Panoramic View Of Duluth’s Police Force, Circa 1918

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The photo above is a detail from a great panoramic photo posted online by the Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives at the University of Minnesota Duluth. It’s a photo of what must have been the entire Duluth police force – along with some city dignitaries, perhaps – at the Civic Center in downtown Duluth, in front of the St. Louis County Courthouse. Here’s the full image; click and zoom in for a much-larger view:

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You can find an even higher-resolution version here.

The stitched-together image is a bit deceiving; the officers on the far left are facing southeast and the ones at far right are facing northwest; there’s a 180-degree curve concealed in the image.

It’s hard to date the photo exactly, but it’s from between 1910 – when the Alworth Building opened (visible in the distance at right) – and the mid-1920s when Duluth City Hall was built (it opened in 1928 – note that its future location is empty in this view). The archives staff gave it an estimated date of 1918.

A couple of now-vanished buildings are recognizable in the distance:

  • The tall Christie Building about a quarter of the way in from the right – it was demolished in 1980 to make way for the present-day Government Services Center; read more here. In this view it bears the sign of Duluth Business University (see zoomed-in view below).
  • Jackson School, visible above the staircase just left of center – now home to a county parking ramp.

The photo is labeled “Tribune-Duluth” – so it likely was an image shot by a photographer at what is now the Duluth News Tribune.

Here’s what the scene looks like today – taken with my iPhone panoramic photo feature this evening. I’m guessing that saved a lot of time compared to the effort that went into creating a panoramic image in 1918:

photoHere are some zoomed-in views of the original photo:

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The only woman in the image

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A closer view of the Christie Building with its DBU sign.

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Early “photobomb”? – a couple unauthorized individuals managed to get in the photo in the background. One of them is leaning against what appears to be some kind of bulletin board.

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A few more people managed to sneak into the frame at the top of the stairs and behind the shrubs.

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A view of the Alworth Building in the distance, along with the Tribune credit.

What else do you spot in the photo? Share your observations by posting a comment.

1 Response

  1. Matt

    There seemed to be a lot of really wide turn of the century pictures. I think there must have been some rotating cameras that did it. Something like a slit camera and the film is pulled past the slit as the camera rotates.

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