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Duluth is a port city in the U.S. state of Minnesotamarker and the county seat of St. Louis Countymarker. The fourth largest city in Minnesota, Duluth had a total population of 86,918 in the 2000 census and 84,397 according to July 1, 2007 census estimates. The Duluth MSA had a population of 275,486 in 2000. At the westernmost point of the Great Lakes on the north shore of Lake Superiormarker, Duluth is linked to the Atlantic Oceanmarker away via the Great Lakesmarker and Erie Canal/New York State Barge Canal or Saint Lawrence Seaway passages and is the Atlantic Ocean's westernmost deep-water port.

Duluth forms a metropolitan area with Superior, Wisconsinmarker. Called the Twin Ports, these two cities share the Duluth-Superior Harbor and together are one of the most important ports on the Great Lakes, shipping coal, iron ore (taconite), and grain. As a tourist destination for the Midwest, Duluth features America's only all-freshwater aquarium, the Great Lakes Aquariummarker, the Aerial Lift Bridgemarker which spans the short canal into Duluth's harbor, "Park Point", the world's longest freshwater sandbar, spanning 6 miles, and is a launching point for the North Shore.

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



Minnesota Point from the hill above Duluth in 1875
Native American tribes had occupied the Duluth area for thousands of years. The original inhabitants are believed to have been members of Paleo-Indian cultures, followed by the "Old Copper" people, who hunted with spear points and knives and fished with metal hooks. Around two thousand years ago, the Woodlands people, known for their burial mounds and pottery, occupied the area. They also cultivated wild rice, a crop that continues to be harvested today by Ojibwa tribes in the region and is often seen being sold in the area, especially in Wisconsinmarker. The Sioux inhabited the region until the middle of the 17th century and there was an Indian village, known as Wi-ah-quah-ke-che-qume-eng at present day Fond du Lac, in about 1630. The Ojibway drove the Sioux out soon after 1654, when the "Chippewa" were forced from eastern seaboard areas by the Iroquois."

Duluth's name in the Ojibwe is Onigamiinsing ("at the little portage") due to the small and easy portage across Minnesota Pointmarker between Lake Superior and western St. Louis Bay forming Duluth's harbor. 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, Wisconsinmarker.

In 1659, Pierre Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart des Groseilliers went searching for furs in the Lake Superior region, and visited the area that became today’s Duluth. Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, the city's namesake, arrived in 1679 to settle rivalries between two Indian nations, the Dakota and the Ojibwa, and to advance fur trading missions in the area. His work allowed for this to occur, with the Ojibwa becoming middlemen between the French and the Dakota. As a result, the area prospered, and as early as 1692, the Hudson's Bay Company set up a small post at Fond du Lac.
Ruins of old Fond du Lac trading post, as they appeared in 1907

It was not until 1792 that the next trading post, on the Wisconsin side of the St. Louis River, was opened by Jean Baptiste Cadotte of the North West Company. A fire destroyed the post in 1800, but a German émigré, John Jacob Astor, constructed a post on the river's Minnesota side. The store initially floundered as a result of the Indians' insistence in trading with established English and French partners. However, Astor managed to convince the United States Congress to ban foreigners from trading in American territory. His American Fur Company was re-formed in 1816-17. Hard times hit the post once again by 1839 due to fashionable Europeans choosing silk hats over those made from beaver pelts.

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 with the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa, the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation was established upstream from Duluth near Cloquet, Minnesotamarker, and the Ojibwa population was relocated there.

Permanent settlement

Chester Terrace
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.

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 Citiesmarker was also constructed. Eleven small towns on both sides of the St. 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 nation-wide financial crisis led to nearly three quarters of the city's early pioneers leaving.

In the late 1860s, financier Jay Cooke (after whom the Jay Cooke State Parkmarker is named), convinced the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad to create an extension from St. Paulmarker to Duluth. The railroad opened areas due north and west of Lake Superiormarker to iron ore mining. Duluth's population on New Year's Day, 1869 consisted of fourteen families; by the Fourth of July, 3,500 people were present to celebrate.

