Corner Of Superior And Lake, Circa 1930

This photo, which dates to about 1930, shows the corner of Superior Street and Lake Avenue in downtown Duluth; it’s looking east up Superior Street.

At far right in the Freimuth’s Department Store building, and the dominant facade across Lake Avenue belongs to the Bradley Building. Next door to the Bradley Building is a building that, in this photo, appears to be home to the Boston Piano Co. (see close-up below). It appears to be the same structure that housed the Famous Clothing Co. for many years, and which survives today as the home of the Electric Fetus music store.

Here are some zoomed-in views of the store signs (click on the photos for a larger view):

I’m basing the date for this photo (there’s no caption information) mostly on the movie playing at the Strand Theater, next door to Boston Piano Co. It’s “The Other Tomorrow” starring Billie Dove, which Internet sources say was released in 1930. Certainly the cars must give some clue to the date, too, but that’s not an area of expertise for me.

And one other thing I noted…

A former home of the News Tribune (then apparently known as the “T.N.T.” as opposed to the “DNT”), in a building that still stands today, in renovated form, as part of the Wieland Block development.

Spot anything else interesting in these images? Share your memories and stories by posting a comment.

9 Responses

  1. A Brookman

    I am looking for information on a place I believe called Marine billards and pool hall that was on superior st. Sometime in the 1930’s.

  2. Jergen Fuhr

    I remember three print shops in the old News Tribune Building — Letourneau on the first floor. Fuhr Printing on the 2nd and Interstate Prinint on the 4th. which was before my mother moved her printing business into the building. She had an apartment where we lived on the fourth floor where the old Interstate shop was located. The newspaper press was in the basement. And the News Tribune .newspaper press was left in back of the basement after they merged with the Herald. I remember the building well — the large staircase just inside the front door, the elevator that was started with a rope next to the doors that opened half up and half down.

  3. The building that held the Boston Piano (Electric Fetus) has a great history connected to Theaters, as did many others on that block. The following is from “Lost Duluth,” coming May 1 from Zenith City Press:

    The lower side of the 100 block of East Superior Street hosted several theaters over the years. The Bijou Theatre stood at 12 East Superior Street and operated as part of the Sullivan and Considine vaudeville circuit from 1903 until 1911, when it became the Empress Theatre. The Empress burned in May of 1915, and the building was converted for retail sales; it is now home to the Electric Fetus. The Strand, at 16 East Superior Street, was built in 1906 as a meat market, but by 1915 it was showing movies and did so until 1951. The building stood vacant until 1971, when it reopened as an adult theater. It closed again in 1986, remaining vacant until its 1998 demolition; the lot is now part of a condominium complex and medical offices. Various theaters moved in and out of the Weiland and Hayes buildings at the eastern end of the block over the years, including the Star in the Weiland and the Savoy at the Hayes during the first decades of the century. The Lake Theatre occupied the Savoy location from 1935 to 1950 and operated as the World Theatre from 195 to 1956.

    The Hayes Building mentioned above is the building Hef’s dad worked in. It is/was one of the oldest brick buildings in Duluth, built in the 1870s by Rutherford B. Hayes and William King Rogers, the man behind the Seventh Avenue West Incline and Duluth’s Park System plan of parks along the creek connected by what is now Skyline Parkway (and Hayes’s presidential secretery). It was remodeled several times and looks nothing like its original design–and was the mystery photo topic on “Almanac” last week!

    There will be a whole researchable archive with info like this coming to on May 1, and a feature store on William King Rogers.

  4. Joseph Martin

    I love seeing the photos and reading the viewer’s comments. My mom worked in the Fidelity Bldg. in 1925-26 when her father, a purchasing agent for Butler Mines got her job there as a filing clerk. She said she had an hour lunch break and would walk up the hill to Cascade Park and eat her lunch, see was 16 years old at the time (born in 1909). She said she could see into the offices of the bldg. next door, I think Mn Power offices. The other office girls teased her about ‘fixing her up’ with a fellow they could see in the next-door bldg. Some years later after the family had to move to Chicago because of her father losing his puchasing job due to the depression, Mom met my Dad, who it turned out, was the cousin of the fellow in the other office back in Duluth! ! ! true story!

  5. kent Worley

    First impression is the mass of overhead wires; what an improvement to the scene without them! Thanks to whoever prepared these; they are wonderful.

  6. it was just west of the Freimuth Department Store(known as the Fowler Building)-(built in about 1900)-that the LaVaque Paints Building-and the Fidelity Building were located-my mistake!I know that the Freimuth Department Store was torn down in either April or May of 1968!When was the LaVaque Paints Building torn down?Does anyone know ?Love reading your columns!Rickey Gary Oatman(now of Tucson,Arizona)!

  7. I’m a native of Duluth,having been born in the Anderson Apartments at 229 North 7th Avenue, East ,Apt.#2,on Saturday afternoon,September 30,1967!(The building still stands-it was built in1907!)-Just east of the Freimuth Department Store was the Fidelity Building-built in 1910-1913-(there was a little building in-between(built in either 1881-or 1882-known as the LaVaque Building!)April 2012 is the 35th anniversary of the destruction of the Fidelity Building-torn down in April,1977!)-a very sad time indeed!-Are there any photographs of the LaVaque Building or the Fidelity Building in the News-Tribune archives?It would be so nice to see them!Every time another historical building is destroyed,a part of Duluth’s storied past is lost!I love looking at photographs of buildings lost to the wrecker’s ball!Keep up the good work!

  8. My late mother, an accomplished pianist and piano teacher, bought her grand piano from the Boston Piano Co. in February 1930. The reason I know this is that I still have the receipt for it — $685 — found among her effects after she died. I also still have the grand piano. Very pleased to see a picture of the business where my piano came from. My father was a photo engraver in that old News Tribune building, stayed in that craft at various job shops in Duluth and retired from the current News Tribune building in 1964, when the engraving department was located where The Attic is now.

    1. J R Eastman

      Did Boston Piano become Brander’s Music Store? And when did the famous (then infamous) Strand Theater occupy the Strand Building?

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