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History Posts

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.

City promotion: 1939

A Duluth to be Proud Of

“I remember the young people on the trip who said, ‘How come we’re not learning this in school? How come we didn’t know that this had happened?’ …it’s an American story.” –Carl Crawford – Human Rights Officer, Duluth to Montgomery Reflections.

We Duluthians are a proud people. We’re proud of our cityscape and the landscape around us. We’re proud of our ability to withstand the cold, even as we complain about it. We’re proud of our ability to move forward, as Mayor Emily Larson expressed in her open letter to the Rolling Stones this past summer. We Duluthians pride ourselves in the fact that we don’t hide from issues but rather actively engage with them. It was this Duluth pride that prompted a new, local podcast from the NAACP.

Duluth streetcar conductresses helped with 1918 fire evacuation

One-hundred years ago today, Duluth was still reeling from the devastating fires of the previous week. The Duluth Herald ran a small article celebrating the efforts during the fire of a relatively new worker in Duluth: a female conductor on the Street Railway.

Duluth Ship Canal in Storm and Calm

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

Duluth Trivia

Below are more items from an old trivia deck I bought at Savers.

1. How far out onto Lake Superior can the light atop Enger Tower be seen?

2. Who was the first postmaster for the Duluth region?

3. How man grain elevators were on Duluth’s waterfront at the turn of the twentieth century?

4. When was the Duluth Peony and Iris Society founded?

5. In what building did JFK speak in Duluth?

6. Who began conducting the DSSO in ‘seventy-seven?

Elevators at Duluth

Date unknown, artist unknown.

PDD Quiz: Creepy Northland

In honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday, this edition of the PDD Quiz tests knowledge of the Northland’s creepy places, events and history.

The next quiz, on headlines from October 2018, will be published on Oct. 28. Please email question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Oct. 24.

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.

Northland Country Club, prior to 1918 fire

One hundred years ago, Northland Country Club was destroyed by the Cloquet Fire of 1918 — Minnesota’s deadliest natural disaster.

I wish you would send that pillow

Mystery Photo #75: Young Woman on a Liden Cabinet Card

This cabinet card photo is from the L.N. Liden studio at 1619 W. Superior St. in Duluth. Identifying people in this type of photo is obviously a difficult task that depends more on luck than research skills, but nonetheless we give it the ol’ Perfect Duluth Day try.

Duluth’s Financial Crisis of 2008

Ten years ago today — Oct. 6, 2008 — Duluth was featured in a New York Times article about cities facing economic hardship.

To help close a gap of more than $6 million that yawned open over the summer, the artsy shipping city on Lake Superior had considered selling its prized Tiffany stained-glass window depicting Longfellow’s American Indian character Minnehaha, a one-of-a-kind work donated by a civic group more than 100 years ago. And some even pushed forward with plans to sell valuable beachfront property along the lake.

Postcards from Wonderland Tourist Court and Lodge

Wonderland Resort was located about three miles northeast of Duluth, on the shore of Lake Superior and adjacent to Schmidt Creek. It was run by Jack and Joan Bates from 1968 to 1998 and their family still reminisces about the old days on a Wonderland Resort Facebook page.