History Posts

Postcard from West Superior Street, Alworth Building, et. al.

This postcard from the early 1900s primarily shows the buildings on the 300 block of West Superior Street in Downtown Duluth. The white building with the flag is the Alworth, Duluth’s tallest building from 1910 to 2022. Construction of the new Essentia Tower is relegating the Alworth to second-tallest status.

Duluth: The Summer City of the Continent

This 90-year-old postcard was mailed Sept. 21, 1932 — 90 years ago today. It boasts the principal attributes of Duluth.

Postcard from Unloading Coal in 1912

This postcard was mailed 110 years ago today — Sept. 20, 1912. The recipient was Mr. Guss Ferdettel [or Ferdellet?] of Bentley, Mich.

Bank building in Lincoln Park begins its second century

When Duluth National Bank held the grand opening event for its new building on Sept. 16, 1922, newspapers touted it as “a triumph of artistic design and architecture,” and “a model and a monument to the craftsmen who planned and built it.” A century later, the structure in many ways remains in grand condition, but without a defining tenant. Titanium Partners, the building’s new owner, hopes to change that.

Postcard from the Entrance to the Duluth-Superior Harbor

This postcard of the Aerial Bridge, circa 1915-1925, notes its span is “393 feet 9 inches, 135 feet high from water line” and its construction cost was $100,000. The image shows a ferry car being transferred across the canal. The bridge’s era as a transfer bridge ran from March 27, 1905 to July 1, 1929.

History of the Minnesota Vikings, Prologue: Duluth, 1926

The history of the Minnesota Vikings begins with the Duluth Eskimos. Director and producer Fernando Camargo kicks off his seven-part docuseries with this “unofficial 0th installment,” which details Duluth’s 1926 campaign “that saved pro football as we know it.”

PDD Quiz: School Daze

Go to the head of the class with this week’s quiz, which looks at Duluth school buildings of yore. As with all topics related to local history, the Zenith City Press website and Minnesota Digital Library were indispensible resources.

The next PDD quiz will review September 2022 headlines; it will be published on Sept. 25. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Sept. 21.

Postcards from the College of St. Scholastica

Featured here is a pair of old College of St. Scholastica postcards.

Sexy 1938 Denfeld Beanie

Beanies are not likely to make any back-to-school fashion lists in 2022, but at some point in time Denfeld High School had a line of round, brimless, snug-fitting, maroon-and-gold skullcaps.

Duluth’s Ten Most Endangered Places in 2022

The Duluth Preservation Alliance has announced its 2022 list of the ten most endangered places. The intention is to raise awareness about historic properties that are likely to be lost. The organization previously released endangered properties lists in 2021 and 2017. An interactive story map for the 2022 list is available at arcgis.com.

Duluth women got breakfast in bed after 1952 voting gimmick

Duluth Mayor George W. Johnson reads a newspaper while he samples some of his own cooking before bringing the breakfast tray up to his wife. This United Press Photo comes with a recommended headline: “The (breakfast) tables are turned.” (Photo via Historic Images Outlet)

The women of Duluth were feasting comfortably in their pajamas 70 years ago. Or, at least, that’s what they were entitled to. A competition between the men and women of the city to increase voter registration was won by the women — 27,204 to 27,123. Mayor George W. Johnson proclaimed that husbands must serve their wives breakfast in bed for seven days or take them out to dinner for the same length of time. In many cases, however, the men either reneged on the bet or supplied a subpar meal, according to news accounts at the time.

Minnesota Point: Duluth’s Hay Fever Haven and Summer Resort

In the early half of the 20th century Duluth was often promoted as a haven for those who suffer from hay fever. Such is the case with this postcard of a trolley car on Minnesota Point, mailed Aug. 23, 1912 — 110 years ago today.

Postcard from Gooseberry Falls and River

This postcard of Gooseberry Falls — presumably the upper falls, northwest of the Highway 61 bridge — was mailed Aug. 20, 1952. The recipient was Mrs. Lester H. Dixon of North Vernon, Ind. The sender is probably her sister, based on the salutation. The signed name is Golda.

Northern Pacific Railroad Locomotive #1849

This 1952 photo shows Northern Pacific Railroad Locomotive #1849 in Downtown Duluth, with Duluth’s tallest building — the Alworth — in the background among other structures. NP’s #1849 was built in 1923 and scrapped in 1957.

Jens Flaaten & the Minnesota National Guard 3rd Regt. Band

This postcard from the early 1900s has a pencil-written note on the back: “Jens Flaaten & the Minnesota band from Duluth.” As noted at zenithcity.com, Flaaten’s funeral was held 100 years ago today — Aug. 9, 1922. He died on Aug. 5 when he was struck by a motorist while crossing Superior Street at Fifth Avenue West.

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