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History Posts

Van Vick Paper Box Company of Duluth

The cribbage board above might not have been made in Duluth, but the box it came in was manufactured at 4902 Oneota St. in West Duluth.

Duluth Rudolph’s Furniture Store Fire of 1948

Duluth, Duluth, Duluth is on fire. Seventy years ago today — June 5, 1948 — Downtown Duluth was recovering from the “worst commercial district blaze in history.”

Harbor Square: Downtown Duluth’s shopping center on pillars

An important sidebar to the history of Sears, Roebuck & Company in Duluth is the fascinating tale of the shopping-center-on-pillars that wasn’t. A plan was hatched in the late 1970s for Harbor Square, a roughly $70-million, 574,000-sq.-ft. shopping plaza to be built on stilts over Interstate 35 in Downtown Duluth. Failure to lure Sears as an anchor store was a key element that led to the project’s downfall.

R.I.P. Sears, Roebuck and Company of Duluth

Sears, Roebuck and Company’s Downtown Duluth department store; 1963 photo from the Kathryn A. Martin Library’s Northeast Minnesota Historical Collections at UMD.

The news broke this week that Sears Holdings will close 15 Kmart stores and 48 Sears stores, including the Sears at Miller Hill Mall and the Kmart at the Spirit Valley Shopping Center in West Duluth.

Sears has been in business in Duluth since 1929, when Sears, Roebuck and Company opened a department store at 129 E. Superior St., the modern-day location of Fond-du-Luth Casino.

Mystery Photo #67: Duluth?


 
A few years ago I came across this photo, saved it on my computer with just the title “Duluth,” and then forgot about it. I probably didn’t know much about it then, or maybe wasn’t even certain it was a photo of Duluth.

So … that’s all we’ve got to go on with this Mystery Photo. It looks 1800s-ish. Could be Superior Street. Can anyone verify this as a Duluth photo?

A Delightful Cruise on the Chicago Queen or the Streamliner

An old promotional flyer for excursions on the “world famous Twin Ports Harbor and Lake Superior.”

Postcard from the McDougall Terminal Building in Duluth

Construction on the McDougall Terminal Warehouse began in 1922, with the first unit completed in 1923. It was located at Ninth Avenue West and Railroad Street, just a bit southwest of where Pier B Resort is today. The building became a Jeno’s frozen foods manufacturing plant in the 1970s and was demolished in 1987.

Postcard from Duluth’s Shipping Canal, 1978

The message on the back of this postcard was written 40 years ago today — May 22, 1978. The card is postmarked the next day.

Mystery Photo #66: U.S. Mail boat near Duluth, Minnesota

This undated postcard photo depicts a U.S. Mail boat at a nondescript location. The only clue that it might be on the St. Louis River or some other body of water in the vicinity of Duluth is a penciled note on the back of the card.

PDD Quiz: Duluth Goes Hollywood

In a world where trivia abounds, a quiz emerges to challenge your knowledge of Duluthians in the film industry. Only the buffest of film buffs will prevail; do you have what it takes to arise victorious?

Zenith City Online was an invaluable source of research for this quiz. For more information on these and other Duluth performers, check out their biographies at zenithcity.com.

The next PDD quiz, reviewing headlines from May 2018, will be published on May 27. Email question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by May 24.

Video Archive: Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage cut wrestling promos for 1988 Duluth show

Thirty years ago today — May 10, 1988 — the World Wrestling Federation brought a card to Duluth for the sixth time. A television crew came along to capture matches for four episodes of the syndicated weekly program Superstars of Wrestling.

Webster House

Yesterday, for some reason, Perry Webster came to mind. Perhaps the milestone of Starfire’s 50th birthday got me thinking of Legends of the Twin Ports. Along with Scott Lunt and Slim Goodbuzz, the “Mount Rushmore” of Duluth would certainly include at least one of the Websters. With that — “The Webster House” — part Airbnb, part youth hostel, part “Lincoln Bedroom,” part homeless shelter, part fraternity/sorority, part halfway house, part fact and part fiction came to mind.

Whatever happened to Frisky the Bear?

Indianapolis Star — June 7, 1959

Anyone remember old Frisky, promoter of Duluth as the vital player in the new St. Lawrence Seaway?

The pizza-like item at Duluth’s airport

Ten year’s ago today, May 3, 2008, Duluth was featured on the “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. “Megan saw this at Duluth Airport,” the post noted. “Given some of the bad food I’ve eaten in airports maybe it is a pizza-like item. Or maybe the menu isn’t actually printed ON a pizza.”

The post failed to mention one thing a commenter noticed. The person who wrote the sign also misspelled the name of the place.

The Afterburner Bar & Lounge at the Duluth International Airport closed several years ago and was replaced in 2014 by the Arrowhead Tap House.

Chris Monroe’s 2008 Homegrown Highlights

A little cartoon retrospective on the 2008 Homegrown Music Festival, drawn by Chris Monroe in 2008.