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History Posts

Duluth’s Apollo Connection

bob-gilruthAs a teenager in Duluth, Robert Rowe Gilruth built model airplanes. Three decades later he would be a key player in NASA’s plans to put a man on the moon.

An article in the February issue of Air & Space magazine details how “without Bob Gilruth, there would not have been a Mercury, a Gemini, or an Apollo program.”

Bob Gilruth, the Quiet Force Behind Apollo

Wolvin Building in Duluth, Minn.

wolvin-building-duluth-minn

The Wolvin Building was constructed as the general offices of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company in 1902. It is shown here as a six-story building, but in 1909 an additional three stories were added. It still stands today as a nine-story building at 227 W. First St., known since the 1970s as the Missabe Building.

Video Archive: Nesbitt Island on Pokegama Lake, 1978

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlxFgxPalqg

Jay Freborg’s YouTube description:

In the mid-1970s the drinking age was 18 and friends built elaborate houseboats from whatever material they could find. Going out to “The Island” is what the typical high schooler tried to to do every weekend in the summer. It wasn’t uncommon to have 300-500 people under the age of 21 along the shores of Nesbitt. Over the years, Nesbitt Island’s sandbars and beaches have eroded but the memories have not. Thanks to Bernie Orhn for his forsight to shoot this 8MM film that I edited and put to music.

Fairyland Park near Marble, Minnesota

fairyland-park

This undated postcard depicts “Alice in Wonderland,” one of more than 30 scenes from favorite fairytales at Fairyland, a roadside attraction that operated from 1948 to 1972 just west of the village of Marble, about 80 miles northwest of Duluth. Pretty much anything one might want to know about Fairyland can be found on a PDF compiled by Tim Wick, son of Melvin and Faith Wick, who bought the park in 1960.

Mystery Photo #41: Bonnie Gardens

bonnie-gardens-duluth-minn

Specific location unknown. Photographer unknown. Everything unknown. Help if you can.

PDD Quiz: Bakeries of Duluth

emojiDuluth likes its baked goods, as evidenced by the many bakeries dotting the local landscape. How much do you know about them? Let’s find out!

Our next quiz will be on Oct. 2 and it will be a review of September 2016. Send your suggested questions to lawrence @ perfectduluthday.com by Wednesday, Sept. 28 for potential inclusion in the quiz.

Itasca Conversations: Tales of Bovey (Part 1)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB5hgrRoqHE

BoveyAgnes Hromyak, Lorraine Andrews, Ethel Deal, Patricia Walls and Meredith Jakovich meet at the Bovey City Hall Library to recount life growing up on the Iron Range. Video by A Plus B Productions.

Aerial Bridge and part of Wholesale Section

Aerial Bridge and part of Wholesale Section

A Dock at Duluth Where the Ore-fleet Coals

A Dock at Duluth

Lobby of the Hotel Holland

Hotel Holland Lobby

Holland Hotel with streetcarThe Holland Hotel stood at 501-503 W. Superior St., where the Radisson Hotel Duluth-Harborview operates today.

Marketed as “the only fire proof hotel” in Duluth, it included the Holland Cafe, “famous for its service, soda fountain, light luncheons and grill room.”

The Holland opened in 1910 and closed in 1961. The Radisson was built in 1970.

Old Grand Marais Photos

GrandMarais1

A collection of old Grand Marais photos. Photographer unknown.

Perspective Map of Duluth in 1893

Perspective Map of the City of Duluth 1893

Similar to the “Perspective Map of Duluth in 1887,” but more recent and from a bit different angle.

R.I.P. Monty

Monty Lee Wilkes

Monty Lee Wilkes

We mourn the passing of Monty Lee Wilkes, local boy who made good.

Then and Now: St. Louis County Courthouse

Duluth Civic Center

There is no date on the above postcard image, but it appears to be 1960s-ish. The photo below is a modern-day view.

Duluth Civic Center 2016

DuluthiLeaks: Gateway Landscape Plaza

Gateway Plaza

Sail-GatewayFor the first edition of DuluthiLeaks — Perfect Duluth Day’s new feature in which public documents are released as if they contain secret information leaked from an anonymous whistle blower — we take a look at the development of Duluth’s Gateway Plaza. The “landscaped plaza with a concrete sculptural element shaped in the form of a sail” that sits on the western edge of Duluth’s downtown was envisioned and built in the 1970s as a “landmark entrance” to the business district. Below is a look at early plans and sketches for the “well landscaped triangle.”