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Mystery Photos Posts

Mystery Photo #52: The homely mugs of Ella and Dave

This postcard photo of a couple perhaps from or visiting Duluth appears to have never been mailed, though it is addressed to Mrs. F. Welch of Eau Galle, Wis. On the back of the card, in the upper left corner, are presumably the names of the photo subjects, Ella and Dave. Their last name is faded out, but clearly the final three letters are s-o-n.

Mystery Photo #51: Lakeside Reunion

Lakeside-Reunion-1961-

Usually with the “Mystery Photos” series we know very little about the featured image at the start and learn a variety of details after publishing it. In this case we know a lot going in, but one detail is missing.

Mystery Photo #50: Children racing at Bayfront Park

Bayfront

The fundamentals of what’s happening in this old photo are fairly simple. It’s obviously shot at Bayfront Festival Park in the days of the old yellow canvas tarp-covered stage, prior to the 2001 construction of the 76-foot-tall steel-canopy pavilion that stands today. And clearly the image shows kids running a race.

So the mysteries are: What race is this? Can we zero in on a date or are we limited to the vague guess that it’s the mid 1990s?

Mystery Photo #49: Women and Children First

Gust Landin Photography

The back of this postcard credits Gust Landin, a photographer who operated out of 24 N. 21st. Ave. W. in Duluth’s friendly West End neighborhood, with shooting this image.

The main question here is, what’s going on in this century-old photo? Why have a bunch of ladies in dresses lined up with a row of children in front of them at what we can assume is some Duluth location? Who are they? We’ll probably never know for sure.

Mystery Photo #48: Superior Street and Lake Avenue circa 1998

electric-fetus-1996

Where are you now, Danny Tanner?

This image is from a postcard printed by the College of St. Scholastica featuring photography by student Danny Tanner. Searching the internet to determine if Danny Tanner is still involved in photography is a bit complex; it turns out Danny Tanner is the name of a character on the television sitcom Full House, which had recently wrapped up its eight-season run around the same time the real Danny Tanner was doing his thing on Superior Street.

Although the date the photo was shot and date the postcards were printed are unknown, this one is postmarked Nov. 2, 1998. In the background are the Electric Fetus store, Strand Theater and a Duluth Transit Authority bus headed to New Duluth.

Mystery Photo #47: The Science Museum

science-museum

The Science Museum of Minnesota moved out of the St. Paul Auditorium and into the Merriam Mansion on Capitol Hill in 1927. It remained there until 1964, when it moved into the St. Paul-Ramsey Arts and Sciences Center. The final move came in 1999, when a new facility opened adjacent to the Mississippi River.

Mystery Photo #46: Duluth-area Bowling Alley

duluth-bowling

From the depths of my wife’s closet comes this old photo from her family collection, presumably shot at a Duluth-area bowling alley roughly 50 or 60 years ago. Since we’re talking about a West Duluth family, Stadium Lanes would be the number one contender. Whatever bowling alley it is, it’s likely to have been remodeled and then closed since this photo was taken, so this might be a tough solve.

Mystery Photo #45: Dr. Jern

dr-jern-of-duluth-mn-1910

Well, there he is, Dr. Jern, standing on a porch in Duluth way back in 1910. Who is Dr. Jern? Is that house still standing? These are the mysteries we hope to unravel.

Mystery Photo #44: A Handsome Home

duluth-pic-mystery

Next to nothing is known about this photo, other than the claim it was shot in Duluth. Does this handsome home still exist? Does anyone recognize it? Who are these people and what are they doing?

Mystery Photo #43: Does anyone know which old bar this was?

the-mystery-bar

This picture was originally posted on the Duluthians of Zenith Facebook page. So far, the Pickwick and Spalding Hotel have been eliminated. The poster figures it must be a bar in the Duluth area because it’s stamped with a Duluth Photographers name on the back. Someone in the thread recommended posting it here because you guys know everything there is to know.

Mystery Photo #42: SS Columbia of Duluth

excursion-steamer-columbia

This postcard image bears the ink stamp of the Russell Photo Co. of Fond du Lac, Minn. on the back, along with a handwritten note: “The ‘Columbia’ of Duluth, Minn.” There have been numerous S.S. Columbia’s throughout the world, but this one seems likely to be the same as the one profiled on Zenith City Online, which was launched in 1885 as the Mascotte. There are numerous physical differences between the ship in the image shown there and the one shown here, but the article notes “in 1912 Duluth’s Clow & Nicholsen purchased the vessel, lengthened it by over thirty feet, and renamed it Columbia.” If they are the same SS Columbia, why do both images (presumably before and after the redesign of the ship) bear the name Columbia and neither Mascotte?

Mystery Photo #41: Family Portrait from the Zweifel Studio

portrait-of-a-family-by-zweifel-circa-1930

Quick internet searches indicte either John or Joshua R. Zweifel was a Duluth-based photographer from the very late 1800s to the mid 1900s, with a few different offices on West Superior Street and in the Phoenix Building. Who are the round-faced darlings in the photo? Well, that’s the Hail Mary pass being thrown here for the hell of it, just to see if anyone can figure it out.

Mystery Photo #40: New Duluth Bus and Drivers

DTA Bus 1962 New Duluth

This photo popped up on Pinterest a while back. It’s dated 1962. Photographer unknown.

Duluth’s first diesel buses began operating in 1957 under the auspices of the Duluth-Superior Transit Company. The Duluth Transit Authority was created in 1969, so one could say the bus in the photo above is a DTA before there was a DTA.

Can anyone name any of the drivers?

Mystery Photo #39: Old 708

Old-708

A train rolls through western Duluth. Year unknown. Photographer unknown. The number on the train is 708. Anyone have insight?

Mystery Photos #36-38: Three Women

Minnesota Real Photo Postcard Mrs. Mohler Studio Portrait young-woman Thiel - Engalls Block Duluth

One day you’re glamorous enough for a fancy Duluth studio portrait; one-hundred years later, no one knows who you are.

At least the photo on the left comes with half of a name: “Mrs. Mohler.” Other than that, what you see is what you get for clues. Anyone who recognizes one of these women or can provide further details will be declared winner of the internet for a day.