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Fond du Lac Posts

Wabegon bar and grill has new owner

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.

Some Notes on the St. Louis

Ryan Vine - Saturday EssayMark 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.

American Fur Trading Post at Fond du Lac, 1826

American Fur Trading Post at Fond du Lac 1826

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeThis 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.

Steamer Columbia on St. Louis River near Fond du Lac

StLouisRiverSteamerColumbiaNearFondduLac

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeThis 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.