West Duluth Posts

Then and Now: Looking Down 43rd Avenue West

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.

Stewart Shoe Company of West Duluth

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.

West Duluth Gardens of 1920

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.

Jade Fountain tiki bar opens Aug. 7

The new Jade Fountain tiki bar has its grand opening scheduled for Friday, Aug. 7, at 7 p.m. The space will be limited to 50 patrons at a time due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Drinks will be pre-made for additional safety.

Duluth Cross City Trail 2020 Update: Segment 2 nearly complete

The River Route segment of Duluth’s Cross City Trail has been under construction this summer in West Duluth. It should be paved and ready for bicyclists in a matter of weeks.

Classic photos of Lake Superior Zoo and Kingsbury Creek

The Duluth Zoo’s white stucco restroom facilities circa 1923. Photo by Hugh McKenzie.

Duluth’s municipal zoo opened in 1923 after the city council gave a small piece of land to print-shop owner Bert Onsgard and hired him as zookeeper. He was paid $1 per year for tending to a white-tailed deer and a few native birds. The zoo would eventually expand to cover 16 acres of land surrounding Kingsbury Creek in Fairmount Park, and hold hundreds of animals from around the world.

Mystery Photo #117: Fourth of July Parade in West Duluth

The written caption tells us pretty much everything we need to know, except for one critical thing: What year was this?

Iconic Jade Fountain will see new life in West Duluth

Kai Soderberg stands outside the Jade Fountain restaurant at 305 N. Central Ave. in West Duluth. Soderberg is leasing the space where he will open a tiki bar this summer. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

A long-running and largely unchanged Chinese restaurant — which closed for almost five years — will be reborn under new ownership as a tiki lounge when nightlife returns to normal in Duluth.

Ripped at the Kom-on-Inn in 2000

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. Twenty years ago he visited the Kom-on-Inn in West Duluth and published this report for the April 5, 2000 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper.]

Granted, it does not take much to amaze me, but when I entered the Kom-on-Inn my spine just about shot out of the top of my head. I had always been under the impression that the Kom-on-Inn was a boring bar that was empty most of the time. But nothing could be further from the truth. It was … I don’t even know where to begin, so let me just walk you through the place.

First of all, it is important to know that everyone—every last person in the bar—was smoking a cigarette. I am not exaggerating when I say it was difficult to see across the room. At the very back of the bar, where I came in, a bunch of Tommy Boys talked on cellular telephones and shot pool with heavily hair-sprayed and lip-linered girls drinking bottles of Mountain Dew. Apparently they were stationed there to give newcomers like me the wrong impression of the place, for just past them, everything became drastically different.

After months lying in wait, Boreal House open in West Duluth

Katie Fast, left, and Julie LaTourelle stand outside their new drinking establishment last summer, before remodeling work began. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

Duluthians Katie Fast and Julie LaTourelle will open the doors to West Duluth’s newest drinking establishment at 3 p.m. today. The Boreal House at 330 N. 57th Ave. W. sits adjacent to the neighborhood’s oldest drinking establishment, the Kom-on-Inn.

R.I.P. Merritt Park Recreation Center Building

This week the field house at Merritt Park joined the growing list of historic West Duluth buildings demolished in recent years. The 2,016-square foot building was constructed in 1939.

The Slice: Tom Napoli’s Tortoise and Hare Mural

Artist Tom Napoli recreates Duluth on the side of the Tortoise and Hare Footwear store in West Duluth.

In its series The Slice, WDSE-TV presents short “slices of life” that capture the events and experiences that bring people together and speak to what it means to live up north.

West Duluth bar scene adding Boreal House

Katie Fast, left, and Julie LaTourelle stand outside 330 N. 57th Ave. W. The two women purchased the former home of RJ’s Coffee Den and plan to open a new bar in West Duluth. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

Two women plan to open a new bar later this fall in a West Duluth neighborhood that boasts some of the oldest drinking establishments in the city.

Katie Fast and Julie LaTourelle, operating as K & J Industries LLC, recently purchased the former RJ’s Coffee Den at 330 N. 57th Ave. W. The century-old building is being remodeled and is expected to reopen as the Boreal House in late November.

Beaner’s Central becomes Wussow’s Concert Cafe

West Theater struggles through restoration, opens June 21

Work on the West Theater marquee continued on June 19, two days ahead of a grand opening event.

The West Theater looked nothing like its movie palace glory days when Duluth Reader publisher Bob Boone bought the building in 2016.

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