On April 5, 1921 — one hundred years ago today — Samuel Frisby Snively was elected mayor of Duluth. He held the office for four terms spanning 16 years. Duluth has had two three-term mayors who served for 12 years, John Fedo and Gary Doty.
This advertisement in the March 29, 1921 Duluth Herald promotes the reopening of the Commercial Cafe at 10 N. 20th Ave. W. in what is now Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The location is probably where DLH Clothing is operating a retail store today, although all businesses in that building use the address 12 N. 20th Ave. W.
The top half of the graphic above is from a real estate advertisement in the Oct. 22, 1920 edition of the Duluth Herald, promoting lots on 43rd Avenue West near Eighth Street in West Duluth. The bottom half is an attempt to capture the modern perspective via Google Maps. In the modern view, trees block three of the four homes shown in the 1920 view, but one of them can been seen and the other three, though not in view, are still standing.
According to an article in the Sept. 22, 1920 Duluth Herald, the combination of potatoes and molasses in a home brew can be “quite potent.” The paper notes that Anthony Fiskett, Duluth’s acting chief of police at the time, might have needed to have his headquarters fumigated after hauling in an evidential keg of the pungent concoction.
One hundred years ago the Stewart Shoe Company was on its way out and American Bakery Company was on its way in at 324 N. Central Ave. in West Duluth. The building there was constructed in 1894 and today is occupied by Wussow’s Concert Cafe, which opened under the name Beaner’s Central in 1999.
The Duluth Public Library’s Vintage Duluth blog has published a feature on Duluth’s North Star Festival and Golden Jubilee, which took place 100 years ago. The events marked Duluth’s 50th year as a city.
There seems to be a gardening boom in 2020, obviously due to more people staying home during the pandemic. West Duluth has a bit of a reputation for having had numerous gardens a century ago that slowly petered out in more recent decades. According to an article in the Aug. 7, 1920 Duluth Herald, gardening in West Duluth got a big boost from the neighborhood’s commercial club.
One hundred years is a long time, and the Duluth of one hundred years ago can seem like a place without much connection to the present. But whether we are aware of them or not, elements of the past always carry over into the present. As an illustration of that, these five images, taken by Duluth photographer Hugh McKenzie and included in UMD’s Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections, show the city’s neighborhood telephone exchanges in 1920. Shown individually below, they are followed by the most recent Google Streetview image of the same location.
From Feb. 23 to March 25 of 1920 the Duluth Herald newspaper published a daily fact about Duluth on its front page. Some are pretty interesting, some are kind of silly. All in all, it’s a fun snapshot of what Duluth was bragging about a century ago.