Twentieth century

By the end of the nineteenth century, Duluth was a thriving city. Duluth was home to more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world, and had become a favorite summer playground for the rich and the famous of the day. Magnificent manor homes and Victorian mansions welcomed family and friends to lavish social events. At the turn of the century, the city's port passed New York Citymarker and Chicagomarker in gross tonnage handled, elevating it to the leading port in the United Statesmarker. Meanwhile, there were ten newspapers, six banks, and an eleven-story skyscraper, the Torrey Building, already present in the town. In 1907, U.S. Steel announced that a $5 – $6 million plant would be constructed in the area. Although steel production only began eight years later, predictions held that Duluth's population would rise to 200,000 to 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 also founded in the early twentieth Century and became a major manufacturer and exporter of automotive tools.

The city experienced a large immigrant influx during the early twentieth century, and Duluth became home to one of the largest Finnish communities in the world outside of Finlandmarker. 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 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, Austria, Ireland, England, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine, Romania, and Russia.

A tragic event in Duluth history occurred on June 15, 1920, when three African American circus workers were attacked and lynched by a mob after rumors had circulated that six African Americans had raped a teenage girl. The Duluth lynchings took place on 1st Street and 2nd Avenue East, where today three 7-foot-tall bronze statues of the men who were killed have been erected as a Memorial.

For the first half of the twentieth 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 St. Louis River, and a new neighborhood was formed around the operation, today known as Riverside. Similar industrial expansions took place during the Second World War, utilizing Duluth's large harbor and the area's vast resources for the war effort. The Population of Duluth (proper) continued to grow after the war and peaked at 107,884 in 1960.

By the late 1970s, foreign competition began to have a detrimental impact on the U.S. 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. 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 has been renovated with new red brick streets,skywalks, and new retail shops. Old warehouses along the waterfront were converted into cafés, shops, restaurants, and hotels, fashioning the new Canal Parkmarker as a trendy tourism-oriented district. The city's population, which had been experiencing a steady decline since the 1970s, has now stabilized to around 85,000.

At the beginning of the twenty first century, Duluth has become regional epicenter for banking, retail shopping, and medical care for northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, northwestern Michigan. It is estimated that more than 8,000 jobs in Duluth are directly related to the 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.

In 1918, the Cloquet Fire (named for the nearby town of Cloquetmarker) 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 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. 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.

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 Kentuckymarker on January 27, 1871 in the U.S. House; 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. The nearby city of Proctor, Minnesota is named for Congressman Knott.

Duluth, Minnesota's unofficial sister city, Duluth, Georgiamarker, 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 in 1871 just finished getting a railroad to the town, 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.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 87.3 square miles (226.2 km²). It is Minnesota's second largest city in terms of land area, surpassed only by Hibbingmarker. Of its 87.3 square miles, 68.0 square miles (176.1 km²) or 77.89% is land and 19.3 square miles (50.0 km²) or 22.11% is water. Duluth's canal connects Lake Superior to the Duluth-Superior harbor and the St. Louis River. The Aerial Lift Bridge connects Canal Parkmarker with Minnesota Pointmarker ("Park Point").

Duluth's geography is dominated by a rather steep hill which represents a transition from the elevation of Lake Superior's beach to that of the inland. It has been called 'the San Francisco of the Mid-West', referencing the California city's similar position on a hill, leading down to a busy harbor. This similarity was most evident before World War II, when Duluth had a network of street cars and an 'Incline,' which climbed its steep hill. The change in elevation is most evident when comparing Duluth's two airports. The Sky Harbor airport's weather station, situated on the Park Point sandbar, jutting into Lake Superior, (at 6 miles (9.65 km)) has an elevation of 607 feet (185 m), while Duluth International Airport atop the hill is at 1,427 feet (435 m).

