History Posts

Duluth’s Piper Building

Mysterious Surveyor Type Outside Piper Building

When I was growing up my mom used to take us to the St. Vincent DePaul store in this building, next to our church, Sacred Heart, which was still a place of worship in those days.

From the Photo Archive | 1979

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Thirty years ago, Bud James was one of the custodians at Laura MacArthur Elementary School. All the kids loved him.

Because I was so young then, my memory of Mr. James is fuzzy. What I do remember is that he used to sing all the time, whether it was at assemblies or just randomly in the halls while cleaning up puke. I don’t remember if he was good at singing, or if he was just a ham, but it was great either way.

Every kid should grow up with a singing janitor. Thank you, Mr. James.

Great Music Saturday at Beaners

John HermansonThis Saturday two of my favorite musicians, Danny Schmidt and John Hermanson (of Storyhill, Alva Star, and The Hopefuls), will be playing in the round with third artist Chris O’Brien at Beaner’s Central.

Go check them out; pack the place!
Cost: $15 (for three FANTASTIC musicians)
Showtime: 8pm

5 bedroom, 3 bath, view of bocce courts

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Several years ago I took my kids to the playground at Wheeler Field. We went into the clubhouse for a bit, and I read the signs that explain the history of the place and the Wheeler family. We went back outside, and I got into a time-traveling kind of mood, imagining moving away from the places I know for this vast wilderness, running a pioneer’s household without the help of other women, giving birth to babies here. This mind trip was made easier by looking at the huge, wooded hill behind us. “This is what it would have looked like to her, too,” I imagined.

But that’s not the case anymore. I was there on Tuesday, and saw this house being built. It’s too late for me to take a “before” picture, but I looked it up on google maps. I can’t see where the road to the house would be, but I guess it’s connected to Skyline.

I don’t usually feel like development is bad. My house is on developed land, right? Who am I to tell someone else they can’t have a house, too? But being witness to the first sticking-out-like-a-thumb house on this hill makes me sad. I suppose by the time my kids are grown, the hill will be full of houses.

Happy 100th, West Duluth Masonic Temple

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Euclid Masonic Lodge 198 was dedicated on March 31, 1909. State Grand Master Eugene Swan presided over the services. About 800 people attended.

One hundred years later, it appears vacant and up for sale. The location is 611 N. Central Ave.

Classic Duluth TV: Mr. Toot and Captain Q

For your enjoyment, clips of the Mr. Toot and Captain Q kids’ shows from — I’m guessing — the early 1960s on what was then WDSM, now KBJR.

Best parts: The starstruck kids introducing themselves to Mr. Toot at the beginning (Peggy, we heard you already!), and Captain Q’s parrot (Angus Mc—–?) helping him pitch Arrowhead milk.

Thanks to YouTube user NorthlandSports, who has posted a number of other vintage Duluth TV clips, including the 1975 KBJR newscast that was featured a few weeks back on the Attic.

The Fabulous 1990 Ford Taurus LX

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After many years of semi-reliable service, this luxurious family sedan is ready for a new owner. That’s right, the car made famous by this PDD post and this PDD post, can now be yours for the unbelievable price of, oh, let’s say $200.

Duluth 1865

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Click on the map for more!

Duluth Arrowhead Volleyball Tourney

Duluth Arrowhead Volleyball Tourney

This year was the 52nd annual Duluth Arrowhead Volleyball Tournament sponsored by Grandma’s on March 21st. This years pool of 92 teams was one of the largest in the long history of the tourney and was played at UMD, CSS, Esko HS and Marshall HS. Special thanks to the Minnesota Volleyball Association for putting together this great tourney! Learn more about the MVA here: www.mnvba.com

2009 Duluth Arrowhead Results

Men’s AA
1st – Omega Force
2nd – Silverbacks

Men’s A
1st- Shots
2nd – KC Headkickers

Men’s BB
1st – AEI
2nd – Odder & Wiser
Consolation – Terps

Men’s B
1st – Falcons
2nd – Nimrods

Women’s AA
1st – Cool
2nd – Recovering Boozers

Women’s HA
1st – Block Party 1
2nd – Block Party 2

Women’ s LA
1st – Yahtzee
2nd – Ligers
Consolation – That One Team

Women’s BB
1st – Outsiders
2nd – Just One More
Consolation – Thunderbirds

Congratulations to all these teams!

