More random photo finds from the News Tribune archives, that never quite found a home in their own Attic post.
If you have any information to share about these, please post a comment:
More random photo finds from the News Tribune archives, that never quite found a home in their own Attic post.
If you have any information to share about these, please post a comment:
Over the years I’ve pulled a number of photos from the News Tribune archives that, for one reason or another, didn’t result in a post on this site. Maybe I couldn’t locate the accompanying story, or I just didn’t have time to fully investigate the photo for a post.
So… here’s the first of what may be two or three compendiums of those photos. Some familiar, some not so much. If you have anything to add about them, please post a comment.
September 19, 1982
By Sylvia Wier
News Tribune & Herald
BLUEBERRY, Wis. — Ethel Jondreau is one tough cookie.
The 76 years, the sometimes-soprano wafting voice, the 5-foot-minus height are all disguises. You don’t want to mess with Ethel.
“When the guy couldn’t pay for the gas,” she said, “I told him, ‘I knew you were a crook the minute you came in the door.’ I asked him what his name was and he was dumb enough to tell me. And I said — since I knew the name when he said it — ‘Now I know you’re a crook.’ ”
“But he came back with the money.”
Between 6 and 6:45 a.m. every morning for the last 32 years of mornings, Ethel Jondreau has opened the door to the Blueberry Store just outside Maple, Wis., on Highway 2. It’s open Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, Easter, any holiday you name.
The door stays open until 11 p.m., maybe midnight. If it’s 2 a.m. and you need a jar of mustard, Ethel will probably open the door for you anyway.
No big deal. “The house is right in the other room,” she says.
The hours? “If I was out of here, what would I do? I’d be stuck in an old nursing home.”
From atop her stool perch behind the front counter, Ethel runs the general store, pumps gas, fights off robbers and bullies, and yields an attentive ear to every hard-luck story and its hard-luck teller.
About the robbers and bullies…
One day, seven years ago, Ethel heard a shot from down the road. Ethel, thinking it was the kids next door playing with some leftover Fourth of July fireworks, didn’t make a big deal out of it. But a little later a lady friend called about Irene Carlson, the widow next door who ran the Blueberry Antique Shop.
The lady on the phone explained that she and Carlson were supposed to go shopping, but Carlson hadn’t shown up yet. So Ethel and her friend went over and found Carlson lying dead inside the door, shot.
“Everyone at the funeral home said to me, ‘Move out of that place,’ ” Ethel recalls. (Ethel never did and she has her own ear-bending theories as to the why’s and who’s of the murder.)
Another time, she was on the phone with her daughter (“She talks for hours,” says Ethel) when she felt that something funny was going on in the store.
“I walked in there and these guys were in the store and said, ‘Hey, lady, this is a stickup.’ I said, ‘You won’t get much.’ And they said they just robbed so-and-so. Well, I don’t get excited about nothing. So I talked to them.
“And we talked and they said, ‘We intended to rob you, but since you’re such a nice lady, we’re not going to.’ ”
(Ethel figures that not getting excited probably kept her from getting robbed. She suspects Carlson “probably threw up a fit” and that accounts, in part, for her murder.)
There are the other stories: about the two would-be robbers she made fix the window she broke through, about the bureaucrats — from city attorneys to state licensors — she’s challenged.
“When the guy from the state told me I needed a license to sell rubbing alcohol and aspirin,” said Ethel, “I just took those bottles into the kitchen and said I would use them. He said, ‘You can’t do that. You can’t keep them in there.’
“I said, ‘Who are you trying to kid?’ Nothing can stop me from going out and buying a hundred bottles of aspirin if I want and putting them in my house. I asked him how much a license is and he said $25.
“Gee whiz, you might as well live in Russia. … You even have to pay to go to the toilet.”
Although Jondreau grew up in Blueberry, she didn’t start working at the store until moving back to Blueberry in 1950 after living in Minneapolis and other parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The store owner’s health was failing and Ethel was going to help out temporarily.
“Instead of 32 hours, it’s been 32 years,” she said.
She first lived with her daughter in the house attached to the back of the store and was paid $48 a month. When Ethel started to make a living off the store, she told the owners they wouldn’t have to pay her anymore.
