West Duluth Posts

West Duluth theater project moves forward, seeks city loan

The Alhambra Theater sits just to the east of the West Theatre on Central Avenue in West Duluth (Photos by Mark Nicklawske)

A long-lost vaudeville theater renovation gained ground this week when city officials authorized grant money to fund a business loan for the West Duluth entertainment district project.

The Duluth Economic Development Authority approved a $150,000 grant Jan. 25 to the city of Duluth 1200 Fund for restoration work at the Alhambra Theater, 321 N. Central Ave. The move allows the 1200 Fund to loan building owner Paladin Properties LLC a total of $200,000 for project completion.

Mystery Photo: Duluth Home Builders

Who are they? Where are they? When was this? The only clues come from a few scribbles on the back of the photo.

Exploring Santa Fe U.S. Mail Railway Post Car 57

Duluth Urbex takes a peek inside an abandoned railway post-office car in West Duluth.

Mystery Photo: 1962 State and Sectional Champs

This photo was acquired at the Ellefson Estate Sale in the Upper Cody part of West Duluth in 2019. It shows a youth baseball team with players wearing different jerseys, suggesting perhaps it’s an all-star squad or the team had multiple sponsors. The sponsor names on the shirts are: Kelley Duluth, City Bottling, YOT (Young Old Timers), Gately’s, West Arrow Chevrolet, Moose 1478 … and one looks like it might be M&J Super Value (the bottom word is blocked by the players forearms). Two jerseys are plain white; those players have an M on their caps while the other players have caps with no lettering.

The writing on the back of the photo gives the biggest clue: “1962 State & Sectional Champs.” But the names of the players and coaches are lost to history unless a nerd or two step up and solve the mysteries.

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 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.

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