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History Posts

View from Top of Famous Incline Railway, Duluth, Minn.

This undated postcard, published by Gopher News Co. of Minneapolis, has the following text on the backside:

A novel attraction is the incline railway at 7th Ave. West and Superior Street. These cable cars connect the downtown section with Duluth Heights. In eight city blocks rise to an elevation 500 feet above lake level from where unusual views of Duluth, Lake Superior, Minnesota Point, and the Duluth Superior Harbor are obtainable.

The incline operated until 1939. More info and similar images can be found on the PDD post “Postcards from Duluth’s Incline Railway.”

World War I Letter from Alvin T. Anderson of Moose Lake

One hundred years ago my maternal grandfather wrote a letter to his brother. His brother kept it, and eventually it became an item that was photocopied and dispersed to descendents. There’s nothing particularly thrilling in the letter, but it probably qualifies as having at least causal historical significance outside of family interest, so I’ll share it here.

Bargaining for love in Duluth

This undated postcard, published by Bamforth & Co., promises requited love in the flower patches of Duluth. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Adventures of the Little Pats

PDD Quiz: Sports Go Sports!

With a nod to the recent Super Bowl (and a Garfunkel and Oates song), this month’s PDD Quiz explores athletics in Duluth. Step up to the plate, sports fan, and see if you can knock this quiz out of the park!

Zenith City Online was an invaluable source of research for this quiz in case you want to cheat study beforehand.

The next PDD quiz, on the happenings that made headlines this month, will be published on Feb. 24. Please email question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Feb. 21.

Postcards from Neptune

This statue of Neptune stood on the edge of Duluth’s shipping canal from 1959 to 1963. The text on the back of the postcard reads:

Neptune — Symbolic Ruler of the Sea
This statue was given Duluth by the State Fair Board and the land loaned by the Corps of Engineers at Canal Park, Duluth, Minn. to commemorate the arrival of the first deep draft ocean going vessel in to Duluth on May 3, 1959. Neptune was God of the Sea — son of Cronus and Rhea. The Greeks called him Poseidon. He was Jupiter’s brother. Neptune controlled all the waters of the earth and was worshiped by sailors. The 3 prong spear he carried was called Trident.

Entangled lives: Poles and Jews; Europe and Africa

University lectures showed me quite a bit about the entangled lives of the past that shape our present. Last Thursday, Dr. Deborah Petersen-Perlman gave a historical tour of Poland. She opened with a video that shows the borders of European nations, beginning hundreds of years before the invention, even, of the nation-state.

Selective Focus: Mike Scholtz

Mike Scholtz makes movies about odd little things that no one seems to know about, but after watching them, you think, “Why didn’t I know about that?” Also, these are not little things, they are big parts of some people’s lives. The world premiere of his latest film “Riplist” at the Fargo Film Fest was just announced today. Mike talks about what drives him to dig into these stories and presents some trailers from his work.

I’m a documentary filmmaker who enjoys making funny films about serious subjects. Or serious films about funny subjects. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure which. But I do like to sneak up on an audience with a few laughs before I hit them with the soul-crushing realization that we’re all going to die in a cold, uncaring universe.

That’s how I approached my latest film, Riplist. It’s about a group of friends from Fargo who compete in a celebrity deadpool. It’s a contest where players draft celebrities they think might die in the next year, like fantasy football but with elderly presidents and ailing musicians. I hope people are as morbidly fascinated with this hobby as I am, because it’s premiering at the Fargo Film Festival in March. I suspect it will play at some other festivals in the area shortly after that. If you like your comedy as black as your soul, I think you’ll like this film.

Postcards and Relics from the Duluth Flame Restaurant

This undated postcard shows off one of Duluth’s best-remembered restaurants, the Flame, which operated off-and-on at multiple locations in various forms from the 1930s to the 1980s. At the time of the postcard above, the Flame was at 353 S. Fifth Ave. W., where the Great Lakes Aquarium is today.

Mystery Photo #84: Building near Duluth Arena

Sitting awkwardly between the Duluth Arena and the Radisson Hotel in this photo by Perry Gallagher is a seven-story building that can’t be far from demolition. What was it?

A Coaching Party on Boulevard Drive, Duluth, Minn.

Copyright 1904, Detroit Publishing Co.

Video Archive: Duluth’s Chinese Lantern Restaurant

It was 25 years ago today — January 16, 1994 — when Duluth’s iconic Chinese Lantern restaurant was destroyed by fire. The video clip above is from the Asian Flavors documentary co-produced by the Minnesota Historical Society Press and Twin Cities Public Television in 2013. The full 28-minute documentary is below.

Duluth to Montgomery Reflections: History in Context

In the sixth episode of the “Duluth to Montgomery Reflections,” the Duluth NAACP welcomes an advocate, coordinator, and mentor from the Duluth community. Sandra Oyinloye is no stranger to facing issues of racial justice head-on, yet this trip to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice brought her into new challenges.

Minnesota Point, 1904

This cityscape photo of Minnesota Point, shot from Duluth’s hillside, is from the Detroit Publishing Company, copyright 1904.

Postcard from U.S. Steel’s Machine Shop and Power House

U.S. Steel’s Duluth Works plant in Morgan Park had more than 50 buildings when production began in 1915. This undated postcard highlights the machine shop and power house.