The original owners eventually died, but the family kept the store — and Ethel.
She remembers Blueberry when there were “loads and loads” of blueberries, five saloons, a barbershop, four trains a day and a hundred townspeople.
The blueberries are pretty much gone (no forest fires to stimulate their growth anymore because of the Department of Natural Resources, says Ethel), as are the saloons, barbershop, trains and all but 28 of the townspeople.
And bread is no longer 15 cents and the case of pop that cost the Blueberry Store 50 cents in 1950 is $7.20 now. (There is one exception, though — the Blueberry Store still sells penny candy.) Gone are the store’s vegetable, meat and bakery sections.
“The milkman used to come once a day,” Ethel says somewhat incredulously. Now it’s twice a week
“It isn’t the same as it used to be,” says Ethel, not reluctantly, but matter-of-factly. “… They (the government) let everything get out of hand. They should have froze everything right after World War II.”
But Jondreau, in her front-row seat behind the counter, does not fret about the past or let the Highway 2 motor parade of life pass her by.
With people “coming and going all the time,” in the store and for card games in back at the house three or four times a week, there’s not enough time to sit around and talk about the good old days.
“Quit working?” says Ethel. “No. I enjoy it too much.”
Ethel Jondreau retired from the store in 1990, when she was 83, telling the News Tribune’s Sam Cook that year that “I’ve enjoyed every day of my life.” (According to that column, she started working at the store in 1948.) She moved a couple of miles away, to the farm where she grew up and where her grandchildren were living.
At the time, the new owner of the store building told the News Tribune that he planned to move an antique shop and welding business there.
Ethel died on June 8, 1996, at the age of 89.
As far as I know, the store building still stands along Highway 2 at County Highway O.
Share your memories by posting a comment.
Heavier-than-expected traffic on the High Bridge — particularly truck traffic — and the deterioration of the Arrowhead Bridge were among the reasons that city and state officials started looking at a new span linking West Duluth and Superior in the late 1960s.
In 1973, federal officials approved the route of the new high bridge carrying U.S. Highway 2 across the St. Louis River; the span initially was referred to as the Arrowhead Bridge, the same name as the one it was replacing. The bridge would link up with Interstate 35 and 46th Avenue West in Duluth, and Belknap Street in Superior.
The design was approved in 1976. The new bridge’s curving shape was a necessity because its land connections did not line up at right angles with the shipping channel in that location; the S-curve allowed for the center span to be perpendicular to the channel.
Ground was broken in September 1979, with Minnesota Gov. Al Quie and Wisconsin Gov. Lee Dreyfus on hand to turn shovels of dirt.
The Duluth and Superior city councils agreed to name the span after Major Richard I. Bong, the ace World War II fighter pilot from Poplar who died in 1945.
The bridge faced delays in federal funding that pushed back the completion date, and there was a controversy about the possible use of foreign steel in the project.
After five years of work and about $70 million, the Bong Bridge opened on Oct. 25, 1984. The federal government picked up 80 percent of the cost, with Minnesota and Wisconsin each chipping in 10 percent.
A ceremony to officially dedicate the bridge in Bong’s honor took place in July 1985. Members of Bong’s family, members of his old unit, the 49th Fighter Group, and other veterans joined local and state leaders for the event; four F-15 fighters flew overhead in formation.
“As we pass over this bridge from now on, I hope that people will remember one thing: There was a price tag attached to it — and I don’t mean construction,” Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen told the crowd.
The Bong Bridge extends about 8,395 feet from one side of the St. Louis River to the other — 425 feet longer than the Blatnik Bridge. It’s about 11,800 feet long when approaches are included; in comparison, the Golden Gate Bridge is 8,981 feet long, approaches included. The Bong Bridge gives a clearance of about 120 feet for ships passing beneath the center span.
The center point of the center span is about 4 feet east of the official Minnesota-Wisconsin state line.
The bridge required 82,000 cubic yards of concrete and 31,000 tons of steel — including 54 miles of steel piles, with each pile driven 200 to 250 feet into the river bottom.
As of 2013, the bridge was seeing an average of about 15,000 vehicles a day. With required maintenance, the bridge was designed to last about 75 years; it underwent its first major maintenance project in 2014-15.
