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History Posts

Don’t Tell Mom

Frank Hoolihan sent this postcard to Mrs. Galivan in Buffalo, NY imploring her to tell Sarah not to let anyone know that he’s in Duluth. He doesn’t want his mom to find out. I suspect he sailed up the Great Lakes to Duluth to get away for some reason. Or maybe he was just on a lark. It does raise a few questions. I can’t make out the year in the postmark but I’m guessing around 1909 or so.

Postcard from a Lumber Raft in Duluth

Tons of People’s Free Skate Rink Freakout Footage

Video by Lane R. Ellis

Mystery Photos #88-89: Hardware Store Women

I recently came across two photos of a couple strong Duluth women in an unidentified Duluth hardware store on Minnesota Reflections. There is no accurate date or known specific location (there is a guesstimate year span on this one of 1918-1925, which seems quite unlikely due to their stylish high-collar/big sleeve clothing). Who were they? What year was this? And would they tolerate any nonsense? Unlikely.

Duluth City Blocks Puzzles

Apparently a person or entity named P.J. Kossett obtained a copyright in 1978 for the purpose of manufacturing “City Blocks,” a collection of “six puzzles of Duluth scenes.” Shown above is the Duluth Depot, aka St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center. Also featured in the puzzles: Leif Erikson Park, Ore boat entering harbor, Canal Park, Enger Tower and Spirit Mt. Ski Chalet.

PDD Quiz: History of Morgan Park

This week’s quiz is the first in an occasional series that will focus on the history of Twin Ports neighborhoods; please sound off in the comments on other neighborhoods that you’d like to see covered!

Entering the Devil’s Triangle

In late September 2018 it would have been a challenge to read a newspaper or watch a television news program without encountering the phrase “Devil’s Triangle.” In case anyone has already forgotten, I’ll briefly explain. It was related to Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the United States Supreme Court and Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against him. With Kavanaugh’s character in question, everything about him became subjected to analysis, including his 1983 high school yearbook, where the phrase “Devil’s Triangle” appeared in a long list of Kavanaugh’s accomplishments meshed with a slew of inside jokes.

This is a pretty typical thing. My own 1991 high school yearbook lists my involvement in luge. My high school didn’t have an official luge team, of course. But the entry isn’t entirely a joke. I organized several sledding events with my peers — just the traditional riding of orange Paris and red Norca plastic sleds down the hills of Duluth. We referred to ourselves as the Denfeld High School Luge Team.

As you can probably guess, the odds are 100 percent in favor of a search for “luge, sex term” on the internet generating an eye-opening result. It turns out that mentioning in my yearbook the simple act of going sledding with my friends could be interpreted as bragging about fellatio skills.

Postcard from Duluth’s Edgewater Motel

This undated postcard from Gallagher’s Studio of Photography depicts Duluth’s Edgewater Motel, probably circa the 1960s. Today it is known as the Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark, located at 2400 London Road.

Duluth Tooth Puller Runs Amuck in 1903

Making the rounds on Facebook is this New York Times clip from March 5, 1903, reporting events from the morning of March 4, 1903. The Times and some other sources refer to the freelance dentist as “Johnson,” but his name is John Simonson in other accounts.

Mystery Photos #85-87: Probably Skyline Parkway in the 1920s

An early 20th Century family photo album was recently unearthed in the Nicklawske archive room and I discovered some old Duluth photographs. I pulled three pictures from the book that included images of an automobile trip my grandfather and his sister made to Duluth in the 1920s. My grandfather, Jim Nicklawske, lived in St. Paul at the time and his sister Mae was visiting from her home in Great Falls, Mont. It appears they traveled to Duluth with a third, unidentified person who made pictures of the event.

Going out today to rebuild the rink

This week will be cold but relatively free of precipitation, so any rinkspace recovered will likely survive a few days. It looks like a blasted moonscape out there right now, but a couple hours of shoveling will uncover the byways of our lost civilization, that culture of pure leisure we established whose spirit survives.

Postcard from Duluth Fire Department Engine House #1

This undated postcard shows Duluth Fire Department Engine House #1 at 101 E. Third St., one of the first fire houses in the city of Duluth. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975.

Video Archive: Hemlock Garage Collapse of 1979

Forty years ago the Hemlock Garage at 302 E. First St. collapsed under the weight of snow. WDIO-TV news anchor Dennis Anderson and reporter Tom Lindner had the story.

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.