On the Halloween episode of The Dana Gould Hour, guest Joel Hodgson briefly mentions his family lived in Duluth for a year. The conversation had steered to small-town television shows and personalities, and Hodgson recalled “picturesque slides of lighthouses” and how it gave a “mood of where you were.”
This photo is dated Dec. 5, 1996. It’s a shot of the exterior mural on the parking lot side of the former Wild West Liquor, 318 N. Central Ave. in West Duluth.
At the time it was probably a fairly new mural; the liquor store changed its name from West Duluth Liquor to Wild West Liquor at some point in the mid 1990s. I don’t remember when the mural was painted over, but I’d guess the side of the building has been plain white for at least ten years. The liquor store closed in 2015.
The building is presently being remodeled to open as Zenith Bookstore in summer 2017.
For those who missed the exhibition of D. R. Martin photos on display at the Red Herring Lounge this past summer, or those who want to revisit it, the images are now available online at curator Kip Praslowicz’s website. It’s a collection of street photography shot in the Duluth area between 1968 and 1971. As evidenced by the sample above, these are hot!
The American Wrestling Association brought some of its finest grapplers to Duluth 30 years ago, as the newspaper ad above attests. It was six months before the World Wrestling Federation juggernaut brought a series of shows to the Duluth Arena. The AWA, of course, was a smaller promotion and held its card in the Duluth Auditorium, with the ring placed on the stage the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra typically occupies.
As noted in the Perfect Duluth Day story “Planners take another look at West Duluth’s Memorial Park,” a majority of the bronze plates memorializing West Duluth servicemen who died in World War I are either missing or damaged. Above are images of some of the more deteriorated and/or vandalized markers. Of the original 22, just seven remain in place and in good condition.
The markers were planted under trees in 1928 and read: “This tree planted in memory of (name) killed (date) for God and country.”
This clip is from the Sept. 10, 1976, Duluth News-Tribune; photo by Joey McLeister.
Duluth Square Dance Association members let it all out as they prepare for participation in Shindig 1976–Duluth, the third annual square and round dance festival fast becoming a traditional event in the city. Dancing times are from 7:30 to 11:45 p.m. today in the Duluth Arena, and the action continues from 9 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Spectators are welcome and there is no charge.
About 11 miles outside Duluth at the junction of Midway Road and Old Highway 61 is the Eldes Corner Spring, a rundown white building with two free-flowing spigots on the exterior.
Also known as the “Midway Artesian Well” or “Eldes Well House,” it is a public well, owned and maintained by the township, channeled by pipes from four aquifers. That’s about the extent of info a quick internet search brings up. Who knows more? When was it built? Share your knowledge.
The Netflix revival of the TV comedy/drama Gilmore Girls features a brief and strange nod to the Zenith City. The last of the four new episodes includes a pre-wedding scene with Sookie St. James (played by Melissa McCarthy) showing a cake to Lorelai Gilmore (played by Lauren Graham) that has a miniature Aerial Lift Bridge on it labeled “Duluth.”
In the fall of 2008 I resumed my north-to-south march on the Superior Hiking Trail at Finland Recreation Center. I was dropped off in the early evening, with just a 2.5-mile hike to Leskinen Creek Campsite. When I arrived I discovered I would have to share the space with a group of young men who were already set up there. Sometimes a person goes off into the wilderness with intentions of being alone, then sleeps 50 feet from snickering 20-year-olds.
This was one of only two times I shared a backwoods campsite during my SHT trips, and the only time I shared one with a group of people. My mostly solitary experiences were probably not typical, however, because I tended to hike late in the season — usually the tail end of September but sometimes well into October. On this trip I arrived at camp on Aug. 16, which was by far the earliest I had started an SHT trip. It was still summer. Still T-shirt and shorts season. The last grasp of summer for those attending school in September.
I introduced myself to the neighbors and spent a little time with them at their fire. I don’t recall much about them eight years later. I want to say they were from Hermantown. One was named Andy and another was Dan. I think there were three of them in total. They were nice guys. That’s about all I remember.
The Science Museum of Minnesota moved out of the St. Paul Auditorium and into the Merriam Mansion on Capitol Hill in 1927. It remained there until 1964, when it moved into the St. Paul-Ramsey Arts and Sciences Center. The final move came in 1999, when a new facility opened adjacent to the Mississippi River.
In recent years I’ve noticed a number of Duluth liquor stores have gone out of business while a number of tattoo parlors have opened. I like to joke that the latter business model depends on the former, but lately I’ve had the perception that at some point in recent history the number of tattoo parlors grew to exceed the number of liquor stores.
An ongoing count, however, suggests otherwise. The lists in this post show 16 liquor stores within Duluth city limits, but only five tattoo parlors. Of course, I tend to keep better tabs on where beer can be procured than on places to have my flesh artistically carved. So help me out. What liquor stores or tattoo parlors are missing from these lists?
From the depths of my wife’s closet comes this old photo from her family collection, presumably shot at a Duluth-area bowling alley roughly 50 or 60 years ago. Since we’re talking about a West Duluth family, Stadium Lanes would be the number one contender. Whatever bowling alley it is, it’s likely to have been remodeled and then closed since this photo was taken, so this might be a tough solve.
By the end of 2006 I had completed the northernmost 140 miles or so of the Superior Hiking Trail over three separate backpacking trips. My methodical march from one end of the trail to the other was broken up that summer, however, when newly cut segments of the SHT in Duluth demanded my immediate attention.
I can’t fully express how awesome it is to have the SHT through Duluth, how quickly I’ve taken it for granted, and how I never even dreamed of it before it happened.
Somehow I actually thought of Duluth as an outstanding hiking city before the SHT. In retrospect, it really wasn’t that special. There were several excellent options — Park Point Nature Trail, Chester Creek, Hartley, Lester River, Congdon Park, Lincoln Park, Western Waterfront — and then there were a few gravel railroad beds, old roads and paved trails for walkers/bikers. Mostly, however, there were many muddy unofficial paths, swampy ATV routes and overgrown ski and snowbobile trails crawling with ticks. So, not really outstanding back then; more like pretty good.
If you wanted to hike the western hillside and view the overlooks from a footpath instead of Skyline Drive, you had to bushwhack before 2006. I grew up doing that, not realizing a group of organized and ambitious human beings could carve a deluxe trail through the entire city in just two summers. God bless them. Now, we have an outstanding hiking city.
While riding a Duluth Transit Authority bus last night and listening to my head phones, I came up with a very simple way of amusing myself. Whenever the bus stopped to pick up a new passenger, I clicked my mp3 player forward to the next random track and imagined it was the chosen entrance music or “theme song” for that person. Try it out sometime. It’s my gift to you.