I need your help!

I’d like to post News Tribune file photos from concerts in Duluth, but I need some specific musicians to search for as I look in the archives.

If you recall artists who played in Duluth – from the 1960s to the present – send me an e-mail or post a comment with their names. No guarantees on finding photos from those concerts, but it will give me a starting point.

And, in case you were wondering, we don’t have any photos from the legendary Winter Dance Party show in 1959.

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Taking down the Hotel Duluth sign, 1980

February 26, 1980

Tom Kolb of Cloquet and Ray Campbell of Pike Lake take down the Hotel Duluth sign from the roof the building. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)

The Hotel Duluth sign – a bright nighttime landmark in Duluth – was removed as the building was converted into apartments – it’s now known as Greysolon Plaza.

In its day, the Hotel Duluth hosted many dignitaries – including President Kennedy, as noted in a previous post. Here are two more shots of the hotel:

The Hotel Duluth, May 1974


Even the sign atop Hotel Duluth has a sense of humor on this cold September morning (Sept. 14, 1979). There was frost forecast for outlying areas and certainly not the heat wave indicated by the neon lights above the Black Bear Lounge, where the bear’s coat made him the only warm body on Superior Street. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

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Snowboarding’s early days, 1986

March 6, 1986

Jeff Tollefson of Duluth and his Burton snowboard at Chester Bowl, March 6, 1986. (Bob King / News Tribune)

Snowboarding is a hugely popular winter sport today, but it wasn’t always that way. In March 1986, the photo above ran with an article (see below) that addressed the wariness of some ski hills in allowing snowboarders on the slopes. Look for the quote from the then-general manager of Spirit Mountain on the prospect of snowboarders using that facility. I wonder what he thinks today?

Jeff Tollefson of Duluth flies up and over a snow ramp while snowboarding at Chester Bowl on March 6, 1986. (Bob King / News Tribune)

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Movie flashback: Caddyshack II, 1988


Bushwood Country Club’s charity ball is invaded by the persistent gopher, Bushwood’s most annoying problem since divots, in Warner Bros.’ "Caddyshack II," the sequel to the 1980 hit comedy. (Warner Bros. promotional photo)

Captain Tom Everett’s (Dan Aykroyd, left) search-and-destroy mission is interrupted by Ty Webb’s (Chevy Chase) search for his missing golf ball in "Caddyshack II." (Warner Bros. promotional photo)

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Before Cub Foods and Shopko…

July 6, 1988

An aerial view looking out Miller Trunk Highway toward the Miller Hill Mall shows the Duluth Ready Mix site, at center. Kolar Buick is at the bottom of the picture. (Charles Curtis / News Tribune)

This photo shows the site of what is now a major commercial development – Stone Ridge Shopping Center – that includes Shopko and Cub Foods. Cub Foods opened its doors on Dec. 1, 1993.

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Disco dancing at the Cove, 1981

Jan. 22, 1981

John Wanta (left) and Liz Knuth compete for big bucks in a dancing contest at the Cove Cabaret in Superior. (Bob King / Duluth Herald)

Here’s one more disco photo, also from the Cove Cabaret but taken two years earlier:

Deb Maznio and Kevin Feiro dance at the Cove Cabaret on Feb. 1, 1979. (Joey McLeister / Duluth Herald)

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Lemon Drop restaurant, 1988

Sept. 15, 1988

Looking northeast on London Road from 25th Avenue East, September 1988. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

Here are a couple of photos showing businesses near the intersection of London Road and 26th Avenue East, before the Interstate 35 extension was built – the same area that was shown in an aerial view in a previous post. The Lemon Drop restaurant is gone now, but its name lives on each year when Grandma’s Marathon runners climb the hill shown in these photos. That rise was dubbed "Lemon Drop Hill" by the News Tribune sports staff during marathon coverage in the late 1970s.

