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St. Louis River Posts

Video Archive: Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad

This weekend (tentatively) the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad begins its 37th season of running 90-minute tours along the St. Louis River. This historical documentary was produced in 1983.

“One River” on the road

oneriverprodphoto1_5x7The cast and crew of UMD Theatre‘s One River play are in Des Moines this week for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Region V competition. One River will be performed four times in two days during the festival. Written by UMD Theatre Professor Tom Isbell, the show is one of six productions selected to compete in the six-state event.

Over the past 30 years, UMD Theatre has been selected 12 times to present at the KCACTF Regionals and has been chosen five times to perform at the National Festival held at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. As of 2011, productions no longer compete at the National Festival level.

Morgan Park housing development secures cleanup grant

KuepersThe St. Louis River corridor will see a $10 million, 67-unit, market-rate rental housing development thanks in part to a contamination cleanup grant.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced last week it will award the Duluth Economic Development Authority $654,051 to advance the vision of Kuepers Inc. of Brainerd in constructing nine additional single-family housing units to accompany its two 29-unit buildings in western Duluth.

Kuepers is completing construction on its Grand Avenue Estates project at 9215 Zimmerly Ave., near Stewart Creek on the northern edge of the Morgan Park neighborhood.

Celtic Thunder on the St. Louis River

celtic-thunderThe Irish singing group Celtic Thunder was in Duluth on Sept. 27 for a performance at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center‘s Symphony Hall. While in town, members of the ensemble spent a little time on the St. Louis River with help from Swiftwaters Adventures, which offers guided rafting and kayaking trips.

St. Louis River Estuary National Water Trail Master Plan (Draft)

nwt-master-plan-report-draft-2016Duluth’s Parks and Recreation division is inviting the public to comment on a revised draft of the St. Louis River Estuary National Water Trail Master Plan. The plan seeks to recognize “one of the world’s largest freshwater estuaries as a premier paddle destination that targets a wide range of skill and interest levels,” according to a news release. “The rich history of this river as a significant waterway for Native Americans and Voyageurs and as a working river serving the twin ports of Duluth and Superior, combined with the expansive natural resources surrounding the estuary, provide a tremendous opportunity to showcase this amazing resource to the community.”

The draft plan was created during a nine-month planning process. It will be open for comment until Oct. 28. A revised plan will be presented to the Parks Commission on Nov. 9.

Entering the story, painting the dump gray, and the last chicken

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This is why I think you should go see the production of One River, happening at UMD’s Marshall Performing Arts Center each night this week until Friday. My experience relayed here might be a bit self-centered, especially the comparison to another touching moment when our dog died in my arms recently, but this is how I was affected by these remarkable young actors. Now I can see the power theater has to really touch the heart. Read more at Ed’s Big Adventure.

Some Notes on the St. Louis

Ryan Vine - Saturday EssayMark in his blue jeans and cowboy boots back flipping off the Fond du Lac Bridge. Each of us following him but never brave enough to flip. Tee holding his breath for as long as he could when he hit, so we’d all run across 23 to hang over the opposite railing and wait for him to come up and shake the water from his black hair. Nearly every kid in the neighborhood soaring and only occasionally thinking of what our mothers said: ok, you know how deep it is. But do you have a map of all the swimming turtles? The tourists stopping to snap pictures of the Flying River Rats. What did we know of pollution? We’d smear the foamy river on our faces and call each other Brown Beard. Yar, we’d yell and plunge again into the water.

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I have friends who love mountains more than rivers and lakes. I don’t trust them.

St. Louis River Story: Sheila Packa

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgePeople in the St. Louis River watershed shared their connection to the river with WDSE-TV during the opening reception for The St. Louis River: Diverse Connections at the Duluth Art Institute. In this installment, Sheila Packa shares her poem “St. Louis River Route.”

The Old Riverside Store & Auditorium

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OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeThe large, weathered building on the corner of Industrial Avenue and Spring Street in Duluth’s Riverside neighborhood is a bit of a curiosity. Does someone live there? Is it basically a storage building? What was it constructed for?

The “One River, Many Stories” community journalism project in April seemed like a good excuse to track down some answers. The owner of the building, Douglas J. McEneany, did not respond to requests for an interview, but searches at the Duluth Public Library for historical data were fruitful.

Oliver Bridge Flyover

‎Adam Jagunich took his Q500 out on a windy day to capture scenes around the Oliver Bridge on the St. Louis River.

St. Louis River Story: Stephan Witherspoon

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgePeople in the St. Louis River watershed shared their connection to the river with WDSE-TV during the opening reception for The St. Louis River: Diverse Connections at the Duluth Art Institute. In this installment, Stephan Witherspoon talks about his family catching “a big garbage bag full of catfish” on the St. Louis River.

Commerce on the River: Superior Packaging Company

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OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeTom Franta started Superior Packaging Company in 1994 in his hometown of Minnetonka. Eventually he moved the business to Superior, where he was able to get his foot in the door with many companies by cold calling. The company’s product, called dunnage, or damage prevention, consists of materials that are placed in domestic and international shipping containers or boxcars to prevent damage to inventory by restraining any excess space.

SPC supplies companies such as Kikkoman, Del Monte and Seneca foods. Franta recalls his humble roots in his then-partner’s parents’ garage with no heat, using the alleyway to roll paper tubes to make packaging supplies and gluing them to cardboard to make pallets by hand. Today, Superior Packaging Company uses machines to do what he once did by hand. The company moved to its present location in West Duluth 15 years ago, when a larger facility was needed. This location is convenient for SPC as most shipping is done using common carriers on the highway.

Video: Jay Cooke Park Swinging Gate Bridge in 1939

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeQuoth the Minnesota State Parks and Trails Facebook page: “The spring ritual of visiting the Swinging Bridge at Jay Cooke State Park during high water has been around since the bridge was built in 1924. This rare 1939 video shows a family bravely crossing the river before the bridge is damaged by high water. Since it was built, the bridge has been raised seven and a half feet to try to stay above the floods. Unfortunately, mother nature doesn’t always cooperate. Today’s visitors are crossing Swinging Bridge number five!”

For the history of the swinging bridge, visit dnr.state.mn.us.

Swinging Gate Bridge at Jay Cooke Park 1920s Swinging Bridge 1920s

Postcards from the many beauty spots on the St. Louis River

One of the many beauty spots on St. Louis River between Duluth-Superior Harbor and Fond du Lac

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeAs the One River, Many Stories project draws to a close, PDD presents the remaining St. Louis River postcards from the dusty digital archive. See the recommended links at the end of this post to check out more St. Louis River postcards.

Improved habitat boosts lake sturgeon recovery in St. Louis River

Jeramy Pinkerton and Anna Varian of DNR fisheries hold the largest sturgeon ever sampled in the St Louis River.The sturgeon, 65 inches long and about 53 pounds, was captured April 20, implanted with an acoustic transmitter and PIT tag and released.

Jeramy Pinkerton and Anna Varian of DNR fisheries hold the largest sturgeon ever sampled in the St Louis River. The sturgeon, 65 inches long and about 53 pounds, was captured April 20, implanted with an acoustic transmitter and PIT tag and released.

OneRiverMN-Logo-FC-BadgeFollowing years of clean water improvements and habitat projects, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports that lake sturgeon are returning to the St. Louis River in larger numbers. DNR fisheries staff are embarking on a new research project to study the growing numbers and learn more about how these long-lived, native species use the river and Lake Superior throughout the year.