Share your memories by posting a comment.
Some of the major weather events that have affected the Northland in the past 150 years
November 1872: A “great storm” wrecked the Duluth harbor breakwater “to such an extent as to expose the elevator, warehouses and docks on the lakeshore to serious damage,” according to a history of the harbor published in the News Tribune in 1899.
July 16, 1891: A windstorm demolished buildings in Superior; at least two men died when a hotel under construction on Lamborn Avenue collapsed, the Duluth Daily Tribune reported. In Duluth, cedar paving blocks from Fourth Street were washed down Lake Avenue by floodwaters; the rainfall was the heaviest in memory.
March 9, 1892: A blizzard brought Duluth to a standstill, stalling street car traffic and stranding workers downtown. Many residents “tunneled through snow from their front doors to the street, and snow was piled up to the second-story windows,” the News Tribune recounted in a look back several years later.
Nov. 27-28, 1905: The “Mataafa Storm,” named for the freighter that was stranded offshore from Canal Park in Duluth with the loss of nine lives. The storm brought winds gusting to 70 mph. “Telephone, telegraph and street car communication was interrupted … and scores of persons were unable to get home,” the News Tribune reported on Nov. 28. “It is claimed by some of the old time lake men that the waves in the harbor were the highest seen in years.” Ships also were wrecked along the North Shore, and the storm spurred the construction of Split Rock Lighthouse.
July 21-22, 1909: A violent rainstorm flooded streets and homes in Duluth, and claimed the lives of two young children who were swept out of their mother’s arms as she tried to reach safety at Ninth Avenue East and Second Street. “Floods of water poured down every avenue, making Superior Street an almost impassable river, bringing with it big timbers, paving blocks and debris,” the News Tribune reported. Water flowed into the Bijou Theater and filled the orchestra pit as the musicians scrambled to escape.
Nov. 7-11, 1913: Sometimes known as the “White Hurricane,” this massive storm produced high winds in Duluth but intensified to the east to become on of the biggest storms in Great Lakes history. Wind speeds up to 90 mph created waves 35 feet high. More than a dozen ships foundered, and about 250 sailors died. The wreck of one of those ships — the Henry B. Smith — was discovered in 2013 offshore from Marquette, Mich., by a group of shipwreck hunters with Northland ties.
March 3-5, 1935: Duluth was “practically an isolated city,” linked to the outside world only by radio, after a major ice storm cut utilities and left roads impassable. There was major tree and utility damage from Hinckley and Moose Lake, across all of Duluth and Superior and up to the Iron Range and North Shore. Utility companies reported the damage was “the worst since electricity came to Duluth,” the News Tribune reported; one transmission line was down for several miles from Nopeming into Duluth, with the mangled wires frozen together.
Nov. 11-12, 1940: The Armistice Day Blizzard arrived suddenly, bringing a sharp drop in temperatures and heavy snow that stranded hundreds of motorists and hunters in the elements across the Midwest; dozens of people died. The Northland saw heavy snow and wind but escaped the worst of the storm — though there were some Northland residents among the crews of two ships that sank with all hands on Lake Michigan.
July 16-17, 1942: Torrential rain in excess of 8 inches led to flash flooding and major damage in Bayfield, carving out deep gullies in some places and depositing vast amounts of gravel and sand elsewhere, the National Weather Service reported.
Sept. 9-10, 1947: Hibbing saw 8.6 inches of rain in five hours, flooding an estimated 75 percent of basements in town. There was flooding across the Range; U.S. Highway 169 was closed, and several mining operations saw damage.
March 26-27, 1950: As Duluth welcomed home the state basketball champion Duluth Central Trojans, a sleet and ice storm caused widespread phone and power outages and downed hundreds of utility poles.
Dec. 4-8, 1950: A winter storm brought more than 30 inches of snow to Duluth over five days; crews struggled to clear streets after about a third of the city’s snow-removal equipment broke down.
May 26, 1958: A possible tornado caused damage in Duluth, including the collapse of a garage on Greene Street in West Duluth. Athletes and spectators at the city track meet at Public Schools Stadium had to take cover. To the north, large hail caused damage in Eveleth.
