History Posts

Bird’s-eye View of Duluth-Superior, 1908

This postcard features a drawing of Duluth, Superior and the St. Louis River, and was copyrighted by Thomas W. Wahl of Wahl Realty Co. in 1908.

So warmly clad in Patrick coat and sweater

Duluth Trivia Deck Sampler #32

Another trivia card from a board game purchased at Savers.

Acceptance Speech, Mayor of Snow-Fort City

Thank you, distinguished citizens, for conferring upon me this office of Snow-Fort City Mayor. It is no small honor to assume my half-imaginary duties in this pop-up, collaborative, city-planning art fantasy at the edge of Lake Superior. “City” is an aspirational term for this arrangement of snow walls and monuments in Duluth’s Leif Erickson Park. Snow-Fort City’s true location lies somewhere within our skulls — like all cities. My Facebook post initiating construction was shared more than a hundred times in just a few hours, and it attracted the Duluth News-Tribune and KBJR-6/CBS-3, which tells me the vision of the snow-fort city is the real object. Almost none of the post-sharers, newspaper readers, or TV viewers made it down to the actual Snow-Fort City. They are content to view it with their eyes closed, in its most pure form: the Platonic one.

It literally came to me in a vision, like the origin of so many great cities. In a way, like Duluth itself. I remember the words of George Nettleton’s wife from 1856, when her husband’s mind swam with dreams of Duluth-as-future-city: “I thought he had a pretty long head to see that there was going to be a city here sometime when there was then nothing” (Duluth: An Illustrated History of the Zenith City by Glenn N. Sandvik).

Postcard from Tri-Tower Apartments

This postcard from Gallagher’s Studio of Photography offers a 1970’s-era view of Tri-Tower Apartments at 220-226 N. Second Ave. E. in Duluth’s Central Hillside. The 15-story lobes were constructed in 1972 and are operated by the Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Duluth, providing low-rent living space for elderly people with limited incomes.

Bankruptcy in the West End and the Horse You Rode in On

Here’s a little something for bankruptcy law nerds and fans of commerce in western Duluth circa the early 1980s. One would pretty much have to be fanatical about both to read through the full document linked here …

United States Bankruptcy Court, D. Minnesota, Fifth Division
Jun 7, 1985
52 B.R. 501 (Bankr. D. Minn. 1985)

… but perhaps the summary below will suffice for the average Duluthian.

Duluth Trivia Deck Sampler #31

Another trivia card from a board game purchased at Savers.

Postcard from the Aerial Bridge in 1909

This postcard was mailed 110 years ago today — Dec. 9, 1909. It shows the Aerial Transfer Bridge during the days when a ferry car transported people, automobiles and goods across the Duluth Shipping Canal.

Duluth Trivia Deck Sampler #30: Winter Sports Edition

Another trivia card from a board game purchased at Savers.

Ripped at the Laundromat in 1999

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. In this essay the ol’ Sultan of Sot went out for a “soak and spin” at the Chalet Lounge, 4833 Miller Trunk Highway. The article originally appeared in the December 1999 issue of Duluth’s then-monthly Ripsaw newspaper.]

I hate doing laundry. It’s just one of those exceedingly practical things that isn’t any fun in the least and does nothing but stand in the way of gettin’ ripped and having a good time. Luckily, I found the Chalet Lounge — Duluth’s only Laundromat that is attached to a bar.

Actually, the place isn’t in Duluth, but Hermantown. “Laundromat Hermantown, MN” the sign outside boldly states. On the sidewalk beneath it lay two battered and broken washing machines.

I hauled my basket of dirty clothes inside, eager to get the wash going so I could start drinking. A big guy in a leather jacket leaned against a dryer reading a copy of Real Estate Viewer magazine. I tried really hard not to let him see my Snuggle fabric softener. The thought entered my mind that it might actually be more fun to have a few drinks and then do the wash, but I quickly dismissed this idea, imagining dire consequences.

West Superior Street, Spalding Hotel, Lyceum Theatre circa 1904

This photo from Detroit Publishing Company shows Downtown Duluth at Superior Street and Fifth Avenue West circa 1904. At right is the Spalding Hotel, at left the Lyceum Theatre.

Due to the clarity of this particular image, it’s possible to zoom in for some pretty clear closeups, as illustrated below.

Postcard of Foreign Ships in Duluth Harbor

Foreign Trade Zone #51 was approved by the Foreign-Trade Zones Board 40 years ago today — Nov. 27, 1979. This undated postcard from Gallagher’s Studio of Photography shows ships in the Duluth Harbor near the Foreign Trade Terminal.

Duluth Trivia Deck Sampler #29

Another trivia card from a board game purchased at Savers.

Postcard from a parade on Superior Street in 1909

This postcard was mailed 110 years ago today — Nov. 23, 1909. It depicts a scene on the 300 block of West Superior Street in Downtown Duluth that appears to be a Fourth of July parade.

Duluth Trivia Deck Sampler #28: KBJR Edition

Another trivia card from a board game purchased at Savers.