Duluth’s Bowery, 1950s

1950s

This undated photo of Superior Street, at the west end of downtown Duluth, is captioned "Old Bowery in Duluth" in the News Tribune files.

Most of the buildings in this view were demolished in the late 1950s and early 1960s as part of the Gateway redevelopment project, and the cars suggest a date in the early to mid-1950s. Among the few buildings in the photo to survive today is the Duluth Bethel building, located up on the hill at 1st and Mesaba.

Looking back at Superior Street, the photo was probably taken from up in the Medical Arts Building. The roof of the Spalding Hotel is visible at lower left, and the Lyceum Theater building is at lower right. Next to the Lyceum, across Fifth Avenue West, is the Holland Hotel. Other hotels visible along the "Bowery" include the Hill Hotel and the Hotel Liberty. The term "Bowery," by the way, refers to the street of that name in New York – and its reputation as a stretch of cheap hotels and dive bars.

Here are a few zoomed-in views from the photo:

Hill Hotel and ad for Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum

————————

Hotel Liberty (rooms 75 cents and up), M&C gas station and Blatz beer sign

——————–

Billboards for Conoco gasoline and Blatz, "Milwaukee’s Finest Beer"

———————–

Billboard on the hillside for Master Bread – "Fresh as a daisy!"

———————-

Duluth Bethel building – note the three big homes in front that once stood where Mesaba Avenue runs today.

——————–

Do you have any memories of Duluth’s "Bowery"? Post a comment.

- Andrew Krueger

28 thoughts on “Duluth’s Bowery, 1950s

  1. Pingback: Superior Street, 1950s | News Tribune Attic

  2. Does anyone have memories or pics of The Busy Bee store that was located on the corner of I think 2nd west and 3rd street? Or how about the Loop cafe. I can still see it in my mind but unable to pinpoint the location. My gramma Mabel worked there for many, many years and I can still see her at the grill making burgers. Help??

  3. I remember these days as my aunt worked at the Spalding coffee shop. Took the bus or walked every Sat. and she would buy me lunch, hamb and ff and coke of course. I remember the old bowery well.

  4. I also took dancing lessons from Orel Manila and from Mrs. Butler in the 50′s (still have some pics). My girlfriend and I used to take the bus to downtown Duluth for 7 cents and then, sneak to the Lyceum for the double feature for 9 cents. Our parents had forbidden us to go into the Bowery Section, but kids will be kids.

    • My sister and I also took the bus. I must be older than you because I only paid .05 for my trip from “The West End”..

  5. I took dance lessons in the 50′s upstairs of the old Lyric theatre from Oral Manilla. Boy would I love to get my hands on some of her pictures of our dance recitals at Denfeld High School..great memories..

    • What a memory! I took dancing lessons from Orel Manilla from 1973 – 1985. When I took lessons it was located where the Holiday Inn parking ramp is currently located and then above where JustinPaul is now located. She was fabulous! I’d love to get some of those pictures of her hey day either!

  6. I ate lunch at the “Crystal” many time during the late 40 and early 50′s. Clean place then. Bowles Lunch, a verry good “cup of mud” for a nickle. The Greyhound was on the lower side of Superior St west of 4th ave.

    Where are all the old timers when you need them for pictures like this.

  7. I remember taking the bus downtown to pay my paper route bill. For some reason, I have a vivid recollection of a store by the Classy lumberjack Bar that said, ‘Hudson Bay’. There was a little short guy always sitting outside the store and I still chuckle about it because alongside the little guy was a sign in the window that said,’ Welcome Canadians’. As if any Canadians would actually step foot in that rat trap. I’d give anything to walk that stretch of downtown just it way it was in 1960.

  8. There was a place named the Hibbing Hotel on the upper side of the Bowery and I believe it was between 5th & 6th Ave. West. If you walked up a flight of stairs from the Superior entrance you came to a door with a bell. If you rang it a peephole latch on the door would open and a women would ask you what you were there for . This was what is sometimes refered to as a house of ill repute.The woman who ran it was named Else. I cannot remember her last name but sometime in the late 1940s she was convicted of running the place and was sent to the womans prison at Shockapee. I know I have spelled that wrong. The Duluth Papers carried stories about the trial. lyle

  9. Pingback: The Saratoga, pre-Canal Park days | News Tribune Attic

  10. I remember the old Bowery the Holland Hops[dances for teens] Pals bar at the old Fifth avenue Hotel, Greens Chrystal Terrace and the original Saratoga Strip club. Ironically I now work at the Bowery Bros Bar at the Radisson Hotel

  11. Thanks for the great pictures – brought back memories of a friendlier downtown.
    Remember the Bowery Cafe, upper side of Sup St between 3 and 4 Ave W? – once at 4AM had thick pancakes and mugs of coffee at school-type desks before heading up the No Shore for camping/fishing – interesting clientele. In research, found late 1800s “The Michigan Hotel,” at 221 W Michigan Street, possibly catering to those involved in timber, mining, lake freighters, etc.

  12. Pingback: Lenox Hotel, 1957 | News Tribune Attic

  13. It appears the old comments with this post were lost in the transition to a new platform, so here they are again:

    I love all the pics you post and enjoy the history of the incline, but does anyone have any information on when MESABA ave constructed?

