Superior’s Main Street And The Interstate Bridge

The News Tribune’s Eh? column posed a question to readers last week, wondering why the Main Streets in Duluth and Superior don’t seem all that “main.”

I’m not sure how Duluth’s Main Street got its name – it’s over in West Duluth, south of I-35 – but I do know that Superior’s Main Street once was the main (and only) route to the Interstate Bridge. That’s the span that connected Duluth and Superior before the Blatnik (or High) Bridge was built.

Here’s an aerial photo, circa 1960, that gives a clear view of Superior’s Main Street, running along Connors Point on the right side of the photo toward the Interstate Bridge. In this view, it appears that the Blatnik Bridge construction is well under way, but not yet finished:

You can read more about the Interstate Bridge here.

Share your memories about the Interstate Bridge or the Twin Ports’ Main Streets by posting a comment.

16 Responses

  1. Jack Siegel

    Does ANYBODY have some old pictures more towards Tower Avenue ON 5th of the old main street.. my relatives use to have various old stores in the 1513 area and 1706 N. 5th.? It was owned til about 1933 by my great great grandpa and his wife…a tailor shop. (Woolfan’s Tailor Shop). I guess the 1513 N. 5th was torn down and it was a old bar or restaurant? Would love a pic of that old building. (Family started a furniture store in it in 1899… called S. Siegel & Bros) Any old pics we’d sure appreciate.

  2. Thomas Mccann

    Yea this one brings back memories. I grew up in Catlin Courts. When this photo was taken I was an 11 year old tyke and probably up to no good. Almost dead center of that photo is the remains of the old Lambert avenue bridge.

  3. Frieda Boelke

    If memory serves me right I believe the building the kids are protesting in front of is the old Superior police department.

    1. raniva

      Police department was in the basement, right down the stairs where they are standing. I lived at C-44 Park Place. Went to Carpenter Elementary.
      Across the street, Broadway. was a drugstore that sold double decker ice cream cones for 5 cents.

    1. Jim Johnson

      Yes, it was Henry’s! I knew that it started with an “H” but all I could think of was Hardee’s. Seems to me that it was around 22nd or 23rd Ave W, on the upper side of Superior Street.

      Great memories. This “Attic” blog is terrific! Thanks News Tribune from St. Paul.

  4. Jan H.

    U from windsor…what I remember is calling to and from Duluth/Superior were long dstance calls. Anyone remenber those days?

    1. Sandy White Meredyk

      I remember those days – and long distance calling was pretty expensive then – 10 cents? Also having the dreaded party lines. I still remember our old phone # – Export 4-5046 What were some of the other exchanges?

      1. raniva

        Phone number Market 5363 in 1951 in West Duluth. Later Market 4-5363 Operator calls only. “Number please”
        Entertainment (before TV) was listening in on party line conversations.

        1. raniva

          What year did Duluth get dial phones? we moved from Superior to Duluth in 1951. Superior had dial phones. Our number was 8691. Kids were taught to memorize their phone number, in case of emergency. Never forgot it.

  5. arvo

    Thanks for the great photo. Until now, I never knew (or else 50 years made me forget) there was a “Main Street” in either Duluth or Superior.

    The photo really took some head scratching to figure out what was on the many streets in the photo. It took me a while to even recognize Catlin Court.

    It really makes me wonder how those of us coming from East End and beyond got to the old Interstate Bridge. I can only guess we must have taken Belknap to Catlin Ave, to North 5th.

    My dad was “frugal.” At times in the winter, when the snow wasn’t real deep, we’d drive from somewhere down on Connors Point across the bay to Park Point. As I think about it, I have to wonder why. I assume that the Lift Bridge must have had a toll equal to the Interstate Bridge.

    Anyway, thanks for posting old photos like these.

  6. LJ from Windsor, ONT

    Does anyone from Superior, WI know of a time when Duluth was in the Central Standard Time and Superior was in the Eastern Standard Time? I have a relative who told us about a time when (I think it very brief) thisnwas the case and was very tough for those who lived in one city and worked in the other! This would have been in the late 1950’s or 1960’s…

    1. Arvo

      In regards to the daylight savings time difference between Duluth and Superior — without some deep recollections, I don’t remember what years it happened. But, it was a crazy time, no pun intended.
      It was in the early years of re-instituting daylight savings time after WWII. I’m guessing it was in the late 1950s and probably into the very early 1960s. As I recall, it lasted for 3 or 4 years.
      Duluth and Minnesota changed on one date, spring and fall. Superior had to follow Wisconsin, which had different dates to match the Chicago area. To this day, when I’m traveling, and somebody asks me where I’m from, I say Minnesota. My mother’s parent’s farm, plus several aunt’s and uncle’s farms, were around Foxboro — an area that didn’t really care what state it was in — but the time change really made everyone want to be part of Minnesota.
      The time change really screwed things up for several weeks each spring and fall when it happened.
      Various parts of WDSM radio (710 AM) and WDSM TV (Channel 6) were spread between Duluth and Superior. The radio transmitter was in Superior, as was the TV studio. The TV transmitter was in Duluth, as was the radio studio and business office. Schedules were really mixed up. For us kids, it begged the question “was Captain Q going to be on at 3:30, 4:30, or 5:30?”
      It was similar for the “Gopher” — the Great Northern passenger train that ran from Duluth to Minneapolis, with a number of intermediate stops on both sides of the state border, starting in Superior. Other shipping and railroad schedules were similarly disrupted. The schedules for the Duluth-Superior Transit company (the buses) were strained, as kids on both sides of the state line got tokens to get to school in place of school buses in each city.
      Again, this is only a recollection, but I think it finally got settled when the federal government stepped in, and set the dates for change over.

  7. Jim Johnson

    Back in the day, growing up in Superior, my buddies and I used to avoid a full toll payment by stuffing a couple of us into the car trunk. We’d often be going to Duluth to go to a fast food restaurant in the West End because they had 10 burgers for a buck one night each week. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant nor the toll cost. Truly a simpler time.

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