Ripsaw Posts

Above & Below: The rise, fall, and rise of the Duluth underground

The July 2004 issue of Twin Cities monthly magazine The Rake included a feature on the Duluth music scene. The Rake existed from 2002 to 2008 and its archives, including the Duluth article, are available online. The text of the now 20-year-old story also appears below, with images from the magazine.

Dunkley’s Celery Compound

Today, John L. Morrison is best known as the publisher of the muckraking Duluth Rip-Saw from 1918 to 1926, but his period of greatest fame occurred before that, when he was employed by the Duluth Evening Herald. Morrison was well-known regionally as a travel writer and nationally as an authority on the Canadian gold-mining regions.

The Assailants of John L. Morrison

One hundred years ago the assailants of Duluth Ripsaw newspaper publisher John L. Morrison appeared in court one week after attacking him in his office. The May 19, 1921 Duluth Herald provides an account of the incident.

City Pages: “Hey, We’re in Duluth!”

Twenty years ago today — Feb. 6, 2001 — City Pages published a cover story on Duluth’s “tiny counterculture.” The Twin Cities alternative weekly paper ceased operations last fall and its online archive is on hiatus, but Perfect Duluth Day is here with the flashback goods.

The Ripsaw’s Demise

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It was Dec. 6, 2005 when the plug was officially pulled on the Ripsaw, Duluth’s experiment with having a newspaper similar to City Pages or Isthmus. It didn’t last long, but it was good while it lasted.

How to Use a Condom / Owner’s Instructions for Rainshow’r Model RS-502


As published in Duluth’s Ripsaw newspaper, Jan. 17, 2001.

Does anyone have pictures or stories from when the Ripsaw was housed in the Temple Opera Building?

I rent and work out of Room 208 in the Temple Opera Building. Legend has it that the Ripsaw was once published out of this office. I’d love to see some photos and hear some stories about those days in this space.

Superior reeks with booze and filth

This headline and illustration are from the August 18, 1917 issue of the Duluth Rip Saw. The story is without a byline, but was no doubt written by the paper’s publisher, John L. Morrison.

From the Ripsaw Archive: April 5, 2000

Ten years ago today, the first weekly issue of the Ripsaw came out. Looking it over this morning, the thing that surprised me is there was a localized crossword puzzle. I had forgotten about that. It only lasted a few months because the guy who did it, Israel Malachi, either got tired of putting it together or left town for a while, I can’t remember which.

Anyway, the puzzle is below. It’s pretty easy, but I’ll follow up with the answer key in the comments tomorrow.

From the Ripsaw Archive | September 1999

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Ten years later, I wonder if anyone noticed that instead of using an image of a dreadlocked rastafarian for this reggae concert ad we just clipped a bunch of clothespins on Barrett.

From the Ripsaw Archive | June 1999


Ten years ago, cartoonist Israel Malachi poked fun at Duluth City Councilor Marcia Hales for pushing an ordinance that made it a ticketable offense to play a car stereo loud enough to be heard 50 feet away.