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Paul Lundgren Posts

North Country Trail in Wisconsin: Nemadji River Valley

If you’ve ever hiked Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trail to the Wisconsin border you know the trail ends there, but doesn’t really end there. Despite a sign on a tree that reads “Southern Terminus of SHT” and a separate post sticking out of the ground that reads “Not a trail,” there is clearly a trail there leading into Wisconsin. But it doesn’t go far.

The rest of the text on the terminus sign explains: “Spur trail from here to be built by North Country Trail to a parking lot in WI. Trail now dead-ends ahead.”

I explained all that 17 months ago in a Saturday Essay titled: “North Country Trail: Wood Tick Flats,” which was the first report on my quest to hike the North Country Trail across Wisconsin. That summer I covered exactly zero miles on the trail, which is not a great start to a 200-mile journey. If you read that first North Country Trail essay from June 2017 you know I didn’t hike on the trail that day because the grass was long and loaded with ticks. So I waited and saved the hike for a day with more favorable conditions … 17 months later.

What I lack in ambition I make up for with tenacity, right? My motto is: “Never quit. Take a nap and try again later when you feel more up to it.”

Goldie’s Too

Plastic shopping bag from a former Holiday Center store.

Mystery Photo #77: Passenger Boat arriving in Duluth

Date unknown. Photographer unknown. Name of vessel unknown.

Ready? Set? Go!

Charles O. Nelson’s Coffee-Boiler

Duluthian Charles O. Nelson — presumably the same Charles O. Nelson referenced in a PDD story about the West End Furniture Row — filed for and was granted a patent for a “Coffee-boiler” in 1901. The text of the claim is below.

Josh Musikantow – “Duluth 99”

Chicago-born composer Joshua Musikantow references Duluth on three tracks of his 2006 new-classical album Etched in Twilight and Other Works. Above is “Duluth 99: In the Garden with Mary.” Below are “Duluth 99: Rope” and “Duluth 99: Haiku.”

Musikantow notes “Duluth 99” is “a duet for flute and percussion consisting of three movements, each inspired by a different personal experience in Duluth.”

Where in Duluth? #182

Perfect Duluth Day’s ultra-thrilling photo-trivia sensation “Where in Duluth?” continues. At what fun place was this photo taken?

Postcard from UMD’s Social Science Building

This 1960s-era postcard shows off the Social Science Building on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. Today the building is known as Cina Hall and serves as home to numerous liberal arts programs. It was renamed in 1985 in honor of UMD Regent Fred A. Cina, and underwent a $4.1 million renovation in 2016.

Jim Snidero – “Duluth at Noon”

Saxophone virtuoso Jim Snidero for some reason titled an instrumental piece “Duluth at Noon.” Whether the tune sounds like a midday stroll on the Lakewalk is up for interpretation.

Perhaps coincidentally, the song is on Snidero’s 2015 album Main Street, which is the same title as Sinclair Lewis’ famous satiric novel from 1920. Lewis had visited Duluth while in the early stages of crafting Main Street, and moved to Duluth 23 years after it was published.

Duluth, Minn. – Always Cool

This postcard was mailed 110 years ago today — Oct. 22, 1908 — to Ms. A. J. Niles of Viroqua, Wis.

Mystery Photo #76: 400 block of West Superior Street

The above photo, submitted by Jay Sonnenburg, shows businesses on the 400 block of West Superior Street. At right is the WEBC Radio studio. At left are the Fargusson Building, Manhattan Building and Spalding Hotel.

Duluth Ship Canal in Storm and Calm

This postcard is either from a century ago or last week.

Elevators at Duluth

Date unknown, artist unknown.

They Might be Giants – “Rabid Child”

The alternative rock band They Might be Giants dropped a reference to Duluth on its self-titled debut album in 1986. Whether “the Big Duluth” mentioned in the lyrics to “Rabid Child” is supposed to be a clothing store or the nickname of a person or what, well, that’s up to the listener.

The Wilbury Index

There are certain dignities and indignities that come with old age. Most of us would like to be considered wise, but we also want to run fast and be sex symbols. All of that is relative, of course. There are plenty of intelligent teenagers and elderly imbeciles. I ran a half marathon when I was 31 and people twice that age were passing me.

The word “old” is as relative as the attributes associated with it. You can join the American Association of Retired Persons at age 50, collect Social Security at 62 and retire from your job at a wide range of ages or never. I think I was 27 or 28 the first time one of my friends seriously commented that we were “getting old.”

Well, sure, we’re all getting old. But when are we actually old? Do our looks and physical/mental fitness have anything to do with it, or is “old” just a number?

I say it’s just a number, because I can’t, in seriousness, walk up to more wrinkled people my age and ask, “what’s it like to be so old?”

How Enzie Flu In

The day after the Fire of 1918, this hilarious sendup of the Spanish influenza outbreak appeared in the Duluth News Tribune. At the time there were a couple dozen cases in the city, and commissioners had adopted an emergency order closing public buildings to halt the spread. Within a couple weeks the disease would no longer be a joking matter; it killed 7,521 Minnesotans in 1918 alone.