Duluth, mn

City of Duluth

Nickname(s): Twin Ports (with Superior),
City on the Hill,
Rock Hill,
Zenith City
Saint Louis County, Minnesota
Location in the United States

Coordinates: 46°47′12.98″N 92°5′53.5″W / 46.7869389°N 92.098194°W / 46.7869389; -92.098194

Country United States
State Minnesota
County Saint Louis
Incorporated 1857
 • Mayor Don Ness
 • City 87.43 sq mi (226.44 km2)
 • Land 67.79 sq mi (175.58 km2)
 • Water 19.64 sq mi (50.87 km2)  22.46%
Elevation 702 ft (214 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • City 86,265
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 86,211
 • Density 1,272.5/sq mi (491.3/km2)
 • Urban 115,224
 • Metro 279,815 (US: 165th)
 • Demonym Duluthian
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 55801, 55802, 55803, 55804, 55805, 55806, 55807, 55808, 55810, 55811, 55812
Area code 218
FIPS code 27-17000[4]
GNIS feature ID 0661145[5]
Website www.duluthmn.gov

Duluth Superior, Wisconsin — totals over 131,000, based on 2010 census figures.

Situated at the westernmost point of the Great Lakes on the north shore of Lake Superior, Duluth is accessible to oceangoing vessels from the Atlantic Ocean 2,300 miles (3,700 km) away via the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway.[7]

Duluth forms a metropolitan area with Superior called the Twin Ports. The cities share the Duluth–Superior harbor and together are the Great Lakes' largest port transporting coal, iron ore (taconite), and grain. A tourist destination for the Midwest, Duluth features America's only all-freshwater aquarium, the Great Lakes Aquarium; the Aerial Lift Bridge, which spans the Duluth Ship Canal into the Duluth–Superior Harbor; and Minnesota Point (known locally as Park Point), one of the world's longest freshwater baymouth bars, spanning 6 miles (9.7 km).[8] The city is also the starting point for vehicle trips along Minnesota's North Shore.[9]

The city is named for Daniel Greysolon, Le Sieur du Luth, the first known European explorer of the area.



The Anishinaabe, also known as the Ojibwe or Chippewa, have inhabited the Lake Superior region for over five hundred years and were preceded by the Dakota, Fox, Menominee, Nipigon, Noquet and Gros Ventres. After the arrival of Europeans, the Anishinaabe made themselves the middle-men between the French fur traders and other Native peoples. They soon became the dominant Indian nation in the region: they forced out the Dakota Sioux and Fox and won a victory against the Iroquois west of Sault Ste. Marie in 1662. By the mid-18th century, the Ojibwe occupied all of Lake Superior's shores.[10] [11][12] For both the Ojibwe and the Dakota, interaction with Europeans during the contact period revolved around the fur trade and related activities. A series of treaties executed between 1837 and 1889 expropriated vast areas of tribal lands for the use of Euro-Americans and relegated the Native American peoples to a number of small reservations.[13]

The Ojibwe are historically known for their crafting of birch bark canoes, use of copper arrow points, and cultivation of wild rice. In 1745 they adopted guns from the British to use to defeat and push the Dakota nation of the Sioux to the south. The Ojibwe Nation was the first to set the agenda with European-Canadian leaders for signing more detailed treaties before many European settlers were allowed too far west.[14]

Duluth's name in Ojibwe is "Onigamiinsing"("at the little portage"), and takes its name from the small and easy portage across Minnesota Point between Lake Superior and western Saint Louis Bay forming Duluth's harbor.[15] According to Ojibwa oral history, Spirit Island, located near the Spirit Valley neighborhood, was the "Sixth Stopping Place" where the northern and southern branches of the Ojibwa Nation came together and then proceeded to their "Seventh Stopping Place" near the present city of La Pointe, Wisconsin.[16]

Exploration and Fur Trade (1650–1850)

Several factors brought the fur trade to the Great Lakes in the early decades of the 16th century. The fashion for beaver hats generated a demand for pelts. French trade for beaver in the lower Saint Lawrence River had led to the depletion of the animals in that region by the late 1630s. As a result, the French searched further and further west for new resources and new routes, making alliances with the Native Americans along the way to trap and deliver their furs.

Étienne Brûlé is credited with the European discovery of Lake Superior before 1620. Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard des Groseilliers explored the "Head of the Lakes" (present-day Duluth area) in 1654 and again in 1660. French fur posts were soon established near Duluth and in the far north where Grand Portage became a major trading center. Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, French explorer whose name is sometimes anglicized as "DuLuth", explored the Saint Louis River in 1679.

After 1792, the North West Company established several posts on Minnesota rivers and lakes, and in areas to the west and northwest, for trading with the Ojibwe, the Dakota, and other native tribes. The first of these posts was located at the present site of Superior, Wisconsin. Known as Fort Saint Louis, it became the head-quarters for North West Company's new Fond du Lac Department. It had stockaded walls, two houses of 40 feet each, a shed of 60 feet, a large warehouse, and a canoe yard.

In 1808 the American Fur Company was organized by Austrian-born John Jacob Astor. The Company began trading at the Head of the Lakes in 1809. In 1817, it erected a new headquarters at present-day Fond du Lac, on the Saint Louis River. There, portages connected Lake Superior with Lake Vermillion to the north, and with the Mississippi to the south. Active trade was carried on until the failure of the fur trade in the 1840s.

Two Treaties of Fond du Lac were signed in the present neighborhood of Fond du Lac in 1826 and 1847. As part of the Treaty of Washington (1854) with the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa, the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation was established upstream from Duluth near Cloquet, Minnesota. The Ojibwa population was relocated there.

Permanent settlement

Interest in the area was piqued in the 1850s as rumors of copper mining began to circulate. A government land survey in 1852, followed by a treaty with local tribes in 1854, secured wilderness for gold-seeking explorers, sparked a "land rush," and led to the development of iron ore mining in the area.[17]

Around the same time, newly constructed channels and locks in the East permitted large ships to access the area. A road connecting Duluth to the Twin Cities was also constructed. Eleven small towns on both sides of the Saint Louis River were formed, establishing Duluth's roots as a city.

By 1857, copper resources became scarce and the area's economic focus shifted to timber harvesting. A nationwide financial crisis caused nearly three-quarters of the city's early pioneers to leave.

The opening of the canal at Sault Ste. Marie in 1855 and the recently announced coming of the railroads had made Duluth the only port with access to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Soon the lumber industry, railroads and mining were all growing so quickly that the influx of workers could hardly keep up with demand and storefronts popped up almost overnight. By 1868 business in Duluth was really booming. In a Fourth of July speech Dr. Thomas Preston Foster, founder of the first newspaper in Duluth, coined the expression "The Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas".