Looking southwest along London Road toward 26th Avenue East, June 20, 1981. (Karl Jaros / News-Tribune)

Carlton’s ‘Blue Brigade,’ 1998

March 20, 1998

Carlton boys basketball team members hold American flags during a pep rally Thursday at the Carlton gym celebrating their state tournament berth. (Bob King / News Tribune)



The Blue Brigade makes its final stop today in St. Paul.

Carlton’s blue and white Bulldogs have already rolled through Hibbing (beating Babbitt-Embarrass in the Section 7A final) and Brainerd (beating Hancock in the Class A quarterfinals).

Today’s destination is RiverCentre Arena for a 3 p.m. Minnesota Class A high school boys basketball semifinal game against Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s.

A loyal blue following has backed Carlton all along the playoff route.

"When we came out of the locker room at Brainerd and heard all the noise you made, we all got chills up and down our spines," Carlton coach Mike Devney told fans Thursday morning at a team pep rally.

"I actually think Hancock may have been a little intimidated. I hope we can see just as much royal blue when we get to St. Paul. We’re going to try as hard as we can to bring you a championship, but if we can’t, we don’t want that to take away from how much your support has meant to us."

Carlton is in the state tournament for the first time in 39 years.

"The community’s backing has been incredible," said Devney. "On the way to Brainerd, all along Highway 210 were signs saying ‘Go, Bulldogs’ and wishing us luck. That was really something."

All of Carlton is blue. "Go ‘Dogs" signs are in nearly every business and some homes.

Carlton’s gym was full Thursday, and fans needed no excuse to make noise. Bulldog cheerleaders led the faculty and students, from elementary school up, in a V-I-C-T-O-R-Y cheer.

When it came time for the team’s seniors to speak, only one player stood up — Jeremy Jokinen. The rest of the team is juniors, sophomores and ninth-graders, making Carlton excited about its basketball future.

All five starters are juniors.

"This is pretty amazing," said Jokinen. "I hope these guys can go next year, too. My job is to work my butt off in practice and help make these guys as good as they can be."

Carlton High School boys basketball player Kris Sauter shouts during a pep rally Thursday at the school – to the embarrassment of teammates Adam Bailey (left) and Paul Crotteau. (Bob King / News Tribune)


Athletic director Dennis Sauter read well wishes from Babbitt-Embarrass, from neighboring Wrenshall and from Cloquet’s coaches and players, who lost a Class AAA quarterfinal game Tuesday in Minneapolis.

Three players from Esko, one of Carlton’s top Polar League foes, arrived with a good-luck message.

"We know we’re rivals, but we want to wish you the best," said Esko senior Nick Liimatainen. "You’ve done a great job representing the Polar League and the area.

"Go down there, win a couple games and bring back some hardware."

Hardware, of course, would be a trophy. Carlton has a couple this decade as 1994 Section 7C football champion and 1997 Section 7A volleyball runner-up.

But perhaps the most important trophy is missing from the school display case.

When Carlton made its only other trip to the boys basketball tournament, in 1959, the Bulldogs finished second in the one-class tournament (there are four classes now). In November, vandals broke into the school and stole the state runner-up trophy.

It was recovered, but in several pieces and with a paint job. The Bulldogs are working to restore the trophy, but in the meantime, wouldn’t mind adding another.

"This time, though, we want one for first place," junior guard Sam Pearsall said.


Carlton went on to finish second at the state tournament, falling to Norman County East in the title game and matching the finish of the 1959 Carlton squad.

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It’s not the Grand; it’s the Lyric

Following up on last week’s post on the "Grand" Theatre… as one comment pointed out, the picture shows the 200 block of West Superior Street, where the Holiday Center now stands.

That theater is the Lyric, though I looked at the original photo again and the word "Grand" definitely is etched in the facade. Maybe it was built as the Grand, and the name changed?

The demolition of what became known as the "Lyric Block" started in June 1976. The hotel-retail development was known as the Normandy at that time; it later became the Holiday Center.

