Traffic Stop On Superior Street, Late 1950s


Duluth police patrolman Donald Rockwell checks a driver’s license as patrolman Edward McLean pulls the squad car to the curb on Superior Street near 5th Avenue West. (Earl Johnson / News-Tribune)

This photo isn’t dated, but the registration stickers on the license plates suggest that it was taken in 1957. The Spalding Hotel is at top center; there are signs for a sporting goods store on the ground floor at the corner of 5th Avenue West and Superior Street.

At the upper right of the photo is a neon sign for another hotel – does anyone know what it was called?

5 Responses

  1. Yvonne K Pavlich

    It was for sure the Fifth Ave Hotel and Greens Chrystal Terrace, below it on Michigan St was Pal’s Bar

  2. Yes, it was the 5th Avenue Hotel, which included the Lamplighter Bar and New Yorker Room restaurant, the latter written in small neon sign letters beneath “Hotel” in the photo. The sporting goods store in the Spalding Hotel building across Fifth Avenue was Wishman’s sporting goods, which had moved directly across Superior Street from the Lyceum Building sometime in the ’50s. The year of the photo? Yes, that’s a ’56 Ford squad car, pulling in front of a ’53 Ford, but I believe the car parked behind the ’53 Ford is a ’58 Oldsmobile, with ugly double headlights and a panel in the back window.

  3. Dennis Maloney Int'l Falls

    I’m sure the hotel you asked about is the 5th AVE. Hotel. I used to work at the Incline M&C just down Superior St. on 7th Ave west. The was before urban re-newal and I remember most of the old buildings including the Lyceum and Lyric movie houses. DM

    1. lee goettig

      Guess of 1957 or 58 certainly correct. The right front fender (headlights and grill ) of the car behind the one pulled over by police is a 1958 or 59. I’m almost certain a GM and looks like a 59 Buick or Oldsmobile. All of the American big three ( GM, Ford, Chrysler ) went from a dual ( one per side ) headlight system to a Quad ( two per side ) in 1958 . New model introductions were always in Sep. of each year so would have to be at least Sep. 57 or later. I know 50’s American cars extremely well and I’m thinking it is a 59 and with a blown up image could tell you for sure. Is the 1957 license plate date on the police car or the subject of the stop? Is it possible the reason for the stop was an expired 57 license tag? Is it possible to blow-up the image without a loss of clarity? If so, I can identify the no. 3 car in question with certainty. Lee

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