In 1869–1870 Duluth was the fastest growing city in the country and was expected to surpass Chicago in size in only a few years. When Jay Cooke, a wealthy Philadelphia land speculator, convinced the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad to create an extension from St. Paul to Duluth, the railroad opened areas due north and west of Lake Superior to iron ore mining. Duluth's population on New Year's Day in 1869 consisted of fourteen families; by the Fourth of July, 3,500 people were present to celebrate. Unfortunately, Jay Cooke's empire crumbled and the stock market crashed in 1873 and Duluth almost disappeared from the map.

In the first Duluth Minnesotian printed on August 24, 1869, Dr. Foster said:

"Newcomers should comprehend that Duluth is at present a small place, and hotel and boarding room accommodation is extremely limited. However, lumber is cheap and shanties can be built. Everyone should bring blankets and come prepared to rough it."

By the late 1870s, with the continued boom in Lumber and Mining and with the railroads completed, Duluth again bloomed. By the turn of the century, there were almost 100,000 inhabitants, and it was again a thriving community with small business loans, commerce and trade flowing through the city.

Twentieth century

Around the start of the 20th century, the city's port passed New York City and Chicago in gross tonnage handled, elevating it to the leading port in the United States. Ten newspapers, six banks and an eleven-story skyscraper, the Torrey Building, were also present.[18]

In 1907, U.S. Steel announced that a $5 million plant would be constructed in the area. Although steel production didn't begin until 1915, predictions held that Duluth's population would rise to 200,000–300,000. With the Duluth Works steel plant came Morgan Park, a once-independent company town that now stands as a city neighborhood. The Diamond Calk Horseshoe Company was founded in 1908 and later became a major manufacturer and exporter of wrenches and automotive tools. Duluth's huge wholesale Marshall Wells Hardware Company expanded in 1901 by opening branches in Portland, Oregon, and Winnipeg, Manitoba; the company catalog totaled 2,390 pages by 1913. The Duluth Showcase Company, which later became the Duluth Refrigerator Company and then the Coolerator Company, was established in 1908. The Universal Atlas Cement Company, which made cement from slag that was a by-product of the steel plant, began operations in 1917.

The city experienced a large immigrant influx during the early twentieth century and became home to one of the largest Finnish communities in the world outside of Finland.[19] For decades, a Finnish-language daily newspaper, taking the namesake of the old Grand Duchy of Finland's pro-independence leftist paper, Päivälehti, was published in the city. The Finnish IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) community published a widely read labor newspaper Industrialisti. From 1907 to 1941, the Finnish Socialist Federation and then the IWW operated Work People's College, an educational institution that taught classes from a working class, socialist perspective. Duluth was also settled by immigrants from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Ireland, England, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine, Romania, and Russia. Today, people of Scandinavian descent constitute a strong ethnic plurality of the population, accounting for about one-third of Duluth's residents.

In September 1918, a group calling itself the Knights of Liberty dragged Finnish immigrant Ollie Kinkkonen from his boarding house, tarred and feathered him, and lynched him. Kinkkonen did not want to fight in World War I and planned to return to Finland. His body was found two weeks later hanging in a tree in Duluth's Lester Park.[20]

Another lynching in Duluth occurred on June 15, 1920 when three innocent black male circus workers were attacked by a mob and hanged after the alleged rape of a teenage girl. The Duluth lynchings took place on First Street and Second Avenue East, where today three 7-foot (2.1 m)-tall bronze statues of the men who were killed have been erected as a memorial.

For the first half of the 20th century, the city was an industrial port boom town with multiple grain elevators, a cement plant, a nail mill, wire mills, and the Duluth Works plant. In 1916, during World War I, a shipyard was constructed on the Saint Louis River. A new neighborhood, today known as Riverside, was formed around the operation. Similar industrial expansions took place during the Second World War, using Duluth's large harbor and the area's vast resources for the war effort. Tankers and submarine chasers (usually called "sub-chasers") were built at the Riverside shipyard. The population of Duluth continued to grow after the war, peaking at 107,884 in 1960.

Cloquet Fire

In 1918, the Cloquet Fire (named for the nearby city of Cloquet) burned across Carlton and southern Saint Louis Counties destroying dozens of communities in the Duluth area. The fire was the worst natural disaster in Minnesota history in terms of the number of lives lost in a single day. Many people perished on the rural roads surrounding the Duluth area, and historical accounts tell of victims dying while trying to outrun the fire. The News Tribune reported, “It is estimated that 100 families were rendered homeless by Saturday’s fire in the territory known as the Woodland District... In most cases, families which lost their homes also lost most or all of their furniture and personal belongings, the limited time and transportation facilities affording little opportunity for saving anything but human life.”[21] The National Guard unit based in Duluth was mobilized in a heroic effort to battle the fire and assist victims, but the troops were overwhelmed by the enormity of the fire. Retired Duluth News Tribune columnist and journalist Jim Heffernan[22] writes that his mother "recalled an overnight vigil watching out the window of their small home on lower Piedmont Avenue with her father, her younger sisters having gone to sleep, ready to be evacuated to the waterfront should the need arise. The fire never made it that far down the hill, but devastated what is now Piedmont Heights, and, of course, a widespread area of Northeastern Minnesota."[23] In the aftermath of the fire, tens of thousands of people were injured or homeless; many of the refugees fled into the city for aid and shelter.[24]

Economic decline

Economic decline began in the 1950s, when high grade iron ore gave out on the Iron Range north of Duluth: ore shipments from the Duluth harbor were the most important element of the city's economy. Low grade ore (taconite) shipments, boosted by new taconite pellet technology, continued, but ore shipments were lower. By the late 1970s, foreign competition began to have a detrimental impact on the American steel industry. This eventually led to the closure of the U.S. Steel Duluth Works plant in 1981, causing a significant blow to the city's economy. The steel plant's closing forced the closing of the cement company, which depended on the steel plant for raw materials (slag). Duluth is often cited as "where the Rust Belt began." Other industrial activity followed suit with more closures, including shipbuilding, heavy machinery and the Duluth Air Force base. By the end of the decade, unemployment rates surged to 15 percent. The economic downturn was particularly hard on Duluth's west side, where the Eastern and Southern European immigrant workers had traditionally lived for decades.

With the decline of the city's industrial core, the local economic focus shifted to tourism. The downtown area was renovated with new red brick streets, skywalks, and new retail shops. Old warehouses along the waterfront were converted into cafés, shops, restaurants, and hotels. These changes fashioned the new Canal Park as a trendy tourism-oriented district. The city's population, which had been experiencing a steady decline since 1960, has now stabilized at around 85,000.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Duluth has become a regional epicenter for banking, retail shopping, and medical care for northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and northwestern Michigan. It is estimated that more than 8,000 jobs in Duluth are directly related to Duluth's two hospitals. Arts and entertainment offerings as well as year-round recreation and the natural environment have contributed to expansion of the tourist industry in Duluth. Some 3.5 million visitors each year contribute more than $400 million to the local economy.