Ian Gillan Band – “Clear Air Turbulence”

“Get in to Duluth!”

Thanks to Dan for the hot tip, related to the “Songs with Duluth in the lyrics or title” post.

Have we no modesty?

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The Garrison Keiller in me thinks it should be “The Above Average Seal of the State of Minnesota.”

Can the Old County Jail be saved?

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Folks, as you may know, the county has long wanted to tear down the historic St. Louis County Courthouse to create parking spaces. They are now pushing forward with those plans.

The jail is part of Duluth’s Civic Center, Duluth’s one-stop shop for some very impressive Classical/ Renaissance architecture. The center includes the St. Louis County Courthouse, Duluth City Hall, and the U.S. Federal Building-as well as the county jail, the Cass Gilbert-designed Soldiers & Sailors Monument (Fortitude Defending the Flag), and a fountain. The courthouse, which went up in 1909, was designed by famed architect Daniel H. Burnham, who among other accomplishments oversaw the entire design of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Abraham Olstead and William J. Sullivan designed the 1923 county jail, but did so in a manner in keeping with Burnham’s original idea and under Burnham’s direction. The gray granite building includes features such as Doric columns and lions heads. The jail is adorned with symbols of justice, including Roman fasces (a bundle of birch rods wrapped around an axe).

(The whole complex was part of the “City Beautiful” movement, a progressive reform movement of architecture and urban planning popular in the late 1890s and early twentieth century-it was thought that a beautiful city would create moral and civic virtue, people would behave, and the lives of inner-city poor would improve.)

The building is on the National Register of Historic Place and has been designated a Duluth Landmark property. Twice it has appeared on the Minnesota Historic Preservation Office’s “Ten Most Endangered Buildings” list.

Contrary to popular belief, the building can be successfully adapted for reuse, though it would be an expensive venture the county can’t afford. I know not everyone cares about saving our old buildings–and there are valid reasons the county has no more interest in maintaining the building. But to many like me, buildings such as the jail reflect our social and cultural heritage, and an effort should be made to at least attempt to sell the building to a party willing to invest in it–at the very least, demolition should only be discussed when all other options have been exhausted. They have not.

Technically, since the building has landmark status, the Duluth Heritage Preservation Commission (disclaimer: I sit on this commission) can do little else but deny any work on the building that does not meet it’s plan for renovation, and demolition does not fit the plan. Technically, the City Council can override the HPC, but only if the work on the building fits the Secretary of Interior’s standards for preservation projects, and again demolition does not fit such plans. But that does not mean it won’t happen.

If the future of this building matters to you and you want your voice heard on this issue, there will be a public hearing before the HPC at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 in the City Council Chambers in City Hall where you can speak your mind. Please attend.

And if you have some time tomorrow, at 2 p.m. folks are gathering at the Jail to show their support for the building. Please come.

Earth Hour March 28th

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Earth Hour is something that is going on March 28th. They just ask you to turn off the lights to your house from 8:30-9:30 p.m. as a way to ‘Vote Earth.’

I think this is  a really cool initiative because last year about 50 million households/businesses participated in Earth Hour by shutting off their lights, and this year they hope to have 1 billion people participate!

I hope you all will join me for Earth Hour on 3/28/2009.

Do you all have any ideas on how to bring Earth Hour to Duluth. Sarah’s table is already serving candlelit dinners for the hour, so if you would like a romantic dinner. 😉 But if you all have any other ideas let me know!

Our world, encapsulated

This weekend I’ll be hanging drywall in my humble home, and there is a little compartment upstairs that will be sealed up for good (or, at least until the house is remodeled again or demolished. It was closed up for about 40 years before I got to it).

I’m going to get a shoebox-sized plastic container and create a time capsule to place in that little compartment.

Already slated for the capsule: a newspaper, a few coins, and some photos of the house and neighborhood.

Any suggestions on some small things to add that would be cool to find a few decades from now?

Earth Hour

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I am a UMD student and RA on campus and recently I have been working night and day to bring ‘Earth Hour’ to UMD and Duluth Minnesota! If you don’t know about ‘Earth Hour,’ basically it is a global initiative that asks citizens to turn off the lights of their homes/businesses from 8:30-9:30 p.m. on March 28th as a way to vote ‘Earth’. If you would like to learn more about ‘Earth Hour’ the official website is earthhour.org.