The opening of the Duluth Ship Canal brought new waters to Rice’s Point, seeding the grain elevators that would rise for the next century. From those grains, silos like shoots of bamboo would burst from manmade peninsulas flanked by deep shipping canals dredged from the bottom of Lake Superior itself.
Next time you find yourself near Garfield Avenue, look between the Duluth skyline and our modern-day elevator row. You likely could not have the Alworth without Consolidated, Medical Arts without Capitol, Board of Trade without Peavey.
Checking out the neighbors. Shot on a the legendary Pentax 67.
Looking toward the famous Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge from Lake Superior. Shot on a the legendary Pentax 67.
Capitol 6 has three annexes. It must have a massive capacity. Note the poor condition of the breakwater.
Looking at the huge and modern Cargill B2 from the circa-1919 Lake Superior “I”. This is a rather unique perspective of Enger Tower and Skyline.
If you look carefully along the side of the slip alongside this image of Cargill B-2, you will see the remains of the crane stops when this was a Hannah coal dock.
Taken from atop a grain train at the end of Cargill B-2, looking toward Lake Superior “I”, now part of the sample complex. This area used to have another slip, but Cargill filled it on when it built the elevator on the right.
General Mills bought Consolidated Elevator’s “D” in 1943 and renamed it “A,” though no additional elevators have followed from that firm to date. Visible on the right is the first annex, built along with the elevator in 1909.
Before Portland-Huron Cement’s Duluth Plant was (mostly) demolished and (partly) turned into a hotel, the top of its silos gave a cinematic view of elevator row.
Enger Tower is an 75 foot stone structure built in 1939. It overlooks the elevators of Rice’s Point that are, for the most part, far older than it.
Standing on the ruins of the burned Northern Pacific RR Freight House. It’s the best place to watch ships move around the harbor. Some things haven’t changed…
It’s a mystery to me why this elevator has a Gold Medal Flour ghost sign. You can read it along with its obsolete monikers today.
With its fresh paint, Lake Superior Elevator “I” almost looks contemporary, but it far outdates its neighbors, It replaced a wooden elevator by the same name in 1919.
Birds love grain elevators. I love grain elevators.
The end of the peninsula where Consolidated D was built, aka General Mills A, used to hold a Northern Pacific freight depot. These are part of the ruins of it.
The sun unzipped the clouds. Mist blew across the harbor.
A passing cloud almost looks like a puff of smoke from the trimmed smokestack of Consolidated D. In the lower corner you can see a little Stonehenge that someone with a sense of humor and heavy equipment built.
Special thanks to unknowing donor Jon Fontaine who sold a photo collection that now complements this story. Finding your photographs in the back of an antique store and knowing that someone else cared enough about the demolition of these elevators to document it makes me happy to this day. If you ever stumble across this, contact me!
A special thanks to Tony Dierckens at zenithcity.com, Laura Jacobs at the University of Wisconsin-Superior Archives, and the research staff at the Duluth Public Library.
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Dierckins, T., & Norton, M. (2012). Lost duluth: Landmarks, industries, buildings, homes, and the neighborhoods in which they stood. Duluth: Zenith City Publishing.
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Peavey elevator on bay front destroyed by fire; loss nearly 1,200,000. (1906, February 18). Duluth News Tribune. Retrieved from http://zenithcity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/PeaveyFire_2.18.1906_DNT.pdf
Van Brunt, Walter. Duluth and St. Louis County: Their Story and People. II. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1921. 256. Print.
Wm. R. Gregory Company. (1912). American Hay, Flour and Feed Journal, 22-23, Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=Q9gwAQAAMAAJ
World's greatest grain mart. (1900, June 26). Duluth Herald. Retrieved from http://archive.org/stream/may1190009dulu/may1190009dulu_djvu.txt