Nov. 28, 1960: Winds estimated at 75 mph kicked up huge waves on Lake Superior, which sent water and debris into Canal Park. The breakwaters along the Superior Entry were damaged, stranding two Coast Guardsmen in the lighthouse there for about two days, the News Tribune reported. There also was flooding in downtown Grand Marais, and about 1,000 cords of timber stockpiled on the waterfront was washed into the harbor.
March 1-5, 1966: A prolonged winter storm caused widespread power outages over several days and brought business to a halt in downtown Duluth. The Finland Air Force Station along the North Shore was cut off for several days as plow crews struggled to cut through 15-foot drifts.
April 30, 1967: Gale-force winds sent waves crashing over the piers of the Duluth ship canal. Three teenage brothers from Duluth drowned when they were swept off the north pier; a Coast Guardsman who attempted to rescue them also died.
Aug. 6, 1969: Two people died when an F3 tornado touched down near Boulder Lake and tracked east to Two Harbors. It was part of a large outbreak of tornadoes across Minnesota that day; another one that hit the community of Outing caused 12 deaths and injured 70.
August-September 1972: On Aug. 20, 1972, Duluth saw 3 inches of rain in two hours — after what had already been a very wet summer — causing major damage to streets on the hillside. Sixth Avenue East was among the hardest-hit locations. To the west, tons of sand stockpiled for the project to connect Piedmont Avenue with Interstate 35 washed down 20th Avenue West and closed Superior Street. A month later, an early-morning storm dropped another 4 to 6 inches of rain, undoing many of the repairs from the month before and affecting more areas, including Proctor. Two people died when their car went into a washout northeast of Two Harbors. Combined, the storms caused an estimated $41 million in damage — more than $200 million in today’s dollars.
March 23-25, 1975: A blizzard dropped more than a foot of snow and brought winds that reportedly gusted to 100 mph in Duluth, the Weather Service reported. Huge waves on Lake Superior sent debris into Canal Park, including into first-floor rooms of what was then a Holiday Inn along the shore. Interstate 35 was closed between Duluth and the Twin Cities, and waves damaged the Two Harbors municipal water plant. Another blizzard brought 12-plus inches of snow to Duluth days later — and all of that followed another blizzard that in January had dropped close to two feet of snow to parts of the Northland.
Nov. 10, 1975: A storm that brought relatively little snow and wind to the Northland intensified as it moved over eastern Lake Superior, where it produced hurricane-force winds that hit the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald. The Fitzgerald sank with the loss of all 29 men aboard, an tragedy remembered each Nov. 10 with a memorial observance at Split Rock Lighthouse.
Nov. 20, 1982: A late-autumn rainstorm combined with melting snow to cause flooding in the Twin Ports. Tischer, Miller and Keene creeks left their banks; floodwaters surrounded the Irving Recreation Center.
March 3-4, 1985: A blizzard brought wind gusts in excess of 90 mph to Duluth, created drifts in excess of 20 feet on Park Point and shut down the freeways and bridges in the Twin Ports at times.
Nov. 18, 1985: Winds gusting to near 70 mph pushed the anchored 585-foot freighter Socrates onto the beach of Park Point, where it remained stuck in the sand just offshore for nearly a week and became a tourist attraction of sorts until it was freed with the help of eight tugboats.
June 21, 1986: Hours after Grandma’s Marathon, a violent storm moved through the Twin Ports with winds in excess of 80 mph. It downed trees and power lines, flipped planes at Sky Harbor Airport and broke the moorings of six mothballed or derelict freighters around the harbor. One — the Joshua A. Hatfield — was blown across Superior Bay and went aground on the harbor side of Park Point.
March 22-23, 1991: A major ice storm hit Duluth, which combined with high winds to topple the 850-foot-tall WDIO-TV broadcast tower — which in turn hit a power line that knocked out power to all TV and radio stations in town except for KDAL-AM. There was ice up to 6 inches thick on the wreckage after the storm passed. The storm also caused widespread tree damage across the region.
Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 1991: Halloween blizzard dropped more than 3 feet of snow on Duluth and brought travel to a near standstill across the city and region. Read more about it elsewhere in this section.
