West Duluth Posts

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.

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!

Antique photos: Denfeld High School under construction

Jay Sonnenburg found this photo in his grandfather’s collection. It shows Denfeld High School under construction on the lower edge, which puts the year of the image around 1926. The groundbreaking ceremony for the building was held March 6, 1925; it opened for classes on Sept. 8, 1926.

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.

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