The Untold Delights of Duluth

Early doubts about the potential of the Duluth area were voiced in the speech The Untold Delights of Duluth, made by former U.S. Representative J. Proctor Knott of Kentucky on January 27, 1871 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The speech against the St. Croix and Superior Land Grant lampooned Western boosterism, portraying Duluth as an Eden in fantastically florid terms. The speech has been reprinted in collections of folklore and humorous speeches and is regarded as something of a classic.[25] The nearby city of Proctor, Minnesota, is named for Congressman Knott.

Duluth's unofficial sister city, Duluth, Georgia, was named by Evan P. Howell in humorous reference to Representative Knott's speech. Originally called Howell's Crossroads in honor of his grandfather, Evan Howell, the town had just finished getting a railroad to the town in 1871 and the "Delights of Duluth" speech was still popular.

Proctor Knott is sometimes credited with characterizing Duluth as the "zenith city of the unsalted seas," but the honor for that coinage belongs to journalist Thomas Preston Foster, speaking at a Fourth of July picnic in 1868.[26]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 87.43 square miles (226.44 km2); 67.79 square miles (175.58 km2) is land and 19.64 square miles (50.87 km2) is water.[1] It is Minnesota's second largest city in terms of land area, surpassed only by Hibbing. Of its 87.3 square miles (226 km2), 68 square miles (180 km2) or 77.89% is land and 19.3 square miles (50 km2) or 22.11% is water. Duluth's canal connects Lake Superior to the Duluth–Superior harbor and the Saint Louis River. The Aerial Lift Bridge, on which vehicles cross the canal, connects Canal Park with Minnesota Point ("Park Point").[27] Minnesota Point is approximately 7 miles long, and when included with adjacent Wisconsin Point, which extends 3 miles out from the city of Superior, Wisconsin, is reported to be the largest freshwater sand spit in the world at a total of 10 miles.

Duluth's topography is dominated by a steep hillside that climbs from Lake Superior to high inland elevations. Duluth has been called "the San Francisco of the Mid-West." The expression alludes to San Francisco's similar water-to-hilltop topography. This similarity was most evident before World War II, when Duluth had a network of street cars and an "Incline Railroad" that, like San Francisco's cable cars, climbed a steep hill (at Seventh Avenue West). The change in elevation is illustrated by Duluth's two airports. The Sky Harbor airport's weather station, situated on Park Point, has an elevation of 607 feet (185 m),[28] whereas the elevation of Duluth International Airport atop the hill is 1,427 feet (435 m)--820 feet higher.[28]

As the city has grown, the population has tended to hug the Lake Superior shoreline, hence Duluth is primarily a southwest–northeast city. A considerable amount of development on the hill's upslope gives Duluth a reputation for steep streets. Some neighborhoods, such as Piedmont Heights and Bayview Heights, are atop the hill, at times giving scenic views of the city. Another example is Skyline Parkway, a scenic roadway that extends from Becks Road above the Gary – New Duluth neighborhood near the western end of the city to the Lester Park neighborhood on the east side. Skyline Parkway crosses nearly the entire length of Duluth and affords breathtaking views of the famous Aerial Lift Bridge, Canal Park, and the many industries that inhabit the largest inland port. Most important, the tip of Lake Superior can be seen continuously from high on the brow of the hill. Perhaps the most rapidly developing part of the city is Miller Hill Mall and the adjacent big-box retailer shopping strip "over the hill"–the Miller Trunk Highway corridor. The 2009–2010 road reconstruction project in Duluth's Miller Hill area improved transit movement through the U.S. Highway 53 corridor from Trinity Road to Maple Grove Road. The highway project reconstructed connector roads, intersections, and adjacent roadways. Construction of a new international airport terminal is also underway as part of the government's Stimulus Reconstruction Program.


Duluth has a localized maritime climate. It has also been described as a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), with summer being significantly wetter. The nickname "The Air-Conditioned City" is given to Duluth because of the summertime cooling effect of Lake Superior. Severe thunderstorms do occasionally cross over the city during the summer. Winters are long, snowy, and very cold, normally seeing temperatures at or below 0 °F (−18 °C) on 40–41 days/nights and bringing consistent snow cover from late November to late March.[29] Winter storms that pass south or east of Duluth can often set up easterly or northeasterly flow, which leads to occasional upslope lake-effect snow events that bring a foot (30 cm) or more of snow to the city while areas 50 miles (80 km) inland receive considerably less.

Summers are warm, though nights are generally cool, with daytime temperatures averaging 76 °F (24 °C) in July, with the same figure over 80 °F (26.7 °C) inland. Temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on only 2 days per year, while in downtown areas, 100 °F (38 °C) temperatures have been recorded only 3 times, all in July 1936.[29] The phrase "cooler by the lake" can be heard often in weather forecasts during the summer, especially on days when an easterly wind is expected. Great local variations are also common because of the rapid change in elevation between the nearly 900 foot hilltop and shoreside. Often this variation manifests itself as snow at the Miller Hill Mall while rain falls in Canal Park. The warmer shoreline temperatures also have permitted ginkgo trees, admired for their golden autumn leaves, to thrive beside the lake, even though Duluth is well north of the normal temperature range of ginkgos. The lake steams in the winter when moist,[30] lake-warmed air at the surface rises and cools, losing some of its moisture carrying capacity.

The record low temperature in Duluth is −41 °F (−41 °C), set on January 2, 1885, and the record high temperature is 106 °F (41 °C), set on July 13, 1936. On average, the first freezing temperature occurs on September 25, and the last on May 25, though a freezing temperature has occurred in August; the first 1 inch (2.5 cm) snowfall is October 29 and the last is April 10.[29]

2012 flooding

From June 19–20, 2012, Duluth experienced the worst flood in its history, recording nine inches of rain throughout the course of thirty hours.[32] Combined with its rocky sediments, hard soil and forty three streams and creeks, the city could not handle the massive rainfall.[33][34] Mayor Don Ness declared a State of Emergency, asking for national assistance.[35] Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton also declared a State of Emergency, sending the National Guard and the Red Cross to assist in the relief efforts.[36] Several sink holes popped up throughout the city causing massive damage to property and vehicles.[37] Several feet of standing water were in alleys and parking lots throughout the city.[38] Streets were turned into rapids and many roads split apart due to the heavy flow of water.[39][40] A portion of West Skyline Parkway tumbled down the hill, isolating a neighborhood.[41] The Saint Louis River, in Duluth's Fond du Lac neighborhood, flooded Highway 23, isolating that neighborhood as well, and damaging roadways and bridges.[42]

The Lake Superior Zoo flooded in the early hours of June 20 where eleven barnyard animals as well as a [6] (AZA) Species Survival Program breeding recommendation.

