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History Posts

Honking Tree case remains a mystery 10 years later

Left: July 2001 photo of the Honking Tree from the Two Harbors Forum website. Right: The modern remains of the Honking Tree stump between Larsmont Road and Isaacson Road southwest of Two Harbors. Photo by Mike Creger.

I asked Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson this month if there was anything new in the now 10-year-old Honking Tree case.

“You mean the white pine murder investigation?” he said straightaway.

National Bank Notes of Duluth

There are still a few national currency bank notes with Duluth bank names floating around, mostly held by collectors. This type of currency was eliminated in the 1930s. The note above is from Northern National Bank of Duluth and was issued in 1908. In the portrait is U.S. Treasury Secretary Hugh McCulloch, who also named the streets in Duluth’s Lakeside neighborhood, including one after himself. (More on McCulloch in the comments.)

The Saturday Evening Post’s Duluth of 1949

Seventy years ago — April 16, 1949 — Duluth was featured in The Saturday Evening Post as part of the magazine’s series on “America’s most colorful cities.” The lengthy article by Arthur W. Baum was the 65th in the series, and features photographs by Frank Ross.

The intro text reads: “Once a bleakly unpromising village, this now great grain and ore center has survived many a stunning setback — thereby making her smart-aleck detractors look foolish. The cheif hazard of life here is this: You never know when a wild bear will drop in for breakfast.”

PDD Quiz: Homegrown Innovations Edition

In honor of the upcoming Homegrown Music Festival, this PDD quiz examines inventions, innovations, and ideas that were “homegrown” in the Duluth area.

The next PDD quiz will review headlines from April 2019 and will be published on April 28. Please email question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by April 25.

Postcards from Duluth Motel

According to this postcard, Duluth Motel sat in some mysterious forest, perhaps offering the only toilet available for miles and miles. In reality, “Northwest’s Most Luxurious Motel” was near Denfeld High School and surrounded by West Duluth homes and businesses. A lush, undeveloped hillside was indeed in the distance, though not very similar looking to the illustration on the postcard.

Duluth’s Lodging & Dining … circa 1979-’82

This promotional pamphlet is from roughly 1980. Within the text might be clues that narrow down a specific year.

DM&N Railway Ore Docks in West Duluth, early 1900s

This photo of the Duluth, Missabe and Northern Railway ore docks in West Duluth is from Detroit Publishing Company. The Library of Congress dates the image as “between 1900 and 1915” and notes it shows “probably Dock No. 1 at left” and lists the three freighters in the foreground as George H. Russell, Sultan and James E. Davidson.

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.