When I started looking up photos in the "L" file, for "Lyric," I found a bunch of the demolition process. Here are a few:

The Lyric Block on June 23, 1976, soon after demolition work began. Workers are removing a "7Up" sign from the building at left. I wonder if the classic neon signs for McGregor-Soderstrom clothing, Gustafson’s restaurant and Reliable Sport Mart were salvaged. (Duluth Herald photo)


The Lyric Theatre falls to the wrecking ball on July 3, 1976. At far left is what looks like a stage opening, and to the right of that is some painted wall decoration (see detail shot below). Does anyone know if that was one last remnant of the Lyric’s interior? (News-Tribune photo)


The Lyric Block – cleared of all the old buildings, with construction on the new hotel-retail complex under way. This photo was taken from atop the Beal Building on Third Avenue West. (Duluth Herald photo)

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Remembering Chuck Curtis

March 22, 2002

Many of the photos in the News Tribune Attic are the work of Charles "Chuck" Curtis, who was a News Tribune photographer for nearly 50 years. He passed away six years ago; copied below is the story that ran in tribute to his many years spent chronicling Duluth and the Northland.

Chuck Curtis has a laugh with Duluth Mayor Gary Doty as Doty pays a visit to the News Tribune newsroom on June 22 last year (2001) to declare "Charles Curtis Day" in Duluth upon Curtis’ retirement. (Derek Neas / News Tribune)



For nearly 50 years, Charles "Chuck" Curtis touched Northlanders’ lives through his camera lens.

He won awards for his images that appeared in the Duluth News Tribune. He earned respect for his meticulous manner and affable way. He found the hearts and emotions of many.

Curtis died unexpectedly in his Congdon neighborhood home on Friday (March 22, 2002). He was 65.

"He was just such a nice guy, and he treated everybody like they were important people," said Duluth Mayor Gary Doty. "He probably touched a lot of people’s lives, and he probably didn’t know the impact that he had."

Curtis began his career at the News Tribune as a copy boy in 1953. Although he had no formal training, he was persuaded to join the photo staff in 1955.

"I was amazed in how he learned to do everything in such a hurry," said Karl Jaros, former News Tribune photo chief. "You could count on Chuck. You knew when he went on an assignment it was always done right."

Curtis continued to capture portraits of the Northland and its people until he retired in July.

This photograph taken on Sept. 10, 1991, of Superior Fire Department Capt. Leonard Rouse giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a kitten was Chuck Curtis’ favorite photograph. The kitten survived (and was adopted by Rouse, who named it "Smudge"). (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)


"Chuck was innovative. He would come up with a photo you were never expecting from a routine assignment," said Tod Chadwick, a former News Tribune city editor.

Although Curtis had opportunities to take jobs elsewhere, he chose to stay in his hometown of Duluth. His photos showed his appreciation for the city’s beauty — from its snow-covered streets to the fog that envelops the Aerial Lift Bridge.

"He loved the people, he loved the job," said Phyllis Curtis, his wife of 17 years.

"Being a photographer is a great job," Curtis once said in an interview. "You get outside every day, and you do things that most people don’t get to do. You go places that most people don’t get to go. You meet people that most people don’t get to meet. It’s fun and exciting."

Curtis exuded that enthusiasm throughout his years in the photo department, inspiring his coworkers.

"He had a great attitude and it rubbed off," said Bob King, News Tribune photo editor.

Dave Ballard, a former photographer, said Curtis was a great mentor.

"He was a real father-figure to many around there. He’d teach you a lesson, and you wouldn’t even know it," he said. "I learned a lot more about life in photography, how to deal with people, how to be professional, how to have fun at your job."

He was "Papa Chuck" to his six grandkids, Phyllis Curtis said, and he loved to play pool and travel.

Whether in newsprint or scrapbooks, on refrigerator doors or framed on walls, Curtis’ photos will be remembered. So will his smile.

"He truly, genuinely liked people," Phyllis Curtis said. "And I think they liked him back."

One of his most memorable shots is of a firefighter resuscitating a kitten. The photo was chosen by the Associated Press as one of its "Images of the Century."

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