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Paul Lundgren Posts

Mystery Photo #53: Commonwealth Avenue?

This old photo of someone’s hot rod seems to be from the early 1970s and the scene is very likely Commonwealth Avenue in Gary-New Duluth. But if this is showing Commonwealth Avenue, where specifically?

My Fancy Foreign Car is a Symbol of Why I’m an Idiot

If you read last week’s essay, you already know I bought a used-but-fancy foreign car and suddenly thought I was hot stuff. Now it’s time to acknowledge I’m an idiot. But before I relate my idiocy with relevance to the car, here’s a general description of the global conspiracy against me:

In my daily life I make approximately one really stupid mistake per waking hour. It is my sincere belief that half of those mistakes occur because my brain feeds me rational information for problem solving, which hinders my performance because there are maniacs out there designing products to work in ways that are contrary to human logic. The other half of those mistakes are cases in which someone tells me to do something and explains it in a nonsensical way or assumes I know something I don’t.

So, while I acknowledge I’m an idiot, I refuse to take responsibility for my idiocy. It’s society’s problem, not mine.

For example, when my wife asks me to zip up the back of her dress, and I zip it all the way up, and then she asks, “Did you get it all the way?” I say “Yes” and go about the rest of my day. Then, at the end of the day, when she takes off her dress and points out that I didn’t connect the hinge on the inside, well, I’m an idiot for not knowing there is a hidden hinge on someone else’s clothing.

But I digress.

My Fancy Foreign Car is a Symbol of American Freedom

When the transmission went haywire on my rusty 1993 van on the day after Thanksgiving 2015, it marked the end of a beautiful seven-year relationship. The ol’ GMC Vandura cost me $1,400 to buy, and while it needed some work here and there, it was a major-league transportation bargain. My average annual cost of driving during those years was $2,200.

To clarify: From mid-2008 to the near-end of 2015 I drove wherever I wanted at an annual cost of $2,200. That number includes fuel, insurance, purchase price, repair and maintenance costs and all other fees. Six bucks a day to go anywhere – basically the same price as a daily pint of craft beer at the trendiest joint in town.

For many months after the tranny crapped out on the van, I continued to drive it short distances on flat roads, shifting into neutral when it fell out of gear, then shifting back into drive. If I needed to go somewhere involving hills or highways, I took a bus or arranged to use my wife’s vehicle. I just wasn’t eager to go car shopping. I figured I’d wait for a car to come to me.

And then a car came to me.

Delivering Mail on Minnesota Point in Winter

Never mind the seasonal sentiment, this postcard was sent in the summer. It was in the trusted hands of the United States Postal Service 110 years ago, traveling from Duluth to South Dakota. It was postmarked at Duluth on Sept. 4 and received in Carthage, S.D. on Sept. 6, 1907.

I Hafe a Feller in Duluth

Presenting yet another “Dutch Kid” pennant postcard, similar to “Mit Best Wishes from Duluth,” “Vilkome to our city of Duluth” and “Iff you vill come to Duluth ve vill lock up all de cops.” This one was mailed from Duluth to Minneapolis on Aug. 20, 1913. Translating the written message on the back will win someone the Internet championship of the day.

Photo Archive: The Last Roar by the Shore

Ten years ago today — Aug. 31, 2007 — John’s Red Lion Bar closed after over 35 years in business. The building at 220 E. Superior St. has pretty much always been a bar. It was built in 1910 to house the Albert Salter Saloon. From the early 1950s to late ’60s it was the Two-Twenty Lounge. Before it became the Red Lion, it was briefly the Diamond Lounge.

Duluth-Superior Transit Company’s “Rider’s Digest”

Seventy years ago today.

Log rolling in the Duluth Harbor, Summer 1911

The southeastern edge of the Aerial Lift Bridge can be seen in the upper left corner of this shot. The large building occupying most of the background is the Duluth Boat Club, built in 1903 at 1000 Minnesota Ave. on the edge of the Duluth Harbor. It closed in 1933 and was used to store boats until it was destroyed by fire in 1951.

Hansi Johnson’s “Photo that Won’t Die”

It was shot just a few hundred feet from Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge, but it evokes the spirit of being in a far more remote part of the planet. Hansi Johnson’s “photo that won’t die” is so-named because in recent years it’s been in Outside magazine, the Red Bulletin, the Italian news magazine Panorama, a few calendars and as Johnson notes, it’s “been ripped off and passed around more times than I care to admit.”

Add two more to the list: Men’s Journal recently included the image among its “25 Best Adventure Photos of the Past 25 Years.” The back cover of a new book from Outside magazine, “The Edge of the World,” also features the image.

Tom Isbell on Columbo, 1990

Tom Isbell, professor of theater at the University of Minnesota Duluth, has a lengthy professional acting resume spanning the years 1984-’94, which can be perused at imdb.com. Among his many roles on popular television shows is Sgt. Brady on the Columbo episode “Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo,” which originally aired March 31, 1990.

Classic.

West Duluth’s Alhambra Theater

West Duluth has three former theater buildings — the West, Doric and Alhambra. Of the three, the Alhambra is by far the least known.

Solar Eclipse in Duluth

#pathofobscurity
#eclipsedbyclouds

Postcard from 18th Avenue East and London Road

This postcard was mailed 112 years ago today, Aug. 16, 1905. It depicts a scene looking east from roughly the spot where a Taco John’s sits today at 1810 London Road in Duluth’s Endion neighborhood.

Postcard from the Vista Queen

This undated postcard published by Erickson Post Cards & Souvenirs shows the mighty Vista Queen inside the Duluth Harbor. The text on the back notes “the Vista Fleet can accommodate groups from 20 to 800 on an exiting two-hour tour of Lake Superior and the Duluth-Superior Harbor. Lunch, dinner and moonlight cruses available.”

Bust Buy

Clearly the focus on getting every possible keyword into the headline resulted in a typo by the crack Fox 21 reporter, but let’s consider this a happy accident. Bust Buy would be a great name for a discount brassiere shop.