This postcard, mailed in July 1914, depicts the steel excursion steamer Columbia cruising the St. Louis River. The best synopsis of the ol’ picnic cruise experience of yesteryear is perhaps the one on the back of the card, where “Aunt Carrie” writes to Miss Virginia Stanbridge of Westminster, Mass. If the message and penmanship seem a little too perfect, take a closer look. It’s a fill-in-the-blank card.
I was fortunate to spend my first Arrowhead New Years Eve in a cabin in Jay Cooke State Park; bird watching, snow-shoeing, and far from the inebriates (though I did bring a flask). Even photographed a ghost buck (pictured below), warmed by a cedar and oak fire as a soft snow fell to welcome 2016. It was a grand introduction to the St. Louis River.
For the next two weeks Selective Focus will take part in the “One River, Many Stories” project which asks for tales of your relationship to this unique watershed. This week we’re concentrating on the river’s abundant natural beauty; a place for restive contemplation, and awe. Be sure to see the Duluth Art Institute’s kick-off the project on Monday, April 4, with a photo essay by Ivy Vainio, Tom Hollenhorst’s interactive maps, live drumming, and a video booth with PBS’s Karen Sunderman who’ll record your stories.
This is my contribution to the One River, Many Stories project, and is epic as ever. Right here, on this fascinating island within the St. Louis River estuary, a millionaire built a large vacation home and an impressive farm that may have been the largest in the area. Here they harvested 3,500 bushels of wheat in a season, kept pigs, trained numerous racing horses, tended a herd of black angus cows, kept 40 brown swiss milking cows at one time, had 500 sheep, cared for an enormous vegetable garden, and much much more.
This was a quest to uncover remnants of the past and be immersed into an incredible story. What I discovered on kayak, on foot, and by personally meeting the author of the only book on the subject, was most surprising. See more at Ed’s Big Adventure, and perhaps be inspired to see this place for yourself.
Community input is being sought by Duluth’s Parks and Recreation Department to develop mini-master plans for eleven neighborhood parks in the St. Louis River Corridor: Historical, Fond du Lac, Blackmer, Smithville, Riverside, Norton, Keene Creek, Grassy Point, Merritt, Harrison and Piedmont. Preliminary concept plans have been developed for the parks following public meetings held in September and October.
Spirit Mountain’s piping project will draw water from the St. Louis River and pipe it to the lower chalet area where another pumping station will send it into the snow gun system. There are two pumping stations: one at the lower chalet area, the other right next to Tallas Island Bay on the Western Waterfront Trail in the Riverside neighborhood. That is the area these photos were taken.
The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, encompassing land on the Wisconsin side of the St. Louis River designated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to promote research, stewardship and outreach of our freshwater resources, would like to announce its first community event!
Saturday, Sept. 24, is dedicated as National Estuaries Day and the Lake Superior NERR is celebrating by hosting a Kayaking Cook Out on Barkers Island in Superior.
A few weeks ago I was in Chambers Grove Park in far western Duluth when I saw a sign in the corner of the park for the St. Louis River Trail. A few days ago my wife and I returned to investigate it. After hiking a portion of the “trail” it seems that it is not maintained and I can’t find any information about it on the internet.
Anyone out there know about it? Is it even an official trail or did some guy just put the sign up? Is it merely in the planning stages? Whose property does the trail lie on? Minnesota Power’s? All I can say is that the walking was pleasant. Most of the “trail” followed an old rail line and there were many utility poles that had been cut down along the corridor. There is also the remains of an old railroad trestle at the point where we turned around.
If anyone has any more information about the St. Louis River Trail, it would be appreciated by this hiking enthusiast. I put a more detailed trip report up here: