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History Posts

Mystery Photo: Piper & Johnson

This cabinet card photo is from the Piper & Johnson studio at 227 E. Superior St., Duluth. Today that location is where Greysolon Plaza, the former Hotel Duluth, sits. Since cabinet cards were popular at the end of the 19th Century, the Piper & Johnson studio must have been in a building that predates the Hotel Duluth, which opened in 1925.

Postcards from Duluth’s Radisson Hotel

When the Radisson Hotel was built at 505 W. Superior St. in 1970, it was Duluth’s first new hotel in 43 years. It would be difficult to count the number that were built in the next 43 years, but not impossible. Go ahead and try.

When did they put the lid on Enger Tower?

A 1954 film recently posted on Perfect Duluth Day led Lars Waldner to wonder about the roof that’s been on top of Enger Tower for decades, but isn’t there in the movie.

“I didn’t realize Enger Tower used to have an open top on it,” he wrote on Facebook. “Anyone know when that changed?”

Duluth Trunk Factory

I recently came across this footlocker-style trunk and inside it had a sticker from the Duluth Trunk Factory. I’m wondering if anyone knows the history of this particular company.

Old photos sleuths: where did I get these?

Photo sleuths: instead of figuring out the subject or date, I’m hoping one of you knows where I downloaded these photos, possibly 10 years ago. I’ve been searching for them online off and on for years, and my Google-fu is usually excellent, but I’m not having any luck with these.

PDD Video Lab: Knight Family 8mm Duluth Movie

For this edition of PDD Video Lab we’ve pulled the Duluth section out of a 1954 family film and repacked it with period music — Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable.”

Aerial Bridge raised to pass ore boat into Duluth Harbor

Based on the 3-cent postage rate, this postcard must be circa 1958 to 1963. The description on the back reads:

The Aerial Bridge in raised position for an ore boat passing into Duluth Harbor. When the span is lowered traffic may move without interruption between Minnesota Point and downtown Duluth. Through this canal pass about 4500 boats in a 7-1/2 month season, carrying a total tonnage of about 17 million tons. (Average for five years.)

List of Duluth Winters and what they are Remembered For

Although Duluth is known for — and by some feared — for its winters, they tend to run together in our memories. Everyone who experienced it recalls the Mega Storm of 1991 and there was a long cold snap a few years ago, but by and large the various storms and other winter climate events are forgotten or the memories get mashed together.

So, in an effort to sort them out I tossed together a brief and somewhat vague list of some winter moments that have been marked on Perfect Duluth Day in the past (with links) or have been loosely referenced on the web as having been more wintery than other winters. (As the comments have come in I’ve added a few more links from Zenith City Online and notes regarding conditions of some years.)

Mystery Photo #78: Trio by the Transfer Bridge

It’s not known who shot this photo or the names of the people posing in it, but based on the woman’s flapper outfit and the fact that the Aerial Bridge in the background isn’t a lift bridge yet, it must be circa the 1920s. Can anyone find other clues?

Video Archive: Christmas City of the North Parade 1998

Here it is, nearly two hours of KBJR-TV coverage of the Christmas City of the North Parade from 20 years ago — Nov. 20, 1998. It was the first time the parade was routed onto Railroad Street in Canal Park, where KBJR was building its new studio.

See below for an index of parade entries if you want to find your favorite and not watch the whole broadcast. Also below, bonus footage: A portion of the KBJR newscast that preceded the parade. Both videos include most of the local commercials. National commercials were trimmed out, as were local commercials that repeated. 

Duluth Harbor Basin, 1925

This photo from the National Archive was taken on an airplane from the McCook Field aviation experimentation station in Dayton, Ohio, which was flying in the region for a photographic mapping expedition of the Canadian border in October and November of 1925.

The caption on the photo reads:

Duluth Harbor Basin, the main business section and portions of Lake Superior, showing the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Aerial Bridge connecting Duluth proper with a long neck of land known as Minnesota Point, which really makes the Duluth Superior Harbor.

Postcards from Turk’s Clearview Court

The undated postcard above shows an aerial view of Turk’s Clearview Court at 8015 Congdon Boulevard in Lakewood Township, just outside Duluth’s northeastern border.

“Cincinnati Dancing Pig”

The song “Cincinnati Dancing Pig” was released by everybody and their brother in 1950, and in this post several versions are gathered. The words were written by Al Lewis and the music by Guy Wood. The internet purports the first recording was by Dick Jurgens and His Orchestra in May 1950, but the first release was by Red Foley in August 1950.

The Duluth-related lyric:

From Duluth to Birmingham
He’s the pork chop Dapper Dan,
He’s the keenest ham what am,
Cincinnati dancing pig

War is Over!

Goldie’s Too

Plastic shopping bag from a former Holiday Center store.