2012 tornado

Duluth has always been considered a 'safe haven' from tornadoes, considering that the climate is cool and the city is right next to Lake Superior; however, on August 9, 2012 at around 11 AM, the city's first 'official' (terrestrial) tornado touched down on Minnesota Point. It had originally started as a waterspout in Superior Bay, just two miles from Sky Harbor Airport, but briefly found its way onto the sandbar's shoreline, making it an 'official' tornado. It quickly dissipated, but soon touched down again on Barker's Island, where it once again quickly dissipated. It caused no serious damage, being that it was a very weak tornado, scoring only EF0 on the Fujita Scale, but it was the first tornado in Duluth's recorded history. Lake Superior's warm water temperature that year may have contributed to this phenomenon.[47]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201286,211−0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[48]
2012 Estimate[49]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 86,265 people, 35,705 households, and 18,680 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,272.5 inhabitants per square mile (491.3 /km2). There were 38,208 housing units at an average density of 563.6 per square mile (217.6 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.4% White, 2.3% African American, 2.5% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.

There were 35,705 households of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.2% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 47.7% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.84.

The median age in the city was 33.6 years. 18.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 19.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.4% were from 25 to 44; 24.8% were from 45 to 64; and 13.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.0% male and 51.0% female.

2000 census

As of the 2000 census, there were 35,500 households and 19,918 families in the city.[6] The population density was 1,278.1 /sq mi (493.5 /km2). There were 36,994 housing units at an average density of 544.0 /sq mi (210.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.7% White, 1.6% Black or African American, 2.4% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. 1.1% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. The population's ancestry was 23.6% German, 16.8% Norwegian, 15.3% Swedish, 10.6% Irish, 7.1% Polish, 7.0% English, 5.1% Italian, 3.2% Scottish or Scots-Irish, 1.5% Danish, and 0.4% Welsh according to the 2000 Census. Thus, slightly more than one-third of Duluth's residents were of Scandinavian (Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish) ancestry.

Among Duluth's households, 26.6% had children under 18, 41.4% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.9% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were one-person households, and 13.3% had someone 65 or older living alone. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 21.3% under the age of 18, 16.2% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over there were 89.7 males.

Duluth's median household income was $33,766; median family income was $46,394. Males had a median income of $35,182, females $24,965. The per capita income was $18,969. About 8.6% of families and 15.5% of all residents were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under 18 and 9.5% of those 65 or over.


Duluth is located in Minnesota's 8th congressional district, represented by Democrat Rick Nolan.

Duluth has a Mayor–Council form of government. The present mayor of Duluth is Don Ness, who took office in 2008.[50] The City Administration makes policy proposals to a nine member City Council. Duluth's five representational districts are divided into 36 precincts. Each of the five council districts elects its own councilor. There are also four at large councilors, representing the entire city. The City Council elects a president who presides at meetings. Patrick Boyle is the current President of the Council. Linda Krug is the current Vice-President of the Council.

Fire department

The city of Duluth is protected by the paid, professional firefighters of the city of Duluth Fire Department.[51] The Duluth Fire Department responded to 10,478 fire and emergency medical calls in 2012. The current Chief of Department is John Strongitharm.

Fire station locations and apparatus

The Duluth Fire Department operates out of 8 fire stations throughout the city, under the command of an Assistant Chief, Squad 251. The department also operates a fire apparatus fleet of six engines, one tower ladder, two quints, one heavy rescue, two light medical response vehicles, and numerous other special, support, and reserve units.

Station Engine company Truck company Special unit Command unit Address
Headquarters – Downtown 1 Engine 1 Tower Rescue 1, Confined Space Rescue Trailer, Water Rescue Boat, Squad 251 602 W. 2nd Street
Station 02 – Lincoln Park 2 Engine CAT 31 (Haz Mat) 2627 W. Superior Street
Station 04 – Kenwood 4 Quint Squad 244 (Medical Response) 425 W. College Street
Station 06 – Lakeside 6 Engine 1031 N. 51st Avenue East
Station 07 – Duluth Heights 7 Engine 1419 Maple Grove Road
Station 08 – Spirit Valley 8 Quint Squad 248 (Medical Response), Water Rescue Boat 5830 Grand Avenue
Station 10 – Gary–New Duluth 10 Engine 1106 Commonwealth Avenue
Station 11 – Woodland 11 Engine 3501 Woodland Avenue


Duluth is the major regional center for health care, higher education, retail, and business services not only of its own immediate area but also of a larger area encompassing northeastern Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin, and the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is also a major transportation center for the transshipment of coal, taconite, agricultural products, steel, limestone, and cement. In recent years it has seen strong growth in the transshipment of wind turbine components coming and going from manufacturers in both Europe and North Dakota and of oversized industrial machinery manufactured all around the world and destined for the tar sands oil extraction projects in northern Alberta.

Several multi-national aviation corporations are contributing to the economy of the Twin Ports. Cirrus Aircraft Corporation has its headquarters and main manufacturing facility in Duluth. Cirrus Aircraft was founded in 1984 to produce the VK-30 kit aircraft.[52] In 2012, another aircraft manufacturer, Kestrel Aircraft, decided to locate a branch in the Twin Ports .[53] The success in the aviation sector extended into commercial travel as Duluth opened the doors to a new, state-of-the-art airport terminal in January, 2013.

The Air Force chose the 148th Air National Guard based in Duluth as one of a handful of National Guard units to establish an Active Association, bringing new active duty Air Force jobs to the base.[54]

Duluth has attracted several new engineering firms including Barr Engineering, LHB, Enbridge and Lake Superior Consulting.

Duluth is also a center for aquatic biology and aquatic science. The city is home to the EPA's Mid-Continent Ecology Division Laboratory and the University of Minnesota–Duluth. These institutions have spawned many economically and scientifically important businesses that support Duluth's economy. A short list of these businesses include ERA laboratories, LimnoLogic,[55] the ASci Corporation, Environmental Consulting and Testing, and Ecolab.

The city is a popular center for tourism. Duluth is a convenient base for trips to the scenic North Shore via Highway 61 and to fishing and wilderness destinations in Minnesota's far north, including the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Tourists also may drive on the North Shore Scenic Drive to Gooseberry Falls State Park, Baptism Falls (Minnesota's largest waterfall), the vertical cliff of Palisade Head, Isle Royale National Park (reached via ferry), Grand Portage National Monument in Grand Portage, and High Falls of the Pigeon River (on the Canadian border). Thunder Bay, Ontario, can be reached by following the highway into Canada along Lake Superior.

Several years ago Duluth, like many other cities across the nation, had to face the reality that due to spiraling healthcare costs retiree health care benefit obligations threatened to bankrupt the city. If no changes had been made, the unfunded liability would have been $178 million by 2013. After reforming and restructuring the benefits, and a court case that went all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court, in 2013 the liability stands at an estimated $191 million. Even at half the burden, this still poses a massive challenge. The City has begun the long process of setting money aside for the future liability. That fund is now up to $35 million, including $7 million from interest payments generated by placing funds into a designated trust.[56]


The Duluth area marks the northern endpoint of Interstate Highway 35, which stretches south to Laredo, Texas. U.S. Highways that serve the area are U.S. Highway 53, which stretches from La Crosse, Wisconsin, to International Falls, Minnesota, and U.S. Highway 2, which stretches from Everett, Washington, to St.Ignace, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The southwestern part of the city has Thompson Hill, where travelers entering Duluth on I-35 can see most of Duluth, including the Aerial Lift Bridge and the waterfront. There are two freeway connections from Duluth to Superior. U.S. Highway 2 provides a connection into Superior via the Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge; and Interstate 535 is concurrent with U.S. 53 over the John Blatnik Bridge.

