History Posts

More Vintage Photos of Duluth

Duluth Incline Circa 1905

I’m not sure if we’ve ever discussed photos from this site on PDD before, but the vintage photography blog Shorpy just posted some new old shots of Duluth from 1905. There are a few more Duluth photos back in the archives as well, which I dug out for you. Check ’em out:

Brian Olson’s mural of the Palace Theater


Two blocks from the site of the old Palace Theater in Superior is the new Palace Theater, a painting of the old one. Brian Olson created this mural on the back side of the Douglas County Historical Society building.

Pretty sweet.

From the Ripsaw Archive | September 1999

Reggae34895672 ReggaeClothespins348957

Ten years later, I wonder if anyone noticed that instead of using an image of a dreadlocked rastafarian for this reggae concert ad we just clipped a bunch of clothespins on Barrett.

Old Cemetery

DSC02124 DSC02121 DSC02114 DSC02119

One of the oldest and prettiest cemeteries in the area is also one of the most obscure. This one is on Cemetery Road off County Road Z, near County Road A, just south of Superior.

Has the Piggly Wiggly name wiggled on out of Duluth?

I pulled up to the stop sign at Calvary and Woodland in the heart of Woodland yesterday, looked ahead, and… it’s gone!

The blast-from-the-past, decades-old Piggly Wiggly facade, cherished by… well, at least me, and featured in a PDD banner of yore, is no more! See for yourself:


Glensheen Rap

Josiah Grover, a student guide at Glensheen Mansion and Museum, has released his “Glensheen Rap.”

References to Duluth in Popular Literature

Ernest Hemmingway - The Torrents of SpringErnest Hemingway’s The Torrents of Spring
“The foreman was a short, iron-jawed man. He had once made a trip as far as Duluth. Duluth was far across the blue waters of the lake in the hills of Minnesota. A wonderful thing had happened to him there.”

F Scott Fitzgerald - The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
“A few days later he took him to Duluth and bought him a blue coat, six pair of white duck trousers, and a yachting cap.”

Dalton Trumbo LettersDalton Trumbo’s letter to Guy Endore
“I’ve seen their faces in a miners’ union hall in Duluth on a night when the wind off the lake blew the snow so killingly and so deep that cars couldn’t be used and everybody walked to the meeting.”

Willa Cather - The Song of the LarkWilla Cather’s The Song of the Lark
“I must go now. I had to give my lesson hour this morning to a Duluth woman who has come on to coach, and I must go and play ‘On Mighty Pens’ for her. Please tell Mr. Harsanyi that I think oratorio is a great chance for bluffers.”

Happy Duluthiversary to Me


Me + Duluth = true love

This is everywhere I’ve lived in Duluth for the past 10 years.

Remembering Laura MacArthur

A commenter to the post about the house being torn down for construction of the new Laura MacArthur Elementary asked the question, “Who is Laura MacArthur anyway?”

Laura MacArthur was an elementary and junior high school teacher and principal in West Duluth for over four decades.

Born in England, she came to the United States with her family at around the age of 10. She attended high school in Wooster, Ohio, and graduated from the College of Wooster.

She came to Duluth in the spring of 1896, where she was assigned to teach Latin, algebra and civics to ninth graders at Longfellow School.


Tonight the Duluth City Council will consider suspending the Norshor “Experience” liquor license.

Here’s a picture of among other things, future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Link Wray who had one of his last public performances in the United States at the NorShor before he died a few months later. He played with a number of Duluth rockers, some of you were there, it was pretty amazing.

Rules for Teachers, 1905 and 1872

During my recent visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, I had a good laugh reading two lists of rules on the walls of the little schoolhouse.

A problem that needs addressing

There’s something that’s confused me a bit about Duluth since I moved here (and I realize I may be the only person who has ever wondered about this).

Just about every town has a “0” point for its street addresses. In Duluth, that would be the corner of Lake and Superior, right? 1 E. Superior, 1 W. Superior, 1 N. Lake, etc. The lower the address number, the closer it is to the zero point. And in general, there are imaginary lines that spread out from that point, dividing addresses into north-south, and east-west.

That all works out well in Duluth on the main grid of streets – downtown, West End, West Duluth, Lakeside… but then it starts to get odd.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation in Minnesota with Daniel Johnston, Laura Ingalls Wilder, my great-great-grandparents and a bunch of short-fiction writers

There comes a time in every Minnesota man’s summer when he climbs into a rusty conversion van with the love of his life and sets out across the state in search of everything and nothing in particular.

Once the dog and the cooler of beer are secure in back, it’s off we go.

Nemadji Wisconsin Point Burial Tour

Ever wonder what happened to all the remains from the old Indian cemetery on Wisconsin Point? According to this YouTube video, over 100 burials were “dumped” along the banks of the Nemadji River at the St. Francis Cemetery in Superior. Their bones and artifacts crop up to this day as the banks continue to erode.

From the Rock Poster Archive | 1999


Ten year’s ago, the hottest chainsaw-weilding band in the country played at Stargate in Superior. For some reason I held on to the poster, even though I did not attend. I did see Jackyl open for Damn Yankees at the DECC in 1992, however.

Did anyone see the Soup Town show? Anyone? Anyone?

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