July 4, 1999: A windstorm known as a derecho swept across the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with winds estimated at 80-100 mph, downing millions of trees. Several dozen campers were injured — but, miraculously, no one was killed. The downed trees created an immense amount of potential fuel for wildfires — a danger that persists to this day.
June 18, 2001: An F3 tornado touched down in Burnett County, causing severe damage in the community of Siren. Three people died, and more than a dozen were injured.
March 1-2, 2007: Widespread snowfall of 20 or more inches and winds in excess of 60 mph hit Duluth and the Northland. Snow fell at a rate of 2 inches per hour at times, and was accompanied by thunder and lightning. Plows were pulled from the roads at the height of the blizzard, and access to Park Point was cut off. Earlier that same week, another storm had dropped about 18 inches of snow on Duluth.
April 5-7, 2008: A persistent band of heavy snow dropped as much as 32 inches just north of Virginia — possibly the greatest April snow event in state history.
June 6, 2008: A half-foot of rain in a short amount of time caused flash flooding in Grand Marais and elsewhere in Cook County, washing out roads and flooding basements.
March 23-25, 2009: Steady rain and temperatures just below freezing combined for a major ice storm on parts of the North Shore, including the Silver Bay and Finland areas. Tens of thousands of trees snapped under the weight of more than an inch of ice.
Dec. 24-26, 2009: Just in time for Christmas, Mother Nature brought 2 feet of heavy, wet snow to the Twin Ports and winds to 55 mph.
June 19-20, 2012: Six to 10 inches of rain fell on top of already-saturated ground in the Twin Ports, leading to widespread, catastrophic flooding. There was flash flooding in Duluth, Superior and surrounding communities, and a longer-duration flood event in the Moose Lake area. The Lake Superior Zoo suffered major damage and the death of some animals, and major roadways — including Interstate 35 — were closed for a time. Damage reached the millions of dollars — but no people died or were seriously injured.
March-April 2013: After Duluth started the winter with below-average snowfall, the city saw 25.5 inches of snow in March — double the normal amount. Then, in April, the Duluth airport recorded 50.8 inches of snow — the most ever recorded in a single month in the city’s history. Cross-country skiers were out on the Birkebeiner trail near Hayward into May, but the extended winter wreaked havoc on spring sports, gardens and the fishing opener. The season total was 129.4 inches of snow — surpassed by the next season’s 130.2 inches. The record for Duluth remains 135.4 inches, in 1995-96.
July 11-12, 2016: Three people died after storms with torrential rainfall caused major flooding in Northwestern Wisconsin and parts of Carlton and Pine counties, including more than $10 million in damage at Saxon Harbor along Lake Superior.
July 21, 2016: A line of storms brought winds that may have exceeded 100 mph in the Duluth area, causing widespread damage to trees, buildings and power lines. Some homes were without power for days. The same storms claimed the lives of two campers in Quetico Provincial Park, and caused major damage in Hill City and Ely. It was the largest of several damaging windstorms to affect the region that summer.
Oct. 27, 2017: A storm brought heavy snow and northeast winds gusting to more than 60 mph. Already-high water levels on Lake Superior combined with 20-foot waves to cause major damage along the Lakewalk and at Brighton Beach in Duluth, and caused major beach erosion on Park Point. Damage in Duluth was estimated at $2.5 million. Damage also was reported in the Apostle Islands, and at locations along the North Shore.
— Compiled by Andrew Krueger. Sources: News Tribune archives; National Weather Service; “Minnesota Weather Almanac” by Mark Seeley; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Minnesota State Climatology Office
Feb. 14, 1988
By Don Jacobson, News-Tribune
The death of 95-year-old Joe Huie, former Duluth restaurateur, on Friday (Feb. 12, 1988) brought forth a flood of memories from residents who recalled Huie’s eatery as “the” place to go in Duluth.
Joe Huie’s Cafe was known not only for authentic Oriental food at great prices, but also for the fun and companionship that were always part of the meal, the residents said.
But even more than the restaurant, the residents remembered Joe Huie himself. He was described as honest, hard-working and always willing to help a friend — of which he had many, from residents of skid row to prominent politicians.
Joe Huie came to Duluth in 1909 from Canton, China. After working in several other restaurants, he opened Joe Huie’s Cafe in the 1940s.
