West Duluth Posts

A look at the two-level infill house in West Duluth

Enter, a digital biweekly publication from the creators of Architecture MN magazine, takes a look at “a new prototype for building affordable houses on narrow lots in Duluth.”

Postcard from a Scene in Fairmount Park

This postcard depicts a scene in Fairmount Park where Kingsbury Creek flows under the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway bridge in West Duluth. It’s not clear if the postcard predates the 1923 opening of the Duluth Zoo, now the Lake Superior Zoo, just downstream of the location shown. The bridge is still there, now part of the DWP multi-use trail.

Sledding Duluth’s Avenues in 1921

One hundred years ago there were far fewer cars on Duluth’s streets, but it was still considered dangerous to sled down the city’s steep avenues. So Duluth Police Chief Warren E. Pugh surveyed the city and selected a few recommended avenues that posed “the least danger to life and limb,” according to the Duluth Herald of Nov. 22, 1921.

Kingsbury Creek has a new bridge, snowmobile trail restored

The bridge over Kingsbury Creek in West Duluth that was washed away in the Historic Summer Solstice Flood Disaster of 2012 has been replaced. The snowmobile route that runs across the bridge and snakes through the hillside south of Interstate 35, roughly from Keane Creek to Knowlton Creek, has also been restored after years of neglect. The lost ridgeline snowmobile route is part of the St. Louis River Corridor snowmobile trail system and links to the Hermantown trail system.

Duluth’s Parks and Recreation Division and the Hermantown Night Riders are hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the bridge on Dec. 17.

Postcard from the Central Motel in West Duluth

This postcard of the Central Motel was mailed Sept. 20, 1956 — 65 years ago today. The address, 24 N. Central Ave., is now greenspace across Main Street from Irving Park. The land is controlled by the idled Duluth paper mill, which was sold by Verso Corporation in May to ST Paper.

Mystery Photo: Mr. & Mrs. Burchell

From the back of this cabinet card photo we know the subjects are Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Burchell or Burehell, married Aug. 26, 1891. They were also presumably residents of West Duluth. The photo is from the Downtown Duluth studio of John R. Zweifel.

Postcard from Bethany Children’s Home in 1916

This handsome structure at 4000 W. Ninth St. was originally the home of Alfred and Jane Merritt. They sold it to the Swedish Lutheran Church of West Duluth the same year this postcard was mailed, 1916, and it became an orphanage. The home was destroyed by fire on Oct. 10, 1920.

Postcard from the Alger-Smith Sawmill

This postcard was mailed 100 years ago today — July 29, 1911. By then the Alger-Smith Sawmill in West Duluth had been dismantled following a decade-long decline in the sawmilling industry.

Anyone with a century-old garage in West Duluth likely owns scraps of the Alger-Smith mill. “There must be 100 garages in West Duluth that have been built this summer out of lumber taken during the process of dismantling,” the company’s president told the Duluth Herald in a story that appeared in the Sept. 22, 1920 edition. “Every day or two some person inquires for the lumber, and when we ask him what it is for he says, ‘A garage.’ Our lumber must have built almost all of the garages in West Duluth this summer.”

West Duluth’s Allyndale Motel circa 1971

Allyndale Motel

The Allyndale Motel has been in operation at 510 N. 66th Ave. W. since 1952. The backside of the postcard image above boasts the motel’s features circa the 1970s: “Overlooking Duluth – Free TV – Room Phones – Tubs and Showers – Large Units – Individually controlled Hot Water Heat.”

Charlie Parr-king Lot

Charlie Parr performed in the parking lot outside Wussow’s Concert Cafe during Pete Fest Tuesday night, playing his unique brand of Dumpster blues. The festival continues through Saturday.

The Slice: Tour of Murals at the Kom-on-Inn

The interior of the Kom-on-Inn in West Duluth is surrounded with Arthur Fleming’s oil paintings of industry that stretched across the city in the 1950s. The building at 332 N. 57th Ave. W. was constructed in 1891 according to St. Louis County land records and the bar took the name Kom-on-Inn circa 1942 under the proprietorship of Frank M. Crotty according to city directories.

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 kids rarely strayed from neighborhood in 1920s

An article in the Duluth Herald of April 28, 1921 — one hundred years ago today — calls attention to how western Duluth kids seldom ventured to the center of town, much less to the eastern side.

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.

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