Many state highways serve the area. Highway 23 runs diagonally across Minnesota, indirectly connecting Duluth to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Highway 33 provides a western bypass of Duluth connecting Interstate 35, which comes up from the Twin Cities, to U.S. 53, which leads to Iron Range cities and International Falls. Highway 61 provides access to Thunder Bay, Ontario, via the North Shore of Lake Superior. Highway 194 provides a spur route into the city of Duluth known as "Central Entrance" and Mesaba Avenue. Wisconsin Highway 13 reaches along Lake Superior's South Shore. Wisconsin Highway 35 runs along Wisconsin's western border for 412 miles (663 km) to its southern terminus at the Wisconsin – Illinois border (three miles north of East Dubuque).

Highway 61 and parts of Highways 2 and 53 are segments of the Lake Superior Circle Tour route that follows Lake Superior through Minnesota, Ontario, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Duluth International Airport serves the city and surrounding region with daily flights to Minneapolis, Detroit, and Chicago, and weekly flights to Orlando, Phoenix and Las Vegas. Nearby municipal airports are Duluth Sky Harbor on Minnesota Point and the Richard I. Bong Airport in Superior. Both the Bong Airport and Bong Bridge are named for famed World War II pilot and highest-scoring American World War II air ace Major Richard Ira "Dick" Bong, a native of nearby Poplar, Wisconsin.

Located at the western end of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the Duluth–Superior seaport is the largest and farthest-inland freshwater seaport in North America. By far the largest and busiest on the Great Lakes, the port handles an average of 46 million short tons of cargo and over 1,100 visits each year from domestic and international vessels. With 49 miles (79 km) of waterfront, it is one of the leading bulk cargo ports in North America and ranks among the top 20 ports in the United States.[57] Duluth is a major shipping port for taconite pellets, made from concentrated low-grade iron ore and destined for midwestern and eastern steel mills. The former Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway, now part of the Canadian National Railway, operates taconite-hauling trains in the area. Duluth is also served by the BNSF Railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the Union Pacific Railroad.

The local bus system is run by the Duluth Transit Authority, which serves Duluth, Hermantown, Proctor and Superior, Wisconsin. The DTA runs a system of buses manufactured by Gillig, including new hybrids.

Duluth is also served by Greyhound Lines and Jefferson Lines with daily service to the Twin Cities.

Major highways

  • Interstate 35
  • Interstate 535
  • U.S. Highway 2
  • U.S. Highway 53
  • Minnesota State Highway 23
  • Minnesota State Highway 61 – North Shore
  • Minnesota State Highway 194 – Central Entrance – Mesaba Avenue
  • Minnesota State Highway 210
  • Saint Louis County Road 4 – Rice Lake Road


Duluth gets electric power from Duluth-based Minnesota Power, a subsidiary of ALLETE Corporation.[58] Minnesota Power produces energy at generation facilities located throughout northern Minnesota and a generation plant in North Dakota. The latter supplies electricity into the MP system by the Square Butte HVDC line, which ends near the town.

Minnesota Power primarily uses western coal to generate electricity, but also has a number of small hydroelectric facilities, the largest of which is the Thomson Dam southwest of Duluth on the Saint Louis River.

In December 2006, Minnesota Power began purchasing all the energy generated from the new 50-MW Oliver Wind I Energy Center built by NextEra Resources near Center, N.D. In 2007, Minnesota Power entered into a second 25-year wind power purchase agreement with NextEra. A 48-MW facility was built adjacent to the initial Oliver County wind farm, and the new generators began commercial operation in November 2007.

Construction began in 2010 on the 76-MW Bison Wind I Energy Center near New Salem, N.D. Bison I represents the first wave of Minnesota Power-constructed wind farms that will be built in south central North Dakota and linked to Minnesota. by way of a 465-mile direct current (DC) transmission line. ALLETE finalized an agreement Jan. 1, 2010 to purchase a 250-kilovolt DC line between Center, N.D. and Hermantown, Minn. (near ALLETE headquarters in Duluth) and phase out a long-term contract to buy coal-generated electricity now transmitted over the line.

Duluth has recently become, because of the wind energy demand, a port for wind energy parts shipments from overseas and the hub for shipments out to various wind energy sites in the midwest.

Throughout its history Duluth's sewers have overflowed when it rained, causing untreated sewage to flow into Lake Superior and the Saint Louis River. For example, in 2001 alone the overflow amounted to over 6.9 million gallons. Over the past five years the City of Duluth has taken extraordinary measures to completely eliminate sewage overflows and in 2013 the improvements are three years ahead of schedule.


Local newspapers include the BusinessNorth monthly, the , and The Reader Weekly.

Locally based nationally distributed magazines include Cabin Life, Lake Superior Magazine, and New Moon Magazine.

Locally based websites include DuluthIrishMusic.com.


Local Colleges and universities include the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Bulldogs who won the Division I National Championship (hockey) in 2011, The College of St. Scholastica, Lake Superior College, and Duluth Business University. The UMD campus includes a medical school. The University of Wisconsin - Superior and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College are in nearby Superior, Wisconsin.

Most public schools are administered by Duluth Public Schools. The schools have open enrollment. ISD 709 (Independent School District number 709) is now undertaking a reconstruction of all area schools under a program called the "Red Plan." The Red Plan's goals are the reconstruction of some older schools to meet new educational guidelines, and the construction of four new school buildings. The new schools will result in the redistricting of many students. As of 2009, the Red Plan was and is being contested in court by some citizens because of the cost of implementing the plan and because of the choice of construction management contractor.[59]

Several independent and public charter schools also serve Duluth students. The largest is Marshall School, a private college preparatory school founded in 1972 and covering grades 4-12. Duluth has four Catholic schools with coverage up to grades 6 or 8, two Protestant schools, one Montessori school, and six other charter and private schools.

Due to its proximity to the Great Lakes, it is also the location for the Large Lakes Observatory.[60]


Local attractions include a variety in the arts and literature. Museums include the Duluth Art Institute at the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards are given, honoring books about the region.

Parks and recreation

Duluth has numerous parks.[62] These include six parks on Lake Superior: Brighton Beach Park, Leif Erickson Park, Canal Park on Park Point, the Lakewalk (connecting Canal Park and Leif Erickson Park via the lakeshore), Lafayette Park on Park Point, and Park Point Recreation Area at the end of Park Point, where a sand beach invites swimming in the lake. Duluth's other parks include Lester Park, Congdon Park, Hartley Park, Chester Park, the Rose Garden (next to Leif Erickson Park), Bayfront Festival Park, Cascade Park, Enger Park, Lincoln Park, Brewer Park, Fairmount Park, Indian Point Park, Magney–Snively Park, and Fond du Lac Park, as well as some small neighborhood parks and athletic fields. Lester Park, Congdon Park, Hartley Park, and Chester Park have trail systems, and three of these parks–all except Hartley–also have waterfalls, as does Lincoln Park. Hartley Park also has a nature center. Lester Park and Enger Park have public golf courses. Fairmount Park has the Lake Superior Zoo.

