History Posts

Lake Avenue Loafers

Various photos of men whose obituaries mention their affiliation with the Lake Avenue Loafers.

Anyone who reads Duluth obituaries will occasionally come across this phrase: “… was a member of the Lake Avenue Loafers.” For the uninitiated it begs two questions: “Who were these guys and what did they do besides loaf?”

Postcard from Lester Park Falls in 1905

The message penned on the front of this postcard is dated 115 years ago today — Nov. 24, 1905. Someone named Ernest is apparently writing from Michigan and has been to Montana, where the falls might have impressed him more than the ones in Duluth.

Better mail your letter for Thursday on Monday, to make sure. Some day I want you to see Red Rock Falls, when the water is high.

Duluth Junkyard in 1937

Russell Lee shot this photograph of a Duluth junkyard in May of 1937 for the United States Resettlement Administration, predecessor to the Farm Security Administration, which eventually became part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

Postcard from the Duluth Civic Center

This undated postcard image from the Gallagher Studio of Photography shows the St. Louis County Courthouse and Duluth City Hall behind the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at the Duluth Civic Center. The card is perhaps a bit older than another postcard of the Civic Center featured on Perfect Duluth Day, which shows a more expansive garden.

PDD Quiz: Superior Central High School

Learn more about the history of Superior Central High School and its alumni in this week’s PDD Quiz! Central A to Z: The History of a Superior School by Kathy Laakso and Teddie Meronek was an integral resource in writing this quiz; it can be found at both the Duluth and Superior Public Libraries.

The next PDD quiz will be published on Nov. 29 and will review this month’s headlines. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Nov. 26.

Minnesota Point in Winter Circa 1875

Photographers William Caswell and William Henry Davy ran a studio in Duluth circa 1870-75 and were responsible for many of the stereographs circulated during the era. The image above depicts a typical winter scene along the shore of Lake Superior.

Postcard from Fond du Lac Boat Docks and Steamboat Landing

This undated postcard (probably circa 1905) shows the excursion steamer Newsboy docked on the St. Louis River in Duluth’s Fond du Lac neighborhood. The card was published by the Hugh C. Leighton Company of Portland, Maine, and is brought to you compliments of Clow-Nicholson Transportation Company, with its main office at the foot of Fifth Avenue West.

Postcard from Duluth’s Lincoln Park in 1935

This postcard was mailed Nov. 6, 1935 — 85 years ago today. It was sent to Mrs. Lola M. Smith of South Bend, Ind., from her mother.

Mystery Photo #125: A&E Supply

Back when he was a student at East High School, Ben Marsen acquired a collection of photo negatives of scenes from around Duluth. The one above appears to have been shot on the 200 block of West Michigan Street, maybe where the rear entrances to R.T. Quinlan’s Saloon and Minnesota Surplus are located today — the proper addresses being 220 and 218 W. Superior St.

Duluth Boat Course

The Library of Congress has three photos on file labeled “Duluth Boat Course.” Above they are stitched together in Perfect Duluth Day’s attempt to see if they were intended to be used as a panorama. It almost kind of works.

Below are the three separate images, which show much better detail on their own. The photos are attributed to Bain News Service and dated “between ca. 1915 and ca. 1920.”

Postcard from Chester Creek Glen

This wholesome little scene is circa a century ago. The postmark on the back appears to be Oct. 31, 1915, though the year is not easy to make out. The card was sent to Miss Gertrude Fischer of Chicago.

S.S. North West fictitiously entering Duluth Harbor circa 1906

This manipulated photo from the Detroit Publishing Company is filed by the Library of Congress as “Ship canal looking in, Duluth, Minn.,” and is roughly dated 1906. The summary of the item describes the manipulation:

Photo shows a ship with the words “North West. Northern Steamship Co.” The ship appears to be pasted into the canal scene, with hand-drawn smoke and mast — a composite photograph.

Minnesota Governors Vote PSA

Four Minnesota Governors got together to encourage Minnesotans to set a good example and vote.

Duluth Athletic Club Cigar Box

Because nothing says physical fitness like a box of stogies.

Postcards from the St. Louis Hotel in Downtown Duluth

Postcard images of the St. Louis Hotel probably don’t do justice to its original splendor. The first of its two buildings went up in 1882 and was considered Duluth’s finest hotel. It was destroyed by fire on the morning of Jan. 13, 1893 and was replaced in 1895 by the Providence Building, which still stands at 332 W. Superior St.

The building shown in the postcard above was originally the Brighton Hotel, built next to the St. Louis in 1887. After the original St. Louis went up in smoke, the Brighton became the new St. Louis Hotel. The building was demolished in the early 1930s and replaced by the Medical Arts Building, which remains today at 324 W. Superior St.

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