Joe Huie’s Cafe was an unpretentious, somewhat cramped restaurant at 103 Lake Ave. S. It had wooden booths, unadorned walls and ceilings and a utilitarian lunch counter.
It was an around-the-clock operation which became especially popular with the bar-rush crowd.
“I remember that people would stand in line to get into Joe Huie’s at 1 a.m. and the line would stretch for blocks,” said Walter Pietrowski, a Park Point resident. “It didn’t matter if it was raining or if there was a blizzard — they’d be out there.”
Pietrowski described Huie as “just a wonderful guy who never got mad, not even at drunks. It was the kind of place that you could go to at night and see every kind of person, from women in ballroom gowns to street people. It was a real melting pot.”
Pietrowski remembered that Huie would come down to the grocery wholesale house where he worked as a teenager to buy vegetables. “He was incredibly punctual, every day at exactly the same time. And he would only buy the best vegetables, and would mark them to make sure they were the same ones that we delivered to him.”
Duluth’s residents “lost an institution when they lost Joe Huie,” said multimillionaire Jeno Paulucci on Saturday, himself no stranger to Chinese food. “What I remember most about him was that no matter who you were or when you went there, you were welcome. He was an honest, friendly man. And he was such a hard worker. No matter how early I would stop by, he was there.”
Huie’s was also a favorite spot of Duluth police officers. Duluth Police Chief Eli Miletich said he remembered Joe Huie’s Cafe as such a popular place that “people would drive up from the Twin Cities just to have a meal there.”
“Joe himself was a gentleman among gentlemen,” Miletich said. “When I was a young officer, we would have coffee there and he would tell us great tales from his own youth.
“Joe Huie represented the best of the people of Duluth.”
Miletich recalled one incident that happened around 1970. Former Vice President Hubert Humphrey was in Duluth for “some function or another,” Miletich said.
“It was a quiet Saturday morning, and Humphrey was driving up the street toward the airport, where he had a plane waiting for him. As we were going up Lake Avenue, he saw Joe on the street and immediately stopped the motorcade.
“He jumped out, hugged him, and talked to him for a good 10 minutes while his aides were tugging at his sleeve.”
Humphrey had no political motive to do it, Miletich said. “He just loved Joe like everybody else.”
Share your memories by posting a comment.
May 13, 1977
The Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific Railway trestle was a familiar landmark in West Duluth for decades, until it was removed in the 1980s (do any of you know the exact date?)
The view above, looking west from near the corner of Central and Grand avenues, was taken on May 13, 1977. Here’s the same general view today:
The trestle was featured in an earlier Attic post. Here’s that aerial photo again, from 1982:
You can see the DWP trestle slicing across West Duluth in the upper half of the image. Here’s a zoomed-in view:
And here’s one more aerial photo from the 1982, from a slightly different angle, looking northeast along Grand Avenue and showing the curve of the trestle:
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May 14, 1984
Was it a joke? Or was someone really giving away this adorable puppy one day in Duluth in May 1984?
It’s a mystery from deep in the files of the News Tribune. Maybe one of you out there knows the answer.
News Tribune photographer Jack Rendulich, who took the picture on May 14, 1984, wrote at the time that he had no more information than the scene he captured on film: A puppy, tied up in the yard of a home on the 4400 block of West Eighth Street in Duluth, with a sign saying “FREE PUPPY.”
Rendulich wrote on the back of the photo that it was taken too early in the morning to knock on the door, and later attempts to reach the occupants by phone were unsuccessful — as was another stop at the home later in the day. It ran in the News Tribune the following day.
Reached this week, Rendulich recalled that he lived nearby at the time, and was headed into work when he saw the puppy and stopped to take the picture. He didn’t recall ever hearing any more details about the puppy and the circumstances after the photo ran.
Of course, the dog — wherever it ended up — is long-gone now. But maybe someone out there knows the answer to the lingering mystery of this photo. If you do, please post a comment.
Last fall, the News Tribune produced a “premium section” for its print subscribers, focused on the maritime heritage of the Twin Ports.
