I miss Duluth!!! After spending 10 years here, my job relocated me to Knoxville, Tenn. This week I was in town for a business trip when a colleague invited me to go wakesurfing on “The Big Lake.” I steeled myself for the inevitable shock of getting into the lake, but I jumped into the real shock of 70-degree water in the bay!
Lake Superior, clear sky, 80 degrees, and a boat full of fantastic friends had me feeling the loss of moving away from Duluth. The end of the evening rolled in and it was time to go home, except I knew I needed that one picture to capture the moment. It was a Perfect Duluth Day! Can’t wait to be back.
The Library of Congress captions this image “Steamer Christopher Columbus from Duluth passing industrial buildings,” and dates it “between 1900 and 1915.”
The SS Christopher Columbus was the longest whaleback ship ever built and the only one outfitted to serve as a passenger steamer — the rest were cargo barges. It was built by American Steel Barge Company in Superior and was in service from 1893 to 1933.
Many early studio photographers around Duluth printed their photographs on flowery pre-printed cabinet cards, often with their names prominently displayed. Often the name of the person photographed is lost to history, but we can easily locate the photographer in the records more than 100 years later.
Thomas Spence’s photos of the landscapes and wildlife of the North Shore have been published and featured in regional and national magazines and TV shows. His Instagram feed is filled with the critters that we all know are around, but rarely get to see so up close and personal. He talks about how he got started with his photography and the patience required to get shots like these.
TS: I have been taking photos with a DSLR for about seven years. I used to carry a point-and-shoot around on trips and gatherings, just to capture the moments with friends and family. I never really was into scenery or wildlife with a camera growing up. In 2007 I gave up a loooong drinking career and needed a new hobby. I wanted to take better photos and I wanted to capture two things. Waterfalls with that silky smooth look, and northern lights. I bought a little Canon digital point-and-shoot and was able to figure out how to do long exposures on it. I learned that camera and was able to get some northern lights photos and the waterfall look I was trying for. I was hooked. In 2011 I took a road trip through the Smoky Mountains and south to Kennedy Space Center. It was that trip that I decided I needed a “real” camera. I think I bought my first DSLR in 2012. Lake Superior, the surrounding State Parks and Superior National Forest soon became my daily haunts. I was mainly doing landscape photos, but I see incredible wildlife on a regular basis, so I knew I needed a long lens to add to the camera. I found myself going into the woods to search for wildlife a lot more once I had the “reach” with a long lens. I live in a great place on the Sawbill Trail in Tofte. When I leave home, if I turn left, I can be on Lake Superior in minutes for sunrise or sunset. If I turn right, I am in Superior National Forest where I see Moose, bear, wolves, lynx and more on a fairly regular basis.
The new Jade Fountain tiki bar has its grand opening scheduled for Friday, Aug. 7, at 7 p.m. The space will be limited to 50 patrons at a time due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Drinks will be pre-made for additional safety.
The Duluth Zoo’s white stucco restroom facilities circa 1923. Photo by Hugh McKenzie.
Duluth’s municipal zoo opened in 1923 after the city council gave a small piece of land to print-shop owner Bert Onsgard and hired him as zookeeper. He was paid $1 per year for tending to a white-tailed deer and a few native birds. The zoo would eventually expand to cover 16 acres of land surrounding Kingsbury Creek in Fairmount Park, and hold hundreds of animals from around the world.