In addition to the two public golf courses (Lester Park and Enger Park), golfers can play at the Northland Country Club and the Ridgeview Country Club. Duluth also has 5 public tennis courts and 63 private tennis club courts. The city also has many indoor and outdoor ice rinks, including curling facilities.

The city is home to the Duluth-Superior Sailing Association.

Leif Erikson Park and Rose Garden

Park visitors can view the Viking ship that was built in Norway by local boat builders to replicate the type of ship sailed by Leif Erikson who discovered North America around 997 A.D.[63] The vessel is 42 feet long, has a 12 feet 9 inches beam and draws 4 feet of water. The Dragon's Head and Tail are considered by architects to be masterpieces. When the crew landed in Duluth on June 23, 1927, they had traveled a distance of 6,700 miles, the greatest distance for a ship of its size in modern history. Duluthian Emil Olson purchased the ship soon after the voyage, and donated the Leif Erikson to the City of Duluth. The ship was placed on display in Duluth's Lake Park, which was later named Leif Erikson Park.[64]

The Leif Erikson steadily deteriorated after years of neglect and vandalism, and by 1980 was in such poor condition that it was even considered that the ship be burned in the traditional Viking manner of putting a ship to rest. This suggestion inspired Emil Olson's grandson, Will Borg, to bring volunteers together and begin fundraising efforts to restore the ship. Through donations, festivals and other endeavors, the group raised $100,000. Boatbuilders began the restoration in 1991.[65]

Located adjacent to the park and also overlooking Lake Superior, the Duluth Rose Garden is a formal English style garden with more than 3,000 rose bushes.

Jay Cooke State Park

Jay Cooke State Park is a Minnesota state park located about ten miles (16 km) southwest of Duluth. The park is situated along the Saint Louis River, and is the site of a canoe portage used by Native Americans, European explorers, fur traders, Voyageurs, coureurs des bois, and missionaries of the 18th and 19th centuries. The river was a vital link connecting the Mississippi River waterways to the west with the Great Lakes to the east. [66] It is famous for its Rustic Style historical structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) between 1933 and 1942. All the major landmarks in Jay Cooke are built with local basalt or gabbro stone and dark planks and logs. Three districts of the state park are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. These districts are the Rustic Style District, including the River Inn and Swinging Bridge; the Picnic District, including the shelter, water tower and latrine, and drinking fountain; and the Service Yard District, including the custodian's cabin and pump house.

Superior Hiking Trail

Duluth hosts a 39-mile (63 km) segment of the Bardon Peak, the Magney–Snively old growth forest, Spirit Mountain, Enger Park, Point of Rocks, the Lakewalk, Chester Park, UMD's Bagley nature trails, and Hartley Park. It features fabulous views of the Saint Louis River, the Twin Ports, the Aerial Bridge, and Lake Superior.

Grandma's Marathon

Since 1977, Duluth has played host to Grandma's Marathon, held annually in June. Named after its original sponsor, Grandma's Restaurant, it draws runners from all over the world. The course starts just outside Two Harbors, Minnesota, runs down Old Highway 61 (the former route of Highway 61 along the North Shore of Lake Superior), and finishes in one of Duluth's tourism neighborhoods, Canal Park. The same route is also taken during the North Shore Inline Marathon, held in September and also drawing racers from all over the world.

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is Duluth's annual sled dog race, held in February. The race is named after the son of Anishinaabe Chief Makwabimidem. Beargrease was one of the first mail carriers between Two Harbors, Minnesota, and Grand Marais, Minnesota. He and his brothers carried mail by dogsled, boat, and horse for almost twenty years between the two towns, which were unconnected by road. Marathon competitors can choose between two distances. The longer 400-mile (644 km) course takes a round trip from Duluth to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The 150-mile (241 km) course departs from Duluth and ends in Tofte, Minnesota. The marathon was first held in 1980. It is regarded as a training ground for Alaska's larger and more elite Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.[67]

Spirit Mountain ski area

Spirit Mountain is known for having a large terrain park. The park includes jumps ranging from 15 feet (4.6 m) to over 60 feet (18 m), and numerous rails, boxes, and other "jibs". With a vertical elevation of approximately 700 feet (210 m), it is the second highest ski hill in Minnesota. In 2010, Spirit Mountain opened an alpine coaster and in 2011 they announced plans to add a zip line, miniature golf, and snow tubing. In 2012, work began on downhill mountain bike trails.


Historic Central High School, built in 1892 of locally-mined Sandstone at a cost of $460,000, houses a 1890s classroom museum. It features a 230 foot clock tower with chimes patterned after Big Ben in London; the clock faces are each 10½ feet in diameter, overlooking the Duluth harbor.

The Aerial Lift Bridge, spanning the Duluth Ship Canal into Duluth's harbor, is a vertical lift bridge. It was originally an exceedingly rare aerial transfer bridge—a bridge that slides a basketlike "gondola" back and forth to transfer people and vehicles from one side to the other. The wreck of the Thomas Wilson, a classic early 20th century whaleback ore boat, lies underwater less than a mile outside the Duluth harbor ship canal. The USCGC Sundew (WLB-404), a former USCG Seagoing Buoy Tender, is a museum ship along the Duluth waterfront, as is the 610' long William A Irvin.

Great Lakes Aquarium

The Great Lakes Aquarium is located in the Duluth Waterfront Park. A freshwater aquarium, its mission is to inspire people to explore their connection to Lake Superior and waters of the world. Great Lakes Aquarium features animals and habitats found within the Great Lakes Basin and other freshwater ecosystems such as the Amazon River. The aquarium houses 205 different species of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. It is one of few aquariums in the United States that focuses on freshwater exhibits.

Lake Superior Zoo

Located on 16 acres, the zoo offers year-round recreational activities and features animals from around the world, including Amur tigers, snow leopards, African lions, brown bears, kangaroos, and gray wolves, plus a variety of birds, reptiles, primates and barnyard animals. The zoo offers learning programs and regularly features special events.[68]

Lake Superior Railroad Museum

The Lake Superior Railroad Museum is located in the old Duluth railroad station. The museum has seven steam, fourteen diesel and two electric locomotives, and over 40 other pieces of rolling stock. The collection includes the William Crooks, which became the first locomotive to operate in the state of Minnesota in 1861, and the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway Number 227, a 2-8-8-4 "Yellowstone" locomotive which was among the largest steam engines to ever operate.

North Shore Scenic Railroad

The North Shore Scenic Railroad is a heritage railroad that operates between Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota. The railroad is owned by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and offers several different types of passenger excursion trains between May 28 and October 15 each year. The railroad started up in 1990, using the Lakefront Line once owned by the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway.