As part of that section, I compiled a history of all the bridges linking Duluth and Superior, past and present. Now that a few months have gone by, I thought I’d share those stories here in the Attic, so they can hopefully reach a new audience. I’ll post them occasionally, starting with the oldest spans and working to the newest.
Here’s the history of the first bridge to span the harbor: the St. Louis Bay Bridge.
This railroad bridge, opened in 1885 by the Northern Pacific Railway, was the first to link Duluth and Superior. It spanned St. Louis Bay west of the present-day Blatnik Bridge, leaving Rice’s Point in Duluth at an angle across to Interstate Island (often called Bird Island) — the gull-covered island in the middle of the bay. It skirted the eastern edge of that island and headed over to Superior.
“The completion of the Northern Pacific’s bridge marks a new era in the history of the Lake Superior country,” the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported in July 1885, in a piece picked up by the Duluth Daily Tribune. “All the practical lake towns will be brought in close proximity to each other, and freight can be transferred without delay or great cost.”
The bridge crossed two shipping channels — one on each side of the island — and so it featured two swing spans, known as the Wisconsin Draw and Minnesota Draw. Some sources referred to the overall structure as two bridges.
The bridge apparently was initially open to foot traffic as well as trains — though the Duluth Daily Tribune reported on Aug. 7, 1885, that “the railroad company has, for some reason, determined to restrict the bridge entirely to its own use, probably hoping thereby to gain more patronage for its short line trains. Accordingly two brothers, Louis and Oliver Trendo, were yesterday sworn as special policemen, without pay from the city. Their duty will be to guard the Minnesota end from trespassers, one being on nights and the other in the daytime.”
On June 1, 1984 — nearly 100 years after the St. Louis Bay Bridge opened — the News Tribune reported that Burlington Northern Railroad, the successor to Northern Pacific, was closing the span as a cost-saving measure and sending its trains to use the Grassy Point Bridge to the west.
In September 1986, the News Tribune reported that crews were using dynamite to demolish the Minnesota Draw portion of the abandoned bridge.
Share your memories and stories by posting a comment.
April 5, 1985
Bob Ashenmacher, Duluth News-Tribune
How do they do it?
How does the Last Place on Earth record store at 102 E. Superior St. sell the Top 30 albums and cassette tapes for $4.98 when many record stores charge $8.98?
“We’re losing money on the $4.98 price,” said owner Jim Carlson of Duluth. “Our wholesale price is $5.75 and with freight and handling you’re supposed to come out at about $6 to break even. The suggested list (price) is $8.98.” Some of the latest popular releases, such as the current albums by Foreigner and Duran Duran, are as high as $9.98 in some stores, Carlson said.
The $4.98 albums and tapes are what’s called a “loss leader” item, meaning they lose a certain amount of money for the store but bring in patrons who end up buying other items, ultimately increasing business and spurring profits.
The Last Place on Earth’s moneymakers are other albums priced at $7.50 and merchandise such as smoking paraphernalia, posters, T-shirts and martial arts supplies.
“I got the idea from a record magazine,” Carlson said. “A store in Florida did it and just increased business tremendously.”
The gambit has worked, he said. Since implementing it on March 4, the store’s fourth anniversary, “we’ve done almost as good as Christmas, and March should be a dead month.”
In the last year Carlson has increased his work force from four full-time employees to eight full-time and one part-time. His current location has three times the floor space and double the inventory of his old storefront, down the street a bit.
The record companies don’t mind his low prices, he said, “because if a kid goes up to Musicland he gets one record for $10. He comes down here and gets two records for $10, so they move twice as much product.”
The Last Place on Earth was located at 102 E. Superior St. when that story ran in 1985; it had moved to 33 E. Superior St. — the building seen above — by 1994.
In 1996, that building was facing condemnation — it’s now the location of the Technology Village building — and Carlson moved a block down the street to 120 E. Superior St. That’s where Last Place on Earth would remain until it was shut down by authorities in 2013. Carlson is serving a 17½-year prison sentence on charges that he sold illegal synthetic drugs out of the building.
The building at 120 E. Superior St. now is slated to house a brewery and taproom for Blacklist Artisan Ales.
Some more photos of the Last Place on Earth buildings can be found below; click on any of the images with this post for a larger view. Share your stories and memories by posting a comment.