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West Duluth Posts

Barmuda Triangle

Sure, you’ve heard stories of mysterious and unusual disappearances in West Duluth. What exactly happened to old so-and-so last night? Well, there’s a good chance your friend slipped into the Barmuda Triangle.

West Theater renovation adds second theater property

Duluth Reader publisher and West Theater owner Robert Boone has purchased 321 N. Central Ave., next to his West Theater renovation project. The building, constructed in 1913, is the former Alhambra Theater and most recently housed Interior Tomato, a hydroponic gardening store.

An alternative weekly newspaper publisher currently renovating a West Duluth movie theater has purchased a second historic but mostly forgotten theater adjacent to his current project.

Postcard from Fairmount Park in 1948

This postcard of Duluth’s “municipal zoo,” now known as Lake Superior Zoo, was mailed 70 years ago today — Sept. 8, 1948.

So long, West Duluth Kmart

The Kmart store in my neighborhood closed last weekend. Now there’s a giant empty space in the Spirit Valley Mall in West Duluth, with a faded area above the doors where a sign once read: “Big Kmart.”

It took more than 30 years for the store to run itself out of business, and I’d probably need a degree in finance and a long look inside the books of parent company Sears Holdings Corporation to ever understand. How does a neighborhood’s only department store — a place that’s known for always having lines at the cash registers — go out of business?

The answer to that question might be that retail stores are struggling in general, and any store with massive overhead costs that provides a lousy shopping experience doesn’t stand a chance. And the West Duluth Kmart was a lousy shopping experience.

The lines at Kmart perhaps weren’t due to the high volume of traffic, but instead the understaffing at the store. Target or Wal-Mart might have a dozen checkouts open at once; Kmart seldom had more than two.

Ice Cream Delicacy in West Duluth by Denfeld

I tasted T-Icy Roll Ice Cream yesterday at 4602 Grand Ave., next to an old favorite, Zhong Hua.

Cancer battle pushes sale of iconic West Duluth store

Joel Russell stands outside Central Sales, a surplus store his family has owned for more than 30 years.

An iconic and ruggedly unique surplus store in the heart of West Duluth has been put up for sale as its longtime owner prepares to fight a serious health issue.

Van Vick Paper Box Company of Duluth

The cribbage board above might not have been made in Duluth, but the box it came in was manufactured at 4902 Oneota St. in West Duluth.

Irving Park renovation work starts next week

Construction is ready to begin at Irving Park in West Duluth. A news release from the city’s Parks and Recreation division specifies May 7 as the date KTM Paving, Inc. will launch the first phase of a $1.1-million revitalization plan.

Duluth Store Equipment

The Duluth Show Case Company, doing business as Duluth Store Equipment or simply Duluth Equipment, was a maker of display cabinets using the “Duluth Method” or “Duluth Unit System of Sectional Store Furniture.” Read the ad copy to determine what that might mean.

Kingsbury Bay and Grassy Point Habitat Restoration Project

There’s good news for people who like to geek out with lengthy environmental assessment worksheets and pages upon pages of support documents. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments through April 18 on the EAW for the Kingsbury Bay and Grassy Point Habitat Restoration Project in West Duluth.

The graphic above is an interesting nugget from the documents. It shows aerial views of the Kingsbury Bay area, where Kingsbury Creek enters the St. Louis River estuary near Indian Point Campground. The 1948 version shows a wide open beach; the modern view shows a marshy swamp filled with invasive narrow-leaved cattails.

Mystery Photo #65: Diamonds are Forever … Except in Duluth!

This old photo seems to show striking workers at the Diamond Tool and Horseshoe Company in West Duluth. Or are the workers protesting the closing of the plant? What year was the photo taken? Who is the guy in the foreground crossing the street? There are plenty of questions to be answered in this Perfect Duluth Day Mystery Photo.

Movies could soon return to West Duluth

This graphic from Meyer Group Architecture shows the vision for restoring the West Theater. Image via Robert Boone.

Movies could be returning to West Duluth for the first time in 40 years. Restoration of the former West Theater at 319 Central Ave. is poised to commence according to building owner Robert Boone.

R.I.P. West Duluth Video Vision, Mariner Mall Younkers

Two longtime Twin Ports stores will soon close. Fox 21 reports the West Duluth Video Vision store will close this week. The Duluth News Tribune reports Younkers in Superior’s Mariner Mall will close within 12 weeks.

Irving Fairmount Brownfields Revitalization Plan

The Duluth City Council adopted the Irving Fairmount Brownfields Revitalization Plan on Dec. 11. Irving and Fairmount are sub-neighborhoods of West Duluth.

The video above shows clips from a gathering on Oct. 18 at Loll Designs headquarters marking the completion of the plan.

The planning effort focused on redevelopment of post-industrial sites, infrastructure improvements, creating better connections to the Spirit Valley commercial area and increasing walkability.

Dorothy Arnold Photo Gallery

In tribute to actress Dorothy Arnold — born Dorothy Arnoldine Olson in Duluth 100 years ago today (Nov. 21, 1917) — a gallery or glamorous promotional and press photos. Click any image to see it full size instead of as a thumbnail.