History Posts

The Minnesota Woolen Company Story

The clips above are from the 1959 film The Minnesota Woolen Company, obtained by Perfect Duluth Day via the Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives & Special Collections at the University of Minnesota Duluth and shared with permission from the St. Louis County Historical Society. For those who want to fully nerd out on this, the complete film can be viewed below.

Postcard from the Duluth Folk Festival

This postcard, published by Gallagher’s Studio of Photography, shows a typical scene from the Duluth International Folk Festival at Leif Erikson Park. The postcard was mailed 60 years ago today — Aug. 6, 1962 — by someone named Sara who mentions attending the festival in her message on the back of the card.

The “Souvenir of Duluth” decorative pillow cover

It’s certainly no odder than the Pink Aerial Lift Bridge Dollhouse Toilet, but the Duluth pillow cover still qualifies as an oddity. I nabbed the image from an eBay listing circa 2018 and figured it was a one-off thing someone made, but then …

Flame Excursion Boat during Portorama 1962

This photograph by Lyman E. Nylander was shot 60 years ago during the Duluth Seaway Portorama of 1962. The 108-passenger Flame served as a tourist excursion boat in Duluth from 1961 to 1973. It was replaced by the 256-passenger Vista Queen.

The Flame is now operating in Buffalo, N.Y.

Last issue of the Duluth Herald

Forty years ago today — July 30, 1982 — the Duluth Herald newspaper was published for the last time. The first issue was published April 9, 1883, and its cover appeared as artwork on the final edition.

Mystery Photo: 1962 State and Sectional Champs

This photo was acquired at the Ellefson Estate Sale in the Upper Cody part of West Duluth in 2019. It shows a youth baseball team with players wearing different jerseys, suggesting perhaps it’s an all-star squad or the team had multiple sponsors. The sponsor names on the shirts are: Kelley Duluth, City Bottling, YOT (Young Old Timers), Gately’s, West Arrow Chevrolet, Moose 1478 … and one looks like it might be M&J Super Value (the bottom word is blocked by the players forearms). Two jerseys are plain white; those players have an M on their caps while the other players have caps with no lettering.

The writing on the back of the photo gives the biggest clue: “1962 State & Sectional Champs.” But the names of the players and coaches are lost to history unless a nerd or two step up and solve the mysteries.

Postcard from a Bird’s-eye View of Duluth in 1912

Postmarked July 27, 1912, this image shows Downtown Duluth from an Observation Hill vantage point. A different version of this postcard was posted on Perfect Duluth Day a bit more than a year ago, sparking some discussion about the vantagepoint of the image and the likelihood that it represents Duluth circa 1900. (In other words, the image likely represents a scene in Duluth from 12 years before the card was mailed.)

The card in this post is simply for the purpose of marking 110 years since it was sent and recognizing the oddly simplistic message written on the back.

Postcard from the Elevators on Rice’s Point

This undated postcard from the Rotograph Company is captioned “Elevators, Superior Harbor, Duluth, Minn.” and features a view of Rice’s Point and the Duluth/Superior Harbor.

According to an article on the Canada Lakes Conservation Association website, the Rotograph Company was based in New York City and was “a major publisher and printer of postcards from 1904-1911.”

Mystery Photo: Cowboys and a Clown

The previous Mystery Photos post on Perfect Duluth Day featured four different fake cowboy photos shot at Owl Studio in Duluth circa 1912. Another recently popped up on ebay and quickly sold, this time with some kind of clown joining the cowboys.

PDD Quiz: Portorama

Test your knowledge of the bygone Duluth Seaway Portorama in this week’s quiz! To learn more about this festival, check out the Duluth Public Library’s Vintage Duluth blog.

The next PDD quiz sails your way on July 31; it will review this month’s headlines and happenings. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by July 27.

Wholesale Flour, Feed, Grain and Hay

Recent work on the Duluth Plumbing Supply building at 322 W. Michigan St. — now SPS Companies — has made more visible the words painted on the back side more than a century ago. The bottom line reads “Wholesale Flour, Feed, Grain and Hay.” The top line originally read “Wright-Clarkson Mercantile Co.” but appears to have later been painted over with some other words.

The old-timey photo is via Shorpy and is dated “circa 1905.” St. Louis County property tax records list the building as constructed in 1910, but that’s potentially not accurate.

Postcard from Priley Fountain and the Radisson Hotel

This 50-year-old postcard shows what was then the new Radisson Hotel behind the also new-at-the time Priley Fountain at the Duluth Civic Center. The message on the back of the card was written July 14, 1972, and the card is postmarked the next day.

Anna D. Oleson, first female major-party nominee for U.S. Senate

The photo in this clipping from the Duluth Herald is dated July 10, 1922, and appears in the July 14 issue of the paper. That summer — one hundred years ago — Anna Dickie Oleson of Cloquet was campaigning to represent Minnesota in the United States Senate.

West Superior Street, Spalding Hotel, Lyceum Theatre

This photo from Detroit Publishing Company is a similar perspective to a shot previously posted on PDD. It shows Downtown Duluth at Superior Street and Fifth Avenue West at the turn of the 20th century, with the Spalding Hotel at right and the Lyceum Theatre at left.

Mystery Photos: Duluth Owl Studio Cowboys and Cowgirls

Yes, more mystery fake cowboys from Duluth. Previous cowboy mystery photos were presented in the post “Mystery Photos: Wide Awake and Green Dragon Studios.” Cowboy nostalgia was apparently all the rage in the early 1900s, even though the Old West wasn’t quite that old at the time, because the photos featured here are from yet a third photography enterprise in Duluth, Owl Studio.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!