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. The Goat Hill neighborhood overlooking the 'can of worms' freeway interchange above 22nd Avenue West is an example of this; another is Skyline Parkway, which is a roadway that extends from Thompson Hill, "West Duluth" near Interstate Highway 35 to the Lester River Neighborhood which is on the east side of the city. Skyline Parkway crosses nearly the entire length of Duluth and affords breathtaking views of the famous Aerial Lift Bridge, and Canal park to the many Industries that inhabit the largest inland port. Most importantly the tip of Lake Superior can be seen continously from high on the brow of the hill. Perhaps the most rapidly developing part of the city is a commercial mall and big-box retailer shopping strip "over the hill", the Miller Trunk corridor. Re-construction of U.S. Highway 53 is underway as well as a new international airport terminal as part of the governments Stimulus Reconstruction Program.


Shoreline in April
The city's climate is known for long, cold winters and cool summers. The nickname "The Air-Conditioned City" is given to Duluth due to the cooling effect that Lake Superior has on it during the summer months. Due to the "Hill Effect" as it is so named, Duluth has never had a tornado touchdown within the city limits. Severe thunderstorms do occasionally cross over the city during the summer months. Winter months however, temperatures often remain below zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18 °C) for periods of weeks. A normal winter brings consistent snow cover from October to April. Winter storms that pass south or east of Duluth can often set up easterly or northeasterly flow. Upslope lake-effect snow events can bring a foot (30 cm) or more of snow to the city while areas 50 miles (80 km) inland receive considerably less.

Lakewalk carriage ride in May
Summers are cool and comfortable, with daytime temperatures averaging in the 70s°F (20–30 °C) due to the cooling easterly winds of the lake (as opposed to occasional temperatures over 90 °F (32 °C) inland, although temperatures may remain below 50 °F (10 °C) during afternoons as late in the year as June along the Lake Superior shore, even when the inland temperature is in the 70s °F (mid-20s °C). 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. Due to the specific heat of the huge lake, seasons are substantially delayed, with November often much warmer than April. Great local variations are also common, due to the rapid change in elevation between the hill and shore-side. Often, this manifests itself as snow at the Miller Hill Mall and pouring rain in Canal Park at the same time.


Herb Bergson, former Mayor of Duluth, walking to an anti-poverty rally in November 2005

Duluth and its environs are experiencing moderate population growth. As of the census of 2000, there were 86,918 people, 35,500 households, and 19,918 families residing in the city. The population density was . There were 36,994 housing units at an average density of . 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 were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 23.6% were of German, 7.1% Polish, 16.8% Norwegian, 15.3% Swedish, 5.1% Italian, and 10.6% Irish, according to the 2000 Census.There were 35,500 households out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 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 made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 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% who were 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.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,766, and the median income for a family was $46,394. Males had a median income of $35,182 versus $24,965 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,969. About 8.6% of families and 15.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.


St. Louis County Courthouse
The current mayor of Duluth is Don Ness.

Duluth is located in Minnesota's 8th congressional district, represented by Jim Oberstar, a moderate DFLer, scoring 87% progressive on a range of issues.

Currently as of 2009 the city is experiencing a major budget deficit which has affected city services, such as street maintenance, water, gas and sanitary sewer maintenance and forced the reduction or elimination of many city managed social programs. All of these compounded problems have resulted in city staff reductions. The sanitary sewer overflow problems have forced residents to disconnect their homes drainage systems from the sanitary sewer system at significant cost to the homeowner and have been a source of contention.

In 2004, Duluth was center to a legal battle between the City Council, local residents, and the ACLU. The debate and eventual lawsuit revolved around a marble fixture inscribed with the Ten Commandments which resided on the lawn of City Hall. The city eventually agreed to remove the fixture, and it now resides on private property near the Comfort Suites Hotel on Canal Park Drive.

The city was featured in the New York Times article "The Next Retirement Time Bomb", because Duluth recently conducted a financial study of the health care benefits it has promised its retired city workers. It turned out that its future health care obligations would bankrupt the city government. Duluth is held in the article to be considered representative of many local governments that have not kept tabs on its future health-care obligations promised to retired workers. Duluth's own newspaper, the News Tribune, portrays prior mayor John Fedo, who was acquitted in a 1988 corruption trial while mayor, in an unflattering respect with regard to responsibility in this. Decades of local politicians have a hand in the matter, including former mayor Gary Doty, as unions are powerful in the area and winning their favor is a major factor in being elected.

