Perfect Duluth Day Writer’s Guide

Duluth, like any city, has its own unique collection of frequently misspelled or misunderstood terms. Below is an ever-evolving encyclopedia-style list to help writers keep their proper nouns proper.

To petition to have something added to this list, or to argue over items on this list, visit the “PDD Spelling, Punctuation and Proper Usage Police” post and write a comment there.

Acronyms that are common in the Duluth area include:

  • CASDA – Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse
  • CSS – College of St. Scholastica
  • DBU – Duluth Business University
  • DECC – Duluth Entertainment Convention Center
  • DM&IR – Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
  • DNT – Duluth News Tribune
  • FdTCC – Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College
  • IRRRB – Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board
  • LSC – Lake Superior College
  • UMD – University of Minnesota Duluth
  • UWS – University of Wisconsin-Superior
  • WITC – Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

The Black-eyed Snakes is a Duluth-based band comprised primarily of Brad Nelson, Bob Olson and Alan Sparhawk. The name is often incorrectly rendered without a hyphen (Black Eyed Snakes).

Black Water Lounge is a bar/restaurant in Downtown Duluth. Note that “Black Water” is two words. People screw that up all the time.

Black Woods Grill & Bar is a chain of restaurants with locations in Duluth, Proctor and Two Harbors. Similar to Black Water, people tend to write Black Woods as one word — Blackwoods — but that is just plain wrong.

Carmody Irish Pub is a Downtown Duluth bar often improperly referred to as “Carmody’s.” The bar does not get it’s name from some dude named Carmody, so the shortened name should just be “Carmody.”

Chum is an organization that provides emergency food and shelter programs to homeless and low-income people in Duluth. The name was originally an acronym for “Churches United in Ministry,” but the organization has dropped that name and treats the acronym like a word now.

Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway Co. (abbreviated DM&IR) is the former name of a railroad organization in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin now known as Wisconsin Central Ltd. It is a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway, which acquired it in 2004 from Great Lakes Transportation. The DM&IR name was dropped at the end of 2011, when CN merged it with the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway Co. and the Wisconsin Central. The DM&IR moves Iron Range taconite to Duluth and Two Harbors for shipment to the lower Great Lakes.

Erikson, Leif was a Norse explorer who is regarded as the first European to land in North America. Duluth’s Leif Erikson Park is named in his honor, and contains a statue of his likeness. Although Leif Erikson is the common spelling of his name in Duluth, and is the official spelling of the city park name, numerous variations are in use, such as Leif Ericson, Leif Erickson, Leif Ericsson, Leif Erikson, Leifur Eiricksson and Lsif Erickson. The Old Norse spelling is Leifr Eiríksson.

Gitche Gumee is the generally accepted English spelling for the Ojibwe word Gitchigumi, which means “big water” and commonly refers to Lake Superior. Numerous variations on the spelling exist, particularly “Gitchee” or “Gitchi” for the first part and “Gummee” or “Gummi” for the second.

Gitchigumi is the Ojibwe word for “big water,” generally used to describe Lake Superior.

Gresolon, Daniel, the Sieur Duluth, is the man credited with opening up and claiming for France the area from Michigan to Manitoba. On June 27, 1679, Gresolon landed his canoe at Little Portage on Minnesota Point, where the Duluth Ship Canal is today. He came to meet with Indians and persuade them to trade fur with the French instead of the British. The city of Duluth was named in his honor in 1856. The name Duluth is an Americanization of the official Quebecois spelling, du Luth, rendering it to a single word. There have been numerous spellings of Gresolon’s name in written records over the years. The bronze tablet on his house in Montreal gave the name “Daniel de Gresolon, Sieur Dulhut.” Different historians have rendered the names Grisolon, Gresollon, and most commonly, Greysolon. There is also variation on the spelling of his title, such as “du Lud,” “du Lude,” “du Lhut,” “Dulhut,” “du Luth,” “duLhut,” “Dulhud” or simply “Sir Duluth.” The spelling Gresolon purportedly used himself was “du Luht.” The official rendering of his name, as recorded in the archives of the Province of Quebec, is “Daniel de Gresolon du Luth (duLhut, Dulhud).”

The Keep Aways is a Duluth-based punk rock band. The name is often incorrectly rendered as “The Keepaways.”

Kitchi Gammi Club is a fraternal organization in Duluth comprised of social and business leaders. It is sometimes referred to as “the Kitch.” The name is a bizarre bastardization of the Ojibwe word Gitchigumi.

Mesaba Avenue is the proper name for the street that runs along the western edge of Downtown Duluth and the Central Hillside.

Mesabi Iron Range is the proper name for the largest of four major iron ore deposits in Minnesota’s Iron Range. The Mesabi Range is located primarily in Itasca and St. Louis counties; it was known to the local Ojibwe as Misaabe-wajiw, which means “Giant’s Mountain” or “Big-man’s Mountain.”

Mesabi Range College is a two-year college with campuses in Virginia and Eveleth, named after the Mesabi Iron Range. It was originally named Mesabi Range Community and Technical College; the name was shortened in 2014.

Missabe. See Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway.

Missabe Building is the proper name for the building that stands at 227 W. First St.

NorShor Theatre is the name of Duluth’s historic Art Deco theater, which is awaiting restoration. Because the name “NorShor” is drawn from the words “North Shore,” the name of the theater is often mispelled as “NorShore.” Note also that the proper name uses the British spelling of “theatre.”

Northland is not a real word, nor is it an actual geographic area. Although TV news people and car dealers in the Duluth area tend to use this made-up term frequently, there is no place called the “northland.”

Ojibwe is the common spelling for the American Indian tribe also known as the Chippewa. Alternate spellings include “Ojibwa” and “Ojibway.”

Small, Jerree is a Duluth-based folk singer whose first name is frequently misspelled. If Jerree is someone whom you want to please, remember her name has two Rs and two Es. If you want to identify gender as best you can, don’t assume Jerree is a name that belongs to a man.

Super One Foods is a grocery-store chain owned by Duluth-based Miners, Inc. “Super One” is two words, even though the store logo makes it look like one.

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