    Posted by: duluth girl… on 5/12/2010 9:28 AM

    Great old photos. My dad often hired men of questionable pasts to work at his lumber yard, and many of them came from or ended up at the Bethel, which once housed alcoholic and homeless men.

    Posted by: PJ, Duluth on 5/12/2010 11:04 AM

    PS: One of my aunts was a waitress at the Lamplighter Lounge at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, and used to say there was a tunnel leading from that hotel to the Holland Hotel across the avenue. Never saw it, but I heard other people mention it from time to time. Fifth Avenue Hotel had a great restaurant! I still remember her black uniform, white apron, and white “waitress” shoes, similar to what nurses wore.

    Posted by: PJ, Duluth on 5/12/2010 11:07 AM

    I worked at the Incline M & C gas station in the early 60′s and knew many of the locals. Sometimes loaned them a bit of money to make it to the end of the month. Always got paid back. Interesting times working in the middle of the urban re-newal. Shame to see the Lyceum theater and the Spaulding hotel go down. I believe the Lyceum had 4 balconies with the top two closed. Tickets were about 25 cents. A lot of the debris was dumped in the West End below Railroad street. I have a friend who found a spittoon with a cigar butt in it while scavenging the area in the early 60′s. He still has it including the cigar butt.

    Posted by: D.M. on 5/12/2010 12:23 PM

    Does any one remember the Classy Lumberjack Bar?

    Posted by: Jim on 5/12/2010 4:22 PM

    The Lamplighter at the Fifth Avenue had good food. My husband and I had our first date there..

    great steak and Scotch/soda. We remember the Classy Lumberjack down in the bowery, or in that area. Never visited it.

    Posted by: Janice on 5/12/2010 7:23 PM

    I remember the Classy Lumberjack…at least the name. I was pretty young back then but, I had a great-uncle that we used to have to go pick from the “bowery’ from time to time.

    Posted by: KP on 5/13/2010 7:54 PM

    Just as an aside, here’s an interesting article on the history of the Bethel.

    http://www.duluthbethel.org/history.htm

    Posted by: KP on 5/13/2010 8:00 PM

    I remember the Classy Lumberjack had a model sleigh with logs on it in the window. I always wondered where it ended up. All the pawnshops. Soo Depot. All gone.

    Posted by: jon on 5/14/2010 3:22 PM

    If I remember right, a photographer named Jaros for the News tribute took a picture of an old timer sitting in the back booth on the left side of the Classy. The caption was “Waiting for a live one”. It was an excellent photo and may have won an award somewhere. Maybe the Attic can find and show it sometime.

    Posted by: Dennis on 5/15/2010 2:01 PM

    KP, thanks for the link to the Bethel history. Can’t wait to read it. That building was always interesting to me when I was a kid … I thought it looked like a castle.

    Dennis, the photographer was probably Karl Jaros, who won many awards for his Tribune photos. (I think he is Mike Jaros’s brother.) Also a very nice guy. I once rented an apartment from him.

    Posted by: PJ, Duluth on 5/17/2010 11:27 AM

  14. KP, thanks for the link to the Bethel history. Can’t wait to read it. That building was always interesting to me when I was a kid … I thought it looked like a castle.

    Dennis, the photographer was probably Karl Jaros, who won many awards for his Tribune photos. (I think he is Mike Jaros’s brother.) Also a very nice guy. I once rented an apartment from him.

  15. If I remember right, a photographer named Jaros for the News tribute took a picture of an old timer sitting in the back booth on the left side of the Classy. The caption was “Waiting for a live one”. It was an excellent photo and may have won an award somewhere. Maybe the Attic can find and show it sometime.

  16. I remember the Classy Lumberjack had a model sleigh with logs on it in the window. I always wondered where it ended up. All the pawnshops. Soo Depot. All gone.

  17. I remember the Classy Lumberjack…at least the name. I was pretty young back then but, I had a great-uncle that we used to have to go pick from the “bowery’ from time to time.

  18. The Lamplighter at the Fifth Avenue had good food. My husband and I had our first date there..
    great steak and Scotch/soda. We remember the Classy Lumberjack down in the bowery, or in that area. Never visited it.

  19. I worked at the Incline M & C gas station in the early 60′s and knew many of the locals. Sometimes loaned them a bit of money to make it to the end of the month. Always got paid back. Interesting times working in the middle of the urban re-newal. Shame to see the Lyceum theater and the Spaulding hotel go down. I believe the Lyceum had 4 balconies with the top two closed. Tickets were about 25 cents. A lot of the debris was dumped in the West End below Railroad street. I have a friend who found a spittoon with a cigar butt in it while scavenging the area in the early 60′s. He still has it including the cigar butt.

  20. PS: One of my aunts was a waitress at the Lamplighter Lounge at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, and used to say there was a tunnel leading from that hotel to the Holland Hotel across the avenue. Never saw it, but I heard other people mention it from time to time. Fifth Avenue Hotel had a great restaurant! I still remember her black uniform, white apron, and white “waitress” shoes, similar to what nurses wore.

  21. Great old photos. My dad often hired men of questionable pasts to work at his lumber yard, and many of them came from or ended up at the Bethel, which once housed alcoholic and homeless men.

  22. I love all the pics you post and enjoy the history of the incline, but does anyone have any information on when MESABA ave constructed?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>