During the 2000 presidential election, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader received over 7.0% of votes from Duluth residents, one of the highest in the country for a city with a population of at least 85,000.


Duluth is the regional hub not only for its own immediate area, but also for a large area encompassing northeastern Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin, and the western Upper Peninsulamarker of Michiganmarker. It remains 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 in oversized industrial machinery manufactured all around the world and destined for the tar sands oil extraction projects in northern Alberta.

Duluth is also a major scientific epicenter of aquatic biology . The City is home to the US EPA's Mid-Continent Ecology Division Laboratory and the University of MN, Duluth. From these institutions, many economically and scientifically important businesses have spawned support Duluth's economy. A small list of these businesses include ERA laboratories, LimnoLogic , 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, or to fishing and wilderness expeditions in Minnesota's far north, including the Superior National Forestmarker and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wildernessmarker. Tourists also may drive on the North Shore Scenic Drive to visit Gooseberry Falls State Parkmarker, Isle Royale National Parkmarker via ferry or visit Grand Portage National Monumentmarker in Grand Portage, Minnesota. Thunder Baymarker, Ontariomarker can be reached by following the highway into Canadamarker along Lake Superior.


The Duluth area marks the northern endpoint of Interstate 35, which stretches south to Laredo, Texasmarker. U.S. Highways that serve the area are Highway 53, which stretches from La Crosse, Wisconsinmarker to International Falls, Minnesotamarker and Highway 2 which stretches from Everett, Washingtonmarker to St.Ignacemarker in the Upper Peninsula of Michiganmarker. Just south of the city is Thompson Hill, from where most of the city can be seen from I-35, including the Aerial Lift Bridgemarker 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 the other connection is I-535 concurrent with U.S. 53 over the John Blatnik Bridgemarker.

There are many state highways that serve the area as well. Highway 23 runs diagonally across Minnesota, indirectly connecting Duluth to Sioux Falls, South Dakotamarker. Highway 33 provides a bypass of Duluth connecting I-35 to U.S. 53. Highway 61 provides access to Thunder Baymarker, Ontariomarker via the North Shore of Lake Superiormarker. Highway 194 provides a spur route into the city of Duluth known as "Central Entrance" and Mesaba Avenue. Wisc. Hwy. 13 reaches along Lake Superiormarker's South Shore. Finally, Wisc. Hwy. 35 runs along Wisconsin's western border for 412 miles (663 km) to its southern terminus at the Wisconsinmarker - Illinoismarker border (three miles north of East Dubuquemarker). Highway 61 and parts of Highways 2 and 53 are a section of the Lake Superior Circle Tour.

Duluth International Airportmarker serves the city and surrounding region. Nearby municipal airports are Duluth Sky Harbormarker, on Minnesota Point, and the Richard I. Bong Memorial Airport in Superior. Both the Bong Airport and Bong Bridge are named for famed WWII pilot, and highest-scoring American air ace Major Richard Ira "Dick" Bong, a native of nearby Poplar, WImarker (died 1945).

Duluth is a major shipping port for taconite. The former Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway, now Canadian National Railway operates taconite-hauling trains in the area. Duluth port facilities also handle substantial amounts of grain, limestone, dry bulk cement powder, rock salt, bentonite clay, wind turbine components, and a wide variety of oversized industrial machinery which require especially high and wide road and rail clearances to reach their destinations in the interior of North America. 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 services not only the Duluth area, but Superior, WImarker, as well. The DTA runs a system of buses manufactured by Gillig, including new hybrids.

Duluth is also serviced by Greyhound Lines and Jefferson Lines, with daily service to the Twin Citiesmarker.


Duluth gets electric power from Duluth-based Minnesota Power, a subsidiary of ALLETE Corporation. Minnesota Power produces energy at generation facilities located throughout northern Minnesota, as well as at 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 hydro-electric facilities, the largest of which is the Thomson Hydroelectric Dam just south of Duluth.


