When Duluth’s Lakewalk Was A Junkyard


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Walking the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth’s Canal Park now, along the well-used Lakewalk, it’s hard to imagine that just a few decades ago much of that shore was used as a junkyard.

The photo above (click on the image for a larger view) has no caption information, so we don’t know who the men are or just when it was taken. But the First United Methodist Church (coppertop) is visible atop the Hillside, so it’s sometime after the mid-1960s. (If you know who the men are, please post a comment)

The picture was used for some kind of article on cleaning up the city. Here’s another view, looking toward the Duluth Ship Canal:

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After years of cleanup – and fill supplied by the excavation work needed to create the Interstate 35 tunnels in downtown Duluth – the Lakewalk opened in 1988.

Gradually, the industrial businesses in Canal Park closed or moved elsewhere. The last one – Duluth Spring Co. – relocated its remaining Canal Park employees in 2008; the site is now home to Canal Park Brewing Co.

That photo above, looking over junked cars toward the ship canal… here’s a view of what the Lakewalk looks like in that area today:


Here’s a previous Attic post that shows some of Canal Park’s industrial past:

Northwestern Iron & Metal, 1978

Share your memories of the Lakewalk – or what preceded it – by posting a comment.

5 Responses

  1. Jerry Kimball

    The two fellows are John Hunner (on left) and Charlie Hunner. John was head of Duluth’s planning from 1944 to 1966. I believe his most important accomplishment was the 1958 comprehensive plan. He believed future development should be confined to previously developed areas and that land beyond should be preserved as open space. He came up with two techniques to accomplish that goal. The first was a new zoning type called, “S Suburban” that required 5 acre residential lots. The second was the tremendously judicious use of tax-forfeit “conservation” land. These became the heart and soul of our beautifully beneficial greenbelt.

    Charlie Aguar was a landscape architect and city planner who was part founder of Aguar, Jyring, Whiteman & Moser, an architecture and planning firm still operating. Charlie was a planner and designer with a wide variety of skills and services. He loved Duluth, and, as I recall, a photo similar to the one above was published in a national magazine.

    1. Andrew

      It’s beyond the right side of the frame. The shore was extended out quite a bit when the fill was added for the Lakewalk.

  2. Robert Newquist

    As a kid in the early 50’s I remember scrounging around that area and watching a big old crane with a giant electro- magnet separate the iron/steel junk. We used to get old rope there also to make swings in the trees at our central hillside neighborhood.

  3. Patrick

    The guy on the left kind of looks like Father Wayne Kerr from St. Michael’s…. if my memory serves me correctly

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