Photo of Downtown Duluth, October 1966

This photo of downtown Duluth and the Hillside, taken by News Tribune photographer Earl Johnson, is dated Oct. 11, 1966. This pre-dates construction of the new Central High School atop the hill, and it’s interesting how sparse that upper hillside looks in this photo.

Click on the photo to view a much larger version, in which much more detail is visible…

As always, share your memories by posting a comment.

7 thoughts on “Photo of Downtown Duluth, October 1966

  1. It is unfortunate the old photo doesn’t show the area a few more blocks west and east. There were dramatic changes to that whole area in the early to mid 1960s after the “high bridge” was built. The streets, particularly around Railroad Street from about Lake Avenue, and west, really changed. Lake Avenue to the Lift Bridge really changed to.

    As for the mall, I don’t remember when it actually opened, but I do know that Target opened one of its first stores in the mall. I believe that was 1962. There wasn’t much up on ‘the hill” at that time. The mall was new, but it was aready there when Target opened. About that time, a Shakey’s Pizza opened on the road to the airport, just north of the MalI. For other pizza in those days, I think we only had two Sammy’s in Duluth, and one Superior, plus we had the Shamrock in Superior — but it was a tavern, and we couldn’t go in without adults.

    What is now Rice Lake Road leading out of the airport either didn’t exist, or was a dirt road. The part of Arrowhead Road between Rice Lake Road near the airport, and the part of Rice Lake Road that now leads to Central Entrance were not paved. I’m not even sure if they are in the same place now, as they were back in the early 1960s.

    The few things that could be seen from Superior, or looking up the hill from the Canal Park area, was the Enger Tower, and the TV transmitting antennas for WDSM-TV Channel 6 (NBC), and KDAL TV Channel 3 (CBS). They were the only two TV stations then.

    The Duluth Bayfront area shown in the photo has really changed. Actually, nearly everything from the end of London Road to the Oliver Bridge has really changed. But, then the area from the Oliver Bridge to Itaska, on the Wisconsin side has really changed too. Barker’s Island was just a dredging-spoils sand pile with some trees growing on it. The Highway 2 “singing” bridge over the Nemadji is gone, as are the old NP ore docks, and the “Windmill” which served some happy East End grain elevator and Allouze ore dock visiting sailors during its day, much like the old landmarks on the north end of Tower and John avenues on the Superior waterfront.

    I may be very nostalgic, but I’d say most of the recent changes have been for the better. Just look at what the downtown Duluth streets look like now, especially Superior Street up through 4th street, from Mesabi to at least 5th Ave., east. And look at what the bayfront/Canal Park area now looks like.

    • There were two Sammy’s Pizzas in Superior. One in the above mentioned ‘Windmill’ in East End and one on Tower Ave next to Dunbar’s. When I was a very little kid the Windmill was some kind rather fancy restaurant. It was amazing when you got into that place just how tiny it was in there. I remember when what is now Hwy 2 through there was just ’2nd St’ and was a dirt street.

  2. Wow! This photo taken on our sixth wedding anniversary. Number 52 in 10 days. If I’m not mistaken, despite the “sparse” hillside, I believe the population was greater then than it is now.

    • Yes, Duluth used to be considered ‘a city of the first class’ in Minnesota with a population of over 100,000. That meant it got some kind of a subsidy from the state. I remember during one census they were scrounging around trying desperately to find enough people to get over 100,000. I think it is now way under that number.

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