Local newspapers include the BusinessNorth monthly, the Duluth News Tribune, the Duluth Budgeteer News, and the free The Zenith, The Reader Weekly and Transistor.

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


Colleges and universities include the University of Minnesota Duluthmarker (UMD), The College of St. Scholasticamarker, Lake Superior College, Duluth Business University and Cosmetology Careers Unlimited. The UMD campus includes a medical school. The University of Wisconsin - Superiormarker and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College are in nearby Superior, Wisconsinmarker.

Most public schools are administered by Duluth Public Schools.There are several independent public charter schools in the Duluth area not administered by District 709 with open enrollment. IDS 709 is undergoing a reconstruction of all area schools. Called the "Red Plan" its goal is the reconstruction of some older schools to meet new educational guidlines, along with construction of a four new school buildings which will result in redistricting of students. As of 2009, the "Red Plan" has and is being contested in court by some citizens, due to its excessive cost and the selection of the construction management contractor.


Duluth's Graffiti Graveyard
attractions include a variety of arts opportunities. Museums include the Duluth Art Institute at the Duluth Depotmarker, the Tweed Museum of Artmarker at the University of Minnesota Duluthmarker, the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, and smaller local art galleries scattered around the city. See the List of Museums in Duluth. The Duluth Public Library has three locations. The city is the birthplace of Bob Dylan. Duluth is also home to a professional ballet company, the Minnesota Ballet. Duluth shares a symphony orchestra with Superior, Wisconsin, the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra[9990]. In summer there are often free concerts held in Chester Park where local musicians play for crowds, and the Bayfront Blues Festival is held in early August. Beginning in 2004, Duluth has celebrated Gay Pride with a parade on Labor Day weekend. The city celebrates the Homegrown Music Festival the first week in May each year. Started in 1998, the festival features over 130 local musical acts performing across the city. Another "music festival" is the "Junior Achievement High School ROCKS - Battle of the Bands," which showcases middle school and high school bands from central Minnesota to the Canadian border and northern Wisconsin. This event takes place at the DECC mid-April. Duluth is where the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards are given, honoring books about the region.There also exists under a section of I-35 a stretch of graffiti known as the Graffiti Graveyard. It is known throughout Duluth and many residents remember visiting the Graffiti Graveyard during their teenage years.

Parks and recreation

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

The Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is Duluth's annual sled dog race organized in February and named after John Beargrease, the son of the Anishinaabe Chief Makwabimidem and one of the first mail carriers between Two Harbors, Minnesotamarker and Grand Marais, Minnesotamarker. He and his brothers carried mail by sled dog, boat, and horse for almost twenty years between the two towns, where there was no road. Competitors can choose between two distances; the longer course takes a round trip from Duluth to the Boundary Waters Canoe Areamarker, and the course departs from Duluth and ends in Tofte, Minnesotamarker. The marathon was first held in 1980 and is acknowledged as a training ground for the larger and more elite Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

The city is home to the Duluth Curling Club, the Duluth Yacht Club, and the the Duluth-Superior Sailing Association.

Sites of interest

The noted Glensheen Historic Estatemarker, built by wealthy businessman Chester Adgate Congdon, can be found on the shore of Lake Superiormarker and is open to tours year-round. The Aerial Lift Bridgemarker, spanning the short canal into Duluth's harbor, is a vertical lift bridge. It was originally built as an exceedingly rare aerial transfer bridge. Historic Central High Schoolmarker towers over the harbor and features an 1890s classroom museum. The wreck of the Thomas Wilson, a classic early 20th century whaleback ore boat, lies underwater less than a mile outside the Duluth Harbor, the result of a collision. The USCGC Sundew a former USCG Seagoing Buoy Tender is a museum ship along the Duluth waterfront, as is the 610' long William A Irvinmarker

Great Lakes Aquariummarker Glensheen Historic Estatemarker The Thomas Wilson Aerial Lift Bridgemarker William A Irvinmarker Duluth sign


