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West Duluth Posts

We Just Left Her There to Die Alone

When I was a little idiot West Duluth kid in the early 1980s there were many constructive things for juvenile brats to do. Fighting or just generally acting tough was probably the number one pastime, followed by hanging out on the railroad tracks and throwing taconite pellets at each other. When that got boring there were always guns and wrist rockets to load with those pellets.

We also enjoyed riding our bikes to the market, stealing things and breaking them, listening to satanic heavy-metal music and verbally assaulting each other with complete insensitivity. You know, normal kid stuff.

There were also a few wholesome American activities weaved into the fabric of our youth. My friends and I liked to play sports and various chasing games like “Capture the Flag” and “Tin-can Alley.”

All of it really just falls into the category of fighting, though. Strength, speed, agility or physical force-of-will would generally determine the victor in any contest, and if it didn’t there would be an argument about it so the tougher kid could still come out on top. Since the element of strategy was always loosely involved, however, the winner could claim both physical and intellectual dominance. It was a pretty good way to establish and constantly reinforce a pecking order among the boys, but more than that it was an excellent way for the boys to prove how much better they were than the girls. Or so it seemed.

Selective Focus: Makers Mercantile

A new shop has opened in West Duluth’s Spirit Valley area selling locally made goods. Makers Mercantile will host its Grand Opening on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 3 to 7 p.m. Owners Sara and Scott Clifton talk about opening and what they see for the future of the shop.

M.M.: Scott and I moved up to Duluth for college, and it didn’t take long for us to feel right at home. We love the people, the businesses, and everything the beautiful North Shore has to offer. We are creators and dreamers. Through observations and many discussions around the dinner table, our crafting ideas moved beyond creating products ourselves into creating a platform for local makers. We love the creativity and craftsmanship in our region, but started noticing that locally made goods were more difficult to find than expected, unless you went to a craft show or knew a specific maker to buy from. This observation spurred on an idea — to combine the values of handcrafted and local. We spent the last few years mulling over this idea, and decided this past winter to start pursuing it. Makers Mercantile just opened, and it is all about local, handmade goods.

DuluthiLeaks: Historic Bridge Report for DM&IR Ore Dock No. 5

How historically significant is West Duluth’s old ore dock and its viaduct and bridges? The Minnesota Department of Transportation retained the consultant team of LHB, Mead & Hunt and 106 Group to produce a multi-purpose study in 2014 that was part of a more comprehensive process involving numerous agencies looking at 140 historic bridges. Part of the goal of the “Local Historic Bridge Report” for the “DM&IR Ore Dock No. 5 Approach” was to gather historical information should the property owner — Canadian National Railway — wish to request a nomination be prepared for the National Register of Historic Places.

For the third edition of DuluthiLeaks — Perfect Duluth Day’s feature in which public documents are released as if they contain secret information leaked from an anonymous whistle blower — we peak into a study of four steel-beam bridges that are part of the mile-long approach to DM&IR Ore Dock No. 5.

Video Archive: Denfeld Class of 1992

Break out the Aqua Net and backward baseball caps, we’ve dug 25 years deep into the video vault to bring you a little “DHS VHS.” Yes, it’s the full and glorious one-hour and 13 minutes of the clumsily titled Duluth Denfeld Senior High School Class of ’92 Senior Class Video, compiled by Cyborg Productions of Prior Lake, Minn.

West Duluth’s Alhambra Theater

West Duluth has three former theater buildings — the West, Doric and Alhambra. Of the three, the Alhambra is by far the least known.

Postcard from Central Avenue and Ramsey Street

The undated postcard above depicts the long-ago view facing south on Central Avenue from Ramsey Street. The modern image below references the same location, showing the Gopher Lounge parking lot, Denton Law Office, Beaner’s Central, Zenith Bookstore and Central Sales, along with a pair of obscured vacant buildings on the east side, and Pioneer National Bank and several other obscured buildings on the west side. Happy Spirit Valley Days!

Zenith Bookstore opens July 1 in West Duluth

A year-long quest to launch a shop selling new and “gently used” books is almost complete. Zenith Bookstore will open for business July 1 in the former Wild West Liquor building at 318 N. Central Ave. in West Duluth. Perfect Duluth Day first reported about the store’s development in September.

