(Excerpts from Scions of Cloquet by Jean-Michel Cloquet, 1946, out of print)
I was left for dead at Nopeming sanatorium in 1918, as the Cloquet-Duluth-Moose Lake fire combined with World War I, tuberculosis, and the influenza pandemic just hitting the northland. I’d brought my tuberculosis home with me from the filthy trenches of the Somme. There wouldn’t be an armistice for a month. Reaching Duluth, I was trucked on the dirt road to Nopeming with other infected veterans, fresh off the hospital ship. There we met citizens suffering from the homegrown TB outbreak traced to sewage in Lake Superior. That’s the Duluth I returned to. I’d barely survived overseas, evading German flamethrowers. Some of my trench-mates weren’t so lucky. Now I was barely surviving even though I was stateside, too sick to be properly shell-shocked from the omnipresent global crisis. So they tucked us away 10 miles outside of town in the forest sanatorium. Its name is Ojibwe for “in the woods.” The woods that burned.