Mystery Photos Posts

Mystery Photo #139: Three Men in Caps

Anyone who wants to delve into the difference between a flat cap and a newsboy cap and a bakerboy cap and on and on can feel free to do so, but the main mysteries we seek to solve are who these three gentlemen might be and whether they were Duluthians.

Mystery Photos #137-138: Mr. and Mrs. Peter Anderson

Someone was kind enough to write the names of these love birds on their photos and keep them together. But who are Mr. and Mrs. Peter Anderson?

Mystery Photos #131-136: The Duluth Polka Dots?

This contact print of photo negatives comes from Ben Marsen, who many years ago acquired a collection of negatives of scenes from around Duluth. (See Mystery Photo #125 for more info on that.)

Marsen doubts he still has the negatives, so we have to squint a bit and work from the contact strip. Who are these musicians?

Mystery Photo #130: Going Some

Going some? Huh? What is that supposed to mean? Seems like a weird name for a fake boat.

The back of this postcard photo indicates it was shot at the Owl Studio, 10 E. Superior. St., next to Duluth’s Empress Theatre. Estimated year: 1912.

Mystery Photo #129: Trolley Car and Conductors

This undated postcard photo of two conductors standing next to a trolley car comes with a few details. The trolley car has a destination sign that reads: “W. Dul. & Aerial Bridge.” And the word “Duluth” is handwritten on the back of the card.

Mystery Photo #128: Duluth Residence in 1910

Based on the postmark and the last line of the scrawled message on the back, we might presume this image is of a Duluth house in 1910. What is the address? Is it still standing? Let the mystery solving begin.

Mystery Photo #127: Miss Victoria Benson

Often we don’t know who is the subject of these old studio photos, but this time it’s written on the back. So we know this is Marie Victoria Benson of 2801 W. Second St. in Duluth’s friendly West End. (Or is it 2301?) She later became Mrs. Edward Cluett.

Mystery Photo #126: Twin ‘Tin Man’ Water Towers

The harbor looks busy in this vintage photo for sale at the Superior Salvation Army

I found this framed photo with an unusual view of the Duluth Harbor and Aerial Lift Bridge at the Superior Salvation Army last weekend. It’s signed by Tim Slattery.

Lots of questions about this picture: Was the photo taken from a structure or from an airplane? Can anyone identify the three (!) ships in the port? What jumped out to me were the twin “tin man” water towers on the hill above the bridge. Where were they located and when were they taken down?

Mystery Photo #125: A&E Supply

Back when he was a student at East High School, Ben Marsen acquired a collection of photo negatives of scenes from around Duluth. The one above appears to have been shot on the 200 block of West Michigan Street, maybe where the rear entrances to R.T. Quinlan’s Saloon and Minnesota Surplus are located today — the proper addresses being 220 and 218 W. Superior St.

Mystery Photo #124: Owl Studio

The back of this postcard photo indicates it was shot at the Owl Studio, 10 E. Superior. St., next to Duluth’s Empress Theatre. It’s the same address as the Wide Awake Studio, which was featured in a previous Mystery Photo.

Mystery Photo #123: Duluth Public Library Reading Room

At one time for sale on Amazon, but now marked “currently unavailable,” is this photo labeled “Reading Room, Duluth Public Library, 1890-1930, Minnesota, MN, Chairs, People, Books.”

Mystery Photo #122: La La

Yes, it’s another car-prop photo from either the Post Card Shop in Minneapolis or the Penny Arcade in Duluth.

Mystery Photo #121: Buggy Boys

A recurring source of confusion in the Mystery Photo series is whether particular images that share the stamp of the Post Card Shop in Minneapolis and the Penny Arcade in Duluth were shot in Minneapolis or Duluth. Here is another such image.

Mystery Photo #120: Another from Cook Ely

This image from the Ely Studio of Duluth comes to Perfect Duluth Day via Neal Eisenberg, a native Duluthian.

Mystery Photos #118 and #119: Gals at H. Mathieson Studio

Many early studio photographers around Duluth printed their photographs on flowery pre-printed cabinet cards, often with their names prominently displayed. Often the name of the person photographed is lost to history, but we can easily locate the photographer in the records more than 100 years later.

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