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Sears Roebuck and Company Posts

Harbor Square: Downtown Duluth’s shopping center on pillars

An important sidebar to the history of Sears, Roebuck & Company in Duluth is the fascinating tale of the shopping-center-on-pillars that wasn’t. A plan was hatched in the late 1970s for Harbor Square, a roughly $70-million, 574,000-sq.-ft. shopping plaza to be built on stilts over Interstate 35 in Downtown Duluth. Failure to lure Sears as an anchor store was a key element that led to the project’s downfall.

R.I.P. Sears, Roebuck and Company of Duluth

Sears, Roebuck and Company’s Downtown Duluth department store; 1963 photo from the Kathryn A. Martin Library’s Northeast Minnesota Historical Collections at UMD.

The news broke this week that Sears Holdings will close 15 Kmart stores and 48 Sears stores, including the Sears at Miller Hill Mall and the Kmart at the Spirit Valley Shopping Center in West Duluth.

Sears has been in business in Duluth since 1929, when Sears, Roebuck and Company opened a department store at 129 E. Superior St., the modern-day location of Fond-du-Luth Casino.