Canal Park

Canal Park is a recreation-oriented district of Duluth. It is largely a conversion of an old warehouse district into restaurants, cafés, hotels, and shops, especially those dealing in antiques and other novelties. This conversion began in the 1980s as an attempt to use Duluth's rich industrial past, the decline of which had left the city in economic turmoil. Some of Canal Park's attractions include a 4.2 mile long lakewalk that offers a view of Park Point's extensive sandy dunes and beaches. Swimming is an option, though few are willing to swim in Lake Superior's icey waters. Visitors may also view the lighthouse pier, and visit the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, the Great Lakes Aquarium, and the William A. Irvin floating ship museum. Yearly festivals include the Bayfront Blues Festival, held in Bayfront Festival Park.

Glensheen Mansion

The Glensheen Historic Estate, located on the shore of Lake Superior, was built as the family home for wealthy businessman Chester Adgate Congdon. Glensheen sits on 7.6 acres (3.1 ha) of lake front property, has 38 rooms and is built in the Jacobean architectural tradition, inspired by the Beaux-Arts styles of the era. The building was designed by Minnesota architect Clarence H. Johnston Sr., with interiors designed by William French. The formal terraced garden and English style landscape was designed by the Charles Wellford Leavitt firm out of New York. Construction began in 1905, and was completed in 1908. The mansion is open to tours year-round.

Christmas City of the North Parade

Each year in November, Duluth is the home of the Christmas City of the North Parade. The parade dates back to 1957 when the holiday shopping season ran particularly short one year. Wanting to extend Christmas shopping days, Bob Rich, who at that time owned the former WDSM-TV, now present day KBJR-TV, came up with the idea. Since then, the parade has marched through downtown Duluth annually on the Friday night before Thanksgiving. The event has survived pouring rain, snow and frigid cold. Even in years when instruments were too cold to produce music, the bands became choirs, using their voices to entertain the loyal parade crowd. Recorded by entertainer Merv Griffin in 1962, the Christmas City song is the signature sound of the parade. According to Rich's grandson, the song was written by a local resident and his grandfather asked a friend, Merv Griffin, at that time not the well-known TV personality that he would later become, if he would sing the song and put it to music. [69][70] Griffin, who was living in New York City at the time, relates that on his return trip from Duluth, his wife, Julann Wright, came up with the idea for the game show Jeopardy.[71]


Duluth in the NFL
Year W L T Finish
1923 4 3 0 7th
1924 5 1 0 4th
1925 0 3 0 16th
1926 6 5 3 8th
1927 1 8 0 11th

Professional sports history

Duluth fielded a National Football League team called the Kelleys (officially the Kelley Duluths after the Kelley-Duluth Hardware Store) from 1923 to 1925 and the Eskimos (officially[72] Ernie Nevers' Eskimos after the early NFL great, their star player) from 1926 to 1927. The Eskimos were then sold and became the Orange Tornadoes (Orange, New Jersey). This bit of history became the basis for the 2008 George Clooney/Renée Zellweger movie, "Leatherheads."

The Duluth–Superior Dukes of the Northern League Independent Professional Baseball played in West Duluth's Wade Stadium from the league's inception in 1993 until 2002 when the team moved to Kansas City, Kansas, and became the Kansas City T-Bones. The Dukes were Northern League champions in 1997. An earlier Northern League, based in the Midwest, was also in operation off and on from 1902 to 1971, the longest stint being 1932–1971. The Dukes were a farm team for the Detroit Tigers from 1960 to 1964 and several other teams in later years before the Northern League folded in 1971. The Dukes produced notable players such as Denny McLain, Bill Freehan, Gates Brown, Ray Oyler, Jim Northrup, Mickey Stanley, John Hiller, and Willie Horton, all of whom were members of the 1968 world champion Detroit Tigers.

Duluth is also home to Horton's Gym, the home gym of professional boxers Zach "Jungle Boy" Walters and Andy Kolle, as well as a number of other professional prizefighters.

Amateur sports

The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldog hockey games are a major event in town during the cold Duluth winters.[73] Games are televised locally, and thousands watch the games in person at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC). A new hockey arena, Amsoil Arena, opened Dec. 30, 2010, adjacent to the DECC. Several Bulldogs, including hockey great Brett Hull, have gone on to success in the National Hockey League.[74] The UMD women's ice hockey team has won five NCAA Division I national championships (2001–03, 2008, 2010).[75] The 2010 title game against Cornell University lasted through nearly three full overtimes and was the longest women's ice hockey championship game in NCAA history. The 2003 women's Frozen Four tournament was played at the DECC with the Bulldogs claiming their third consecutive national title by defeating Harvard University via a dramatic double-overtime goal by Nora Tallus in front of a sellout home crowd. The 2008 Frozen Four tournament was also held at the DECC and saw the Bulldogs claim their fourth national title with a 4-0 shutout of the Wisconsin Badgers. The Women's Frozen Four was held in Amsoil Arena in 2012.[76]

On April 9, 2011, the Bulldog men's team defeated Michigan to win their first national championship in school history.[77]

The Duluth Clydesdales are a Junior ice hockey team that are a member of the Superior International Junior Hockey League which is governed by the Canadian Junior Hockey League and features players 16–20 years old from around the United States and Canada looking to further their hockey careers.

The Duluth Huskies is a college summer wood bat league baseball team based in Duluth and playing in the Northwoods League. The team plays its home games at Wade Stadium. The roster includes some of the top college baseball players in the country. The Huskies play 34 home games each summer between June and August.

The Duluth–Superior Shoremen is a semi-professional football team based in Duluth's Public Schools Stadium. It is in the Mid-American Football League and placed second in that league's championship game in 2005.

The Lake Superior Rage is a semi-professional football team based in Duluth East's stadium. They Play in the Northern Elite Football League.

The Duluth Xpress is an amateur baseball team that plays its games at the Ordean Middle School baseball field. The team is made up of current and former college players and former professional players. The Xpress competes in the Arrowhead League, a class B league in Minnesota town team baseball.

The Duluth Padres Baseball Club plays its home games at Bulldog Park on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth. The Padres is an amateur team composed of former high school players and current and former college players. The team competes in the Upper 13 League of the Wisconsin Baseball Association. The team was established in 2007 and played its first three seasons in Proctor, Minnesota, as the Proctor Padres. The Padres moved to Duluth in 2010 and changed its name to the Duluth Padres in 2011.

The Twin Ports North Stars are an amateur baseball team that plays its games at Ordean Field at Duluth East High School. The North Stars are composed of current and former college and professional baseball players who reside in the Twin Ports area. As of 2013, the North Stars compete out of the Arrowhead League, a Class B league in the Minnesota Baseball Association.

