I couldn’t believe it took me so long it took for me, having lived in Duluth, Minnesota for five years, to get onto an abandoned laker. Still afloat, the JB Ford launched in 1904 to carry iron ore and was later converted as a floating concrete carrier. Welcome aboard.
Since the 1890s, little has changed on North First Street. The Twohy and Osborn buildings have survived a century just a block off the beaten path, just out of sight of downtown. A few good stories hide there; these are some of them.
Duluth’s steel mill was all about moving production closer to raw product; instead of shipping ore via Dock 5 or Allouez the steel could be forged locally. While I explore the plant’s ruinous footprint, I talk about the history of the Duluth US Steel Mill from construction to demolition.
It’s an industrial lighthouse keeping watch over the Mississippi and its favorite city. Some read the flashing neon as “GOLD MEDAL FLOUR”. I read “REMEMBER”.
When their husbands clocked-in at Studebaker across the street, the women of Wilson Brothers lined up behind sewing machines to earn a paycheck themselves.
When a brewery cave system from the 1870s opens its lungs for a breath of downtown air, you better jump in head first, or you might never get another chance. Journey underground to see the panoramic and multi-level cave with ceilings of sand and stairs of stone.