superior Street closed in 2011. Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar owners are in the process of buying the property.

Owners of a popular Canal Park restaurant have been working for more than a year to secure the former Hacienda del Sol building in the newly rebranded Downtown Duluth Historic Arts and Theatre Distict.

Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar owner Mark Swenson said last week his partnership group is working to purchase the long vacant Mexican restaurant at 319 E. Superior St. The group would like to remodel and reopen the building with a kitchen serving Central American inspired cuisine.

Book store will replace Wild West Liquor; other slow-moving changes in the works on Central Avenue in West Duluth

The former Wild West Liquor building on Central Avenue is being remodeled and new owners plan to open a used book store in the space next summer.

The former Wild West Liquor building, at left, is being remodeled and new owners plan to open a used book store there next summer.

A Carleton College professor and his wife have purchased a former West Duluth liquor store and plan to open a used book shop in a business district targeted by city officials for redevelopment.

Bob and Angel Dobrow of Northfield bought the Wild West Liquor building, 318 N. Central Ave., in July for $214,000 and plan to open Zenith Bookstore in the space next summer. The couple, along with friends and family, have gutted the 1890s building and exposed its original floors, tin ceilings and brick walls. They will eventually fill the store with thousands of books from their collection, recent purchases and new finds.

New owners reopen Cedar Lounge in Superior

Tim and Naomi Nelson pose inside the Cedar Lounge just off Tower Avenue in Superior.

Tim and Naomi Nelson pose inside the Cedar Lounge just off Tower Avenue in Superior.

Trailblazing craft brewery owner and longtime Duluth bar developer Tim Nelson is ready to launch his newest drinking establishment in a historic, working waterfront neighborhood on the Superior side of the Twin Ports.

The Cedar Lounge, 1715 N. Third Street, just off Tower Avenue, opens in the shadows of the Harvest State Co-op grain elevators Friday, Aug. 26. Nelson and his wife, Naomi, purchased the historic bar building in December and the property has undergone a seven-month restoration.

Liquor is legal in Lakeside. Who will serve it?

Lakeside Liquor

It’s as clear as 100-proof vodka that the first bar in the long-temperate Lakeside neighborhood of Duluth will be located on East Superior Street. The commercial corridor bends almost three miles from Northland Country Club to the Lester River. The road cuts through the heart of a bedroom community that includes close to 10,000 residents. It’s a neighborhood that has never seen a neon Leinenkugel sign or heard a last call.

Historic heart of Superior’s East End faces changes

Walter Haugen stands outside the former East End Drug store his father operated for almost 70 years in Superior. The set of buildings on East Fifth Street are planned for demolition this spring.

Walter Haugen stands in front of buildings on the 2100 block of East Fifth Street, all planned for demolition this spring.

Walter Haugen stood inside an old corner pharmacy his father operated for close to 70 years on Superior’s East End. A junk pile was pushed near the plate glass front windows. Empty shelving units displayed old merchandise tags. A pungent mercurochrome smell filled the dusty store.

He pointed through a hole in some foam panels overhead. The hole exposed a tin ceiling most likely installed when the building was constructed in 1878. Dozens of silver, square tin tiles decorated the ceiling.

Haugen said someone could be hired to take down the tin, which could be sold for a hefty price to antique dealers or architectural salvage specialists. But it won’t be done.

“It would be like gutting a relative,” he said. “It would be like if you had a pet deer that you raised and someone asked you to chop it up and sell them the meat. You just wouldn’t do it.”

The East End Drug Store, on the corner of Fifth Street and 22nd Avenue, anchors a collection of storefront buildings in the oldest business district in Superior. The 19th Century buildings are expected to meet the wrecking ball in the coming weeks, opening a prime corner to commercial redevelopment.