Sept. 29, 1985 — Dawn Kee, with daughter Melissa, 4, and holding son, Jeremiah, 2, shouts to husband, Chief Signalman Rick Kee, who is among crew arriving at Swan Island for overhaul of USS Duluth. She said she was living in a motel until the family found housing but was “excited” about living in Portland.
Jeff Lemke operates a web site, Twin Ports Rail History, and Flickr account where he posts photos he has taken as well as photos he has collected documenting the history of the rail business in Duluth and Superior. We are showing a very small sample of the images here, but you really need to check out the collection he has, as well as read his descriptions for each photo. If you are so inclined, you can also donate to keep the project going. It really is an impressive historical collection.
J.L: Most people look at my site and think it is about trains. Perception is reality in most cases. But for those who actually look closer and read the details of each image that I post, they discover that it’s really a developing story in pictures about the people who worked for the railroads and the industries that those railroads collectively served. The locomotives, railroad cars, and facilities that each railroad used were in a constant state of flux—right from the beginning. During the late 1880s railroads like the Northern Pacific and Great Northern established strongholds of land in Duluth and Superior respectively, on which they built their inland-port empires. Other railroads came along, prospered too, but to a much lesser degree.
Before there was a “Coppertop Church” in Duluth, First Methodist Episcopal occupied the corner of Third Avenue West and Third Street. The 1,800-seat brownstone structure was dedicated on Feb. 5, 1893, closed in November 1966, and was razed in 1969. It was known as “the Meth” … because those were simpler times.
The new First United Methodist Church was built on seven acres of land on Skyline Parkway bought at public auction in 1959. Construction began on “The Coppertop Church” in 1966, based on architectural designs by Pietro Bellushi.
Shawn Thompson has been creating breathtaking images of Lake Superior and the surrounding area for several years. He talks about how he got into photography and getting up early for the perfect shot.
S.T.: I am mainly a digital photographer, but I also enjoy shooting film. Film is a recent endeavor for me. Both have their perks. Digital is fantastic for the instant gratification and ease of making an exposure in just about any condition.
Back in the day it was sometimes tough work just to get a drink. Above is an undated stereoview reproduction from an 1875 McKenzie original. The reverse reads: “Duluth, Minn. in 1875. Mammoth Saloon, Jake Liedel, Prop. Lake Ave 2 blocks north of canal.”
Happy Inauguration Day. Let’s celebrate peaceful transfers of power with a retrospective view of the portraits of Duluth’s Mayors. For many years, these portraits hung in the hallways of City Hall, but were recently taken down to be cleaned, maintained, digitized and cataloged. The images used here are taken from the Minnesota Digital Library. More information about each mayor is available at the site.
Don Ness says portraits are traditionally done 2-3 years after a mayor leaves office, and he anticipates his portrait will be added to the collection some time this year. So scroll backward through time with us and enjoy the virtual gallery of Duluth mayors.
This image is from an undated postcard published by Gallagher’s Studio of Photography in Duluth.
Photo description from the back of the card:
The French Ship Racroi enters the Duluth-Superior Harbor through the famous Aerial Lift Bridge. Also shown is the Streamliner, an excursion boat. A tug helps guide the 13,000-ton bulk cargo carrier Racroi, which is 555 feet long with a 69-foot boom and a 27-foot draft.
Oh, that Congdon opulence. Glensheen Mansion and Museum, “the Historic Congdon Estate,” has been open for tours since 1979. In this post we look at some early postcards from the historic house museum, which of course looks very much the same today. Above is the north entrance of the Jacobean manor house.
For years, Hansi Johnson has worked as an advocate for outdoor recreation in our region, and his photography shows the rest of the world how lucky we are to live here.
H.J.: I am a photographer and I generally shoot full frame DSLR. However I am not married to any one camera, aspect ratio or format. I have published photos from my Iphone, my cropped camera as well.
I am generally considered an action photographer but like all labels that description is not quite right. My style is more around environmental photographs but instead of shots that only show landscapes I love to position a person interacting in that space as well, generally enjoying some form of adventurous outdoor recreation.
This undated postcard must be showing one of what Duluthians call the “Twin Ponds” these days. Skyline Parkway was commonly referred to as “The Boulevard,” short for Rogers Boulevard, before taking its modern name in 1929.