Gopher Lounge Photos Circa 1995

Take a step back in time and view some of the friendly faces at West Duluth’s Gopher Lounge during the mid 1990s. Some of these folks are long departed; others still prowl the area of Ramsey Street and Central Avenue in search of porcupine meatballs.

Birth of a Blog: Back-to-Back Mornings at Duluth Coffee Spots

Cup of MudIt was probably midwinter when I decided on starting a blog. But as with most things, I hadn’t felt enough motivational surge to pull the trigger and actually do it. With the coming of spring I finally found the well and pumped myself up for back-to-back mornings at two of my favorite hometown hangouts. On the hunt for good vibes, yummy breakfast food, the world wide web and a cup (or three) of coffee, my plan was to spend the majority of both days two-fold: putting together a website and taking photos in anticipation of somehow capturing the weekend in a blog to gain some much needed content.

Old English radio spot from 1943

Via WDSE-TV, enjoy the sounds of this Old English 600 ad. Peoples Brewery in West Duluth developed the recipe for Old English 600 in the 1940s. The company sponsored a radio show with old-time music and several pitches for Regal Supreme Beer and Old English 600 Malt Liquor.

The documentary Brew North follows the boom, bust and rebirth of brewing in the Arrowhead region. The premiere broadcast is on Monday, March 6.

R.I.P. Farmer Hank

STRAUSSBOSCORNThe Duluth News Tribune reports Farmer Hank Bos died Feb. 4 after battling lung cancer. He was 79.

Bos was known in West Duluth for selling his produce on Grand Avenue near the Minit Mart convenience store, formerly known as Little Store. The DNT reports Bos “for decades faithfully drove the 94 miles from his Shell Lake, Wis., farm to western Duluth daily from July to late October to sell produce from next to his pickup truck.”

Duluth Cross City Trail plan reveals new West Duluth route

Duluth-Cross-City-Trail-Mini-Master-PlanThe final draft of the Cross City Trail Mini-Master Plan was released today by Duluth’s Parks and Recreation Division. It outlines the vision for a 10.3-mile multi-purpose paved trail system that connects the Duluth Lakewalk with the Willard Munger State Trail. Much of the trail has already been constructed over the past five years.

The plan is the culmination of more than 12 years of planning and development work. The public entered the process in 2010, when maps of potential routes were released for feedback. Several controversial alternate routes through West Duluth were discussed in the ensuing years when certain right-of-ways became unavailable, but a new route similar to what was initially presented has emerged.

Pending approval of the plan by the Duluth City Council, construction will start on a major new segment called the “River Route,” which will run from the current western end of the Cross City Trail at Carlton Street, under the ore docks, across Interstate 35 and through the riverfront area. The new segment will end at Irving Park. Two proposed connecting trails would create a loop between Irving and the Munger Trail terminus that would include a section completed last summer on the DWP Trail.

Local bookshop, national attention

Zenith Bookstore DuluthIn addition to stories on Perfect Duluth Day in September and the Duluth News Tribune this morning, Zenith Bookstore was mentioned today in the book industry newsletter Shelf-Awareness.

Fairmount Elementary School Class Photos

Fairmount School Duluth MN postcardFairmount School at 6715 Redruth St. has served as an apartment building since 1981, but it once bustled with West Duluth kids willing to learn a few things in between cramming gum under their desks and creating general mischief.

The photos collected here are from a few different sources, but most of them were posted to the West Duluth Memories Facebook group by various people.

Fairmount1949Grade1

1949 Grade 1

Masonic building gets new life from sailboat accessory company

ShipShape Canvas owners and employees, pictured from left: Thomas Welinski, Tami Sanders, Jonathan Fure, Alice Carlson, Andy Radtke, owners Barb and Jim Welinski.

ShipShape Canvas owners and employees, pictured from left: Thomas Welinski, Tami Sanders, Jonathan Fure, Alice Carlson, Andy Radtke, owners Barb and Jim Welinski.

A growing sailboat accessory manufacturer will move its operations into a historic and long-abandoned West Duluth property this spring.

ShipShape Canvas has purchased the former Euclid Lodge 198 at 611 N. Central Ave. Founded in 2006, the company is currently located at 732 E. Fourth St., where it makes custom canvas covers for sailboats in winter storage.