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Great Northern: 1905

Great Northern: 1905

We're making up for the Duluthlessness of the past few days with this ultra-detailed circa 1905 view of the Zenith City. Detroit Publishing. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Ideal Beer Hall

I have a puff piece newspaper article on the opening of the Ideal Beer Hall. They carried "Bud." It was supposed to be a classy place. My g-grandfather's brother had a sleazy saloon downtown, but it was on the avenue and can't be seen. Drat.

It's probably too long to post here. I'll find a place to post it and get you a link.

Directions to Duluth

For those who've wondered at there being no people around, and how gritty everything looks, you're looking at the south end of a city facing north.

In downtown Duluth the streets go east and west, and the avenues go up and down the hill. In the six photos of the panorama on Shorpy (so far I've found four), west is to the left and east is to the right. The viaduct in the far right of "Duluth 1905" is Lake Avenue, which is the starting point for the numbering of avenues. The Union RR Depot at the left edge of "Duluth Cont." (just left of the "SELZ" sign) is on Fifth Avenue West and Michigan Street. The row of buildings between the two face Michigan Street, but you are looking at the backs. One block up the hill is Superior Street, the main drag of downtown. That's where all the people are.

I'm another RR fan, fascinated at the rolling stock. Coal was the principal heating fuel and it was everywhere. When in doubt presume a gondola is filled with coal.

Like so many other cities, Duluth had its industry concentrated at water's edge for transportation. After Ike's Interstate Highway system developed, the city needed to spend many years cleaning up the coal dust on the waterfront for the tourism industry.

A nice town

Oh how I hate driving up that hill in the winter. Coming down it in the spring, summer, and fall is another story, though. Driving down you get a great view of the lake and will often see boats. During the shipping season you see a lot of bulk carriers, which we usually just call ore boats, even though they sometimes carry other things. They're thousand-footers that look dwarfed by the vastness of the water, but so big for a lake all at the same time. Northern Minnesota, especially along Lake Superior, is such a beautiful part of the country and I feel blessed to live here!

Groceries Wholesale & Consumer

Were those windows punched out after the sign was there, or...? I can't come up with another explanation for the placement of that sign.

Pile Driver

They must have run out of pilings for the pile driver as I see no smoke or steam coming from the hoisting engine. Nice Duplex pump beside the hoisting engine.


I would love to see a puzzle made out of this picture. It would be intense.

Horse on the roof

Is that a horse on the roof of the Minnesota Candy Kitchen?

[It's on the street. - Dave]

A trip to the candy store

Excerpts From "Panders and Their White Slaves" By Clifford Griffith Roe, 1910, pages 29 & 30:

The case of the girl from Duluth, Minnesota, which I recalled during the trial of Panzy Williams, came to the notice of the courts December 15, 1906...Morris Goldstein, alias Leroy Devoe, in the latter part of 1906, met Henrietta B__ in front of the St. James Hotel in Duluth, Minnesota. Goldstein approached the girl and said:

"Good-evening. Where are you going?"

The girl told him that she was going home. He answered:

"Well, can't I talk to you a little?"

The girl said, "I don't know you."

He then explained that he was the manager of a play and would like to get some more girls for his company...

He made an appointment to meet her on the second night after that at Second Avenue and Superior Street, near the Roller Rink. The rest of the story I quote in the girl's own words.

"I met him that night at the appointed place and he walked home with me. On the way home he talked about the play and asked me if I had ever had any experience. He said nothing out of the way that night and I then made an appointment to meet him the next Saturday night at the Minnesota Candy Kitchen at six-thirty p.m. I had told my folks that I was to meet the manager of a play before I left home Saturday..."

Re: Well, Professor Harold Hill's on hand...

A lot of organizations had brass bands in the 1890s, so I wonder if this is someone returning from "Northern Pacific Brass Band" practice. But I don't see enough instruments to make up the full band, so maybe this guy retreated to the rail yards to practice, where any bad noises would be drowned out by the trains (kinda like when my brother was learning bagpipes and he was banished to the basement to practice.)

Superior Slabs

The slabs in the railcar would have been locally quarried Wisconsin brownstone, which was in vogue at the time. There were a number of brownstone quarries operating along the Lake Superior shore.

Well, Professor Harold Hill's on hand...

Is that a brass band walking along the tracks, front and center? Looks like the 2 lead walkers are carrying baritones or euphoniums. And further along to the left is a man carrying what might be a tuba.

Deja vu all over again

The swaybacked coal car returns. This time one of the kids has jumped on top of the coal. The other is on the roof of the boxcar.

Variety of rolling stock

Not many railcars are visible in this picture, but there's quite a variety: regular boxcars, coal cars, refrigerator cars, flat cars carrying logs, flat cars carrying what look like cut stone slabs, and even a livestock car.

These are great!

I live in the Twin Cities and get up to Duluth every couple of years. Many of the old buildings are still there, so it would be fun to find a current panorama of the city and make some comparisons. The ones I can find are shot from up high out toward the harbor.

Todas las casitas iguales. Todas mirando para el mismo sitio.

Es impactante la persistencia de un módulo específico de edificación y la consistente orientación de casi todas las fachadas.
Otra cuestión, este trozo, ¡parece un barco fluvial!
Gracias Shorpy.

I love the detail in this one

What strikes me is that there's so much commercial activity in relation to the number of residences. Was the main residential area behind the photographer?

[Only if you're a fish. - Dave]

I Excel

I see that the Thompson Produce Co. is a proud purveyor of the "IXL" brand of foods. Originally an Australian fruit and jam company, IXL was later bought out by Smuckers, and then by Coca Cola.

Evidently the brand name was a play on the owner's personal motto of "'I excel in everything I do'.

IXL? OU812!

Ideal Beer Hall.

As if there could be a bad beer hall.


Paine and Nixon.

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