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

The Duluth-Superior Dukes of the Northern League Independent Professional Baseball played in West Duluth's Wade Stadiummarker from the League's inception in 1993 until 2002 when the team moved to Kansas City and became the Kansas City T-Bones. The Dukes were Northern League Champions in 1997. The Northern League, based out of the midwest, was also in operation off and on from 1902 to 1971, with the longest stint from 1932-1971. The Dukes were a farm team for the Detroit Tigers from 1960-1964, and several other teams in later years, before the Northern League folded in 1971. The Dukes produced notable players such as Denny McClain, Al Kaline, Bill Freehan, Gates Brown, Ray Oyler, Jim Northrup, Mickey Stanley, John Hiller, and Willie Horton, all who 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 Duluthmarker Bulldog hockey games are a major event in town during the cold Duluth winter. Games used to be televised locally, and thousands watch the games in person at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center marker. Several Bulldogs have gone on to success in the National Hockey League, including hockey great Brett Hull. In addition, the UMD Women's ice hockey team has won three consecutive NCAA National Championships (2001-2003), and won again in 2008. The 2003 Women's Frozen Four was played at the DECC, where the Bulldogs defeated Harvard on a dramatic double-overtime goal by Nora Tallus in front of a sellout home crowd.

The Duluth Huskies are a college summer wood bat league baseball team which is based in Duluth and plays in the Northwoods League. The team plays its home games at Wade Stadiummarker. They are made up from some of the top college baseball players in the country, playing 34 home games each summer between June and August.

The Duluth-Superior Shoremen are a semi-pro football team based in Duluth's Public Schools Stadium. They play for the Mid-American Football League, and placed second in that league's championship game in 2005.

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 college baseball players, ex-college baseball players, and ex-professional baseball players. The Xpress compete in the Arrowhead league which is a class B league of Minnesota town team baseball.

Dynamo Duluth plays bandy. That makes Duluth one of only a few spots in the country where that sport exists.

Films, television shows, and recordings in Duluth

  • The Crash Test Dummies recorded Songs of the Unforgiven (2004) during a live performance at the unique venue of the Sacred Heart Church, in Duluth.

  • TV Series: Power, Privilege & Justice, Mystery in the Mansion (2005) - Filmed at Glensheen Mansion and aired on truTV.

  • Battleground Minnesota - Release Date: September 1, 2005 - A documentary movie about the 2004 presidential elections in Minnesota.

  • Sydämeni laulu - Release Date: July 2, 1948 - Finnish Documentary movie.

  • Minnesota: Land of Plenty - Release Date: January 31, 1942 - Documentary short subject by James A. Fitzpatrick.

  • Iron Will - Release date: January 14, 1994 - Movie filmed in Duluth. This Walt Disney Pictures family and adventure film was directed by Charles Haid. It is based on the true story of Albert Campbell, who won a 522-mile dog-sled race race from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1917. The Movie stars Mackenzie Astin, Kevin Spacey, David Ogden Stiers, George Gerdes, Brian Cox, Penelope Windust, and August Schellenberg.

  • You'll Like My Mother - Release date: October 13, 1972 - Feature film shot on location in and around Duluth, principally at Glensheen Historic Estatemarker. Released by Universal Studios, this thriller stars Patty Duke as a very pregnant Francesca Kinsolving who travels thousands of miles to meet the mother of her dead soldier husband for the first time. The cold-hearted and distant mother-in-law, played by Rosemary Murphy, is forced to take in Francesca due to a raging blizzard. The longer Francesca is trapped in the house the more she discovers the disturbing secrets about her mother-in-law and the family. Co-starring Richard Thomas and Sian Barbara Allen.

Set in Duluth

The short lived 1996 sitcom, The Louie (Anderson) Show was set in Duluth. Louie Anderson played psychotherapist, Louie Lundgren. 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. Although the film was set in Duluth it was filmed in North and South Carolina. The film featured a fictionalized team called the Duluth Bulldogs.

Notable residents and natives

Sister cities

Duluth has four sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

See also



  • Macdonald, Dora Mary (1950). This is Duluth. Central High School Printing Department. Reprinted by Paradigm Press (1999). ISBN 1889924032

External links

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