H.J. McMullen was not having a very good day when this photo was taken by the News Tribune’s Karl Jaros in July 1963.
As the original caption reported, McMullen was “ruefully” surveying the wreckage of his car after floodwaters from a broken water main undermined 15th Avenue East just below Superior Street.
Meanwhile, an enormous crowd — no doubt larger because it was a Saturday — had gathered up on Superior Street to watch as a wrecker was on hand to start the extraction process:
The rushing water also peeled away pavement to expose the bricks that previously provided a solid driving surface on the avenue.
This photo was featured in last week’s Eastern Observer, as part of a “Then and Now” feature. Here’s the “now” photo, taken by the News Tribune’s Clint Austin:
Both of the buildings visible on the left side of the “then” photo remain standing today — one on each side of Superior Street at 15th Avenue East. Water main breaks remain a headache in Duluth, a product of the city’s aging infrastructure — but there were no sinkholes to be seen on the avenue this week.