On Feb. 2, 1941, Norwegian ski-jumper Torger Tokle jumped 203 feet at the new 60-meter ski jump at Fond du Lac. He’s shown in images here hitting 197 feet. An estimated 5,000 spectators were in attendance. Duluth hosted the National Ski Jumping Championship the following year.
This undated postcard (probably circa 1905) shows the excursion steamer Newsboy docked on the St. Louis River in Duluth’s Fond du Lac neighborhood. The card was published by the Hugh C. Leighton Company of Portland, Maine, and is brought to you compliments of Clow-Nicholson Transportation Company, with its main office at the foot of Fifth Avenue West.
This undated postcard depicts a replica of the American Fur Company trading post at Fond du Lac, which opened in 1935 at Chambers Grove Park in Duluth’s Fond du Lac neighborhood and was demolished in the late 1960s.
The original fur post operated from 1817 to 1847 at the present-day site of Historical Park, just a bit downstream from Chambers Grove Park along the St. Louis River.
The old Swedish coffee cottage in Duluth’s Fond du Lac neighborhood was featured once before on Perfect Duluth Day in the post “Mystery Photo #16: Holm’s Kaffe Stuga.” It was located on Highway 23 at 123rd Ave. W.
A tavern, off-sale liquor outlet and supper club in Superior Township is under new ownership. John Hartwick purchased the 85-year-old Wabegon bar and grill on April 28 and hit the ground running, only shutting down for half a day to inventory the place. Paul Vernon, who owned the Wabegon for 10 years, held a going away pig roast party the week prior.
The Wabegon is a bit of a geographical oddity. Though it’s located in Wisconsin, roads leading in are through Minnesota, and the vibe of the business is Minnesota through and through. For residents of Duluth’s Fond du Lac neighborhood, it’s the primary gathering place for food and revelry; Superior residents, on the other hand, are barely aware it exists.
Mark in his blue jeans and cowboy boots back flipping off the Fond du Lac Bridge. Each of us following him but never brave enough to flip. Tee holding his breath for as long as he could when he hit, so we’d all run across 23 to hang over the opposite railing and wait for him to come up and shake the water from his black hair. Nearly every kid in the neighborhood soaring and only occasionally thinking of what our mothers said: ok, you know how deep it is. But do you have a map of all the swimming turtles? The tourists stopping to snap pictures of the Flying River Rats. What did we know of pollution? We’d smear the foamy river on our faces and call each other Brown Beard. Yar, we’d yell and plunge again into the water.
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I have friends who love mountains more than rivers and lakes. I don’t trust them.
This 1950’s-era postcard depicts American Fur Company’s trading post at Fond du Lac, now a neighborhood of Duluth. German-born John Jacob Astor founded the company over 200 years ago — precisely April 8, 1808. His post on the St. Louis River sought to capitalize on Ojibwe fur trappers in the area, but the Ojibwe preferred to trade with the French and British, so the venture was a bust in the beginning. After the War of 1812, the United States passed a law excluding foreign traders from operating on U.S. territory, which freed the American Fur Company from its biggest competitors. By 1830, Astor’s company dominated the U.S. fur trade.
This postcard, mailed in July 1914, depicts the steel excursion steamer Columbia cruising the St. Louis River. The best synopsis of the ol’ picnic cruise experience of yesteryear is perhaps the one on the back of the card, where “Aunt Carrie” writes to Miss Virginia Stanbridge of Westminster, Mass. If the message and penmanship seem a little too perfect, take a closer look. It’s a fill-in-the-blank card.
The subject of Fond du Lac’s old Winter Sports Center came up on PDD once before, about a year ago. Earlier this week, I came across this Feb. 4, 1940, Duluth News Tribune clipping at the Duluth Public Library, reporting on construction of the ski jumping hill and amenities.
The floods of 1972 marked the end of this western Duluth attraction, when the ski jump was removed due to erosion.
I know there was a ski jump in the Fond du Lac neighborhood, close to Mission Creek. I’ve been on the trails on that steep hillside and have found a small concrete pad in the woods, pretty close to Mission Creek. Would the ski jump have been near this small pad? Also, on top of the big hill I have found some overgrown, wide trails that almost look like they could’ve been some type of maintenance/service trails for the ski jump. Is this related to the old ski jump?