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History Posts

Duluth Harbor Basin, 1925

This photo from the National Archive was taken on an airplane from the McCook Field aviation experimentation station in Dayton, Ohio, which was flying in the region for a photographic mapping expedition of the Canadian border in October and November of 1925.

The caption on the photo reads:

Duluth Harbor Basin, the main business section and portions of Lake Superior, showing the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Aerial Bridge connecting Duluth proper with a long neck of land known as Minnesota Point, which really makes the Duluth Superior Harbor.

Postcards from Turk’s Clearview Court

The undated postcard above shows an aerial view of Turk’s Clearview Court at 8015 Congdon Boulevard in Lakewood Township, just outside Duluth’s northeastern border.

“Cincinnati Dancing Pig”

The song “Cincinnati Dancing Pig” was released by everybody and their brother in 1950, and in this post several versions are gathered. The words were written by Al Lewis and the music by Guy Wood. The internet purports the first recording was by Dick Jurgens and His Orchestra in May 1950, but the first release was by Red Foley in August 1950.

The Duluth-related lyric:

From Duluth to Birmingham
He’s the pork chop Dapper Dan,
He’s the keenest ham what am,
Cincinnati dancing pig

War is Over!

Goldie’s Too

Plastic shopping bag from a former Holiday Center store.

Mystery Photo #77: Passenger Boat arriving in Duluth

Date unknown. Photographer unknown. Name of vessel unknown.

Ready? Set? Go!

Charles O. Nelson’s Coffee-Boiler

Duluthian Charles O. Nelson — presumably the same Charles O. Nelson referenced in a PDD story about the West End Furniture Row — filed for and was granted a patent for a “Coffee-boiler” in 1901. The text of the claim is below.

Video Archive: Duluth Election 2008

It was ten years ago today — Nov. 4, 2008 — that Barack Obama was elected to his first term as President of the United States. Obama took nearly 53 percent of the popular vote nationwide; in Duluth he hauled in more than 68 percent. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidates swept every 2008 contest in Duluth.

Lizzie Naganab’s Glowing Grave

The “old” cemetery off Reservation Road northwest of Cloquet.

This book sparked a search into a Cloquet mystery from 87 years ago.

I’m not sure how I acquired the book, but there it sat, on the passenger seat of my car as I drove up Reservation Road northwest of Cloquet. There are some things you wish you could unsee — because a history buff like me wants all the facts. Alas, those facts can be elusive, especially so many years from an event. This was the case with a strange little entry in Six Feet Under: A Graveyard Guide to Minnesota.

I’m not into the morbid route to history that this little guide offers. That was my mother. She had dozens of books along the lines of “Wisconsin Death Trip,” “Hollywood Book of the Dead” or “Myths and Mysteries: Strange Stories of the Dead” on her shelves. Morbidly, she died earlier this year and perhaps that is how this book floated into my stacks. She redeemed herself in recent years by ditching the stories of others and digging into her own family history, a genealogy I greatly appreciate today.

Postcard from UMD’s Social Science Building

This 1960s-era postcard shows off the Social Science Building on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. Today the building is known as Cina Hall and serves as home to numerous liberal arts programs. It was renamed in 1985 in honor of UMD Regent Fred A. Cina, and underwent a $4.1 million renovation in 2016.

Duluth, Minn. – Always Cool

This postcard was mailed 110 years ago today — Oct. 22, 1908 — to Ms. A. J. Niles of Viroqua, Wis.

Mystery Photo #76: 400 block of West Superior Street

The above photo, submitted by Jay Sonnenburg, shows businesses on the 400 block of West Superior Street. At right is the WEBC Radio studio. At left are the Fargusson Building, Manhattan Building and Spalding Hotel.

City promotion: 1939

A Duluth to be Proud Of

“I remember the young people on the trip who said, ‘How come we’re not learning this in school? How come we didn’t know that this had happened?’ …it’s an American story.” –Carl Crawford – Human Rights Officer, Duluth to Montgomery Reflections.

We Duluthians are a proud people. We’re proud of our cityscape and the landscape around us. We’re proud of our ability to withstand the cold, even as we complain about it. We’re proud of our ability to move forward, as Mayor Emily Larson expressed in her open letter to the Rolling Stones this past summer. We Duluthians pride ourselves in the fact that we don’t hide from issues but rather actively engage with them. It was this Duluth pride that prompted a new, local podcast from the NAACP.

Duluth streetcar conductresses helped with 1918 fire evacuation

One-hundred years ago today, Duluth was still reeling from the devastating fires of the previous week. The Duluth Herald ran a small article celebrating the efforts during the fire of a relatively new worker in Duluth: a female conductor on the Street Railway.