Dynamo Duluth plays bandy. Duluth is one of only a few places in the country where it's played. All league matches are played at Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval in Roseville.[78] In 2012, Dynamo Duluth finished 2nd in the league.[79] In 2009 they won North American Cup, which is rink bandy.[80]

The Harbor City Roller Dames, a 19+ league, was founded in 2007 and is Duluth–Superior's first women's flat-track roller derby league. There is also a second derby league in the Duluth–Superior area called Duluth Derby Divas. Unlike HCRD, it is an 18+ league.

Duluth innovations

First mall in the United States

Main article: Lake View Store

The Lake View Store was the first modern indoor mall built in the United States.[81] It was built in 1915, and is located in the U.S. Steel former company town of Morgan Park, now the present day neighborhood of Morgan Park of Duluth. It was estimated that 10,000 people toured the mall on its opening day. The building is two-stories with a full basement, and shops were originally located on all three levels. All of the stores were located within the interior of the mall with some shops being accessible from both inside and out. The first floor had a pharmacy and a department store with groceries, a butcher shop, clothing, hardware, furniture, and a general store. The second floor had a bank, dentist office, barber shop, hair salon, hat shop, billiard room, and auditorium. The basement had a shoe store and an ice making plant which made eight tons of ice per day for the mall and for Morgan Park residents. The mall building and the department store were owned and operated by U.S. Steel, however the pharmacy, bank, barber shop, hair salon, and dentist were among the privately run businesses.[82]

Birthplace of Pie a la Mode

Main article: Pie à la Mode

The desert Pie à la Mode, a slice of pie topped by a scoop of ice cream, was first invented and named by John Gieriet in Duluth in 1885. However, in the 1936 obituary of a man named Charles Watson Townsend, the claim was made that he was the inventor, and a controversy developed as to who really invented Pie a la Mode. A reporter from the St. Paul Pioneer Press read Townsend’s obituary in the New York Times and realized that the Times had incorrectly attributed the invention of “Pie a la Mode” to Townsend. The St. Paul reporter wanted to set the record straight, so the newspaper ran a story on May 23, 1936 about how the dessert was really invented inside a Superior Street restaurant in Duluth, Minnesota in the 1880s. The St. Paul newspaper indicated that the Duluth restaurant specifically served ice cream with blueberry pie. This was over a decade before Townsend first ordered pie with ice cream in New York, making Duluth the true birthplace of Pie a la Mode.[83][84][85][86]

Duluth Pack

The Duluth pack outlet store is located in the Canal Park area. A Duluth pack is a traditional portage pack used in canoe travel. A specialized type of backpack, Duluth packs are nearly square in order to fit easily in the bottom of a canoe. The Duluth pack has its roots in a French-Canadian named Camille Poirier. Arriving in Duluth in 1870 with a small stock of leather and tools, he began a shoe store and quickly made a go of it in what was then a booming frontier town on the shores of Lake Superior. Out of his small shoe shop on the waterfront, Poirier began building a new style canoe pack with a tumpline, sternum strap, and umbrella holder. Patented by Poirer in 1882, the original #3 Duluth Packs have changed little since they were first introduced.[87]

Jeno Paulucci, Chun King, Jeno's pizza, and pizza rolls

Duluth is the home of food magnate Jeno Paulucci. While working as a wholesale grocer in Hibbing in the late 1940s, Paulucci noticed a growing market for prepared Chinese food. Borrowing $2,500 from a friend, he started canning chow mein "seasoned to [his] own Italian taste", and selling it to retailers under the label Chun King. Chun King came to encompass an entire line of prepared Chinese food; at that time not available in grocery stores. In 1996 he sold his enterprise for $63 million. In 1968 Paulucci founded Jeno’s Inc., a company that sold frozen pizzas and a variety of other "Italian" foods. The most notable of these was undoubtedly his own invention, the pizza roll, a snack food consisting of an Italian filling wrapped in an egg roll wrapper. He sold Jeno’s Inc. for $135 million in 1985. [88]

Electric elevator

In 1887, Alexander Miles of Duluth patented an electric elevator He did not invent the first elevator, however, his design was very important. He improved the method of the opening and closing of elevator doors and he improved the closing of the opening to the elevator shaft when an elevator was not on that floor. At that time elevator patrons or operators were required to manually shut a door to cutoff access to the elevator shaft, and he created an automatic mechanism that closed access to the shaft.[89]

Films, television shows and recordings in Duluth

  • The Crash Test Dummies recorded Songs of the Unforgiven (2004) during a live performance at the Sacred Heart Church in Duluth
  • TV Series: Power, Privilege & Justice, Mystery in the Mansion (2005) – Filmed at Glensheen Mansion and aired on truTV
  • TV Series: Mystery Diagnosis (2005) – Aired on the Discovery Channel
  • TV Series: The Duck Factory (1984) – Though not a show about or filmed in Duluth, Jim Carrey's character was from Duluth, his character's parents also still lived there.
  • Battleground Minnesota (2005) – Documentary movie about the 2004 presidential elections in Minnesota
  • Sydämeni laulu (1948) – Finnish documentary movie
  • Minnesota: Land of Plenty (1942) – Documentary short subject by James A. Fitzpatrick
  • Iron Will (1994) – Walt Disney Pictures movie filmed in Duluth.
  • You'll Like My Mother (1972) – Feature film shot on location in and around Duluth, principally at Glensheen Historic Estate.
  • Far North (1988) – Feature film shot on location in and around Duluth.
  • The Good Son (1993) – Feature film partially shot on location near Duluth, namely Palisade Head on Lake Superior's north shore.

Set in Duluth

The short lived 1996 sitcom The Louie Show[90] was set in Duluth. Louie Anderson played psychotherapist Louie Lundgren.[91] The opening title sequence featured downtown Duluth buildings.

The 1983 Gore Vidal novel Duluth was set in a stylized version of Duluth.

The 2008 American sports comedy film Leatherheads, starring and directed by George Clooney, was set in Duluth. (Leatherheads was actually filmed in North and South Carolina.) The film featured a fictitious football team called the Duluth Bulldogs.

Thomas M. Disch's 1965 alien-invasion novel The Genocides is set primarily in a fictional community in adjacent Lake County called Tassel. A pivotal scene in the beginning of chapter four treats the incineration of the city of Duluth by the extraterrestrial invaders' machines with some detail, even mentioning downtown Duluth's Alworth Building and including a group of characters' escape along Highway 61.

A song ("Duluth") by Mason Jennings from the album Birds Flying Away. Released in year 2000 under Bar/None label.[92]

Notable residents and natives

Sister cities

Duluth has four sister cities as designated by Sister Cities International:[94]

See also



  • Macdonald, Dora Mary (1950). This is Duluth. Central High School Printing Department. Reprinted by Paradigm Press (1999). ISBN 1-889924-03-2

External links

  • City of Duluth – Official Website
  • Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce website
  • Duluth Public Library website
  • Perfect Duluth Day
  • Twin Ports Nightlife
  • Vintage Pictures of Duluth
  • Minnesota Historical Society.

Coordinates: 46°48′N 92°06′W / 46.8°N 92.1°W / 46.8; -92.1

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