Blizzard Causes Flooding In Canal Park, 1975

A Gold Cross ambulance pushes through standing water and ice on South Lake Avenue at the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth during the March 1975 blizzard. (News Tribune file photo)

Parts of Canal Park and Park Point saw flooding from the storm that hit the area last Friday, Oct. 27. The same storm caused major damage to the Lakewalk and Brighton Beach in Duluth, and elsewhere around western Lake Superior.

By coincidence, the News Tribune included a (long-planned) DNT Extra special section in Sunday’s paper that was all about weather and storms in the region.

The photo above was included in that section — it’s from a blizzard that hit the Northland in March 1975. Note the sign for the Sandbar, at left, and the Jeno’s logo on the Paulucci building at right. There’s also a “drive carefully” sign on the Lift Bridge. The “ambulance” is unlike any I’ve seen before, past or present — but it does clearly say “Gold Cross” on the side, and has lights and sirens — do any of you have insight on that?

Back to the storm – here’s a brief description of the March 1975 blizzard:

March 23-25, 1975: A blizzard dropped more than a foot of snow and brought winds that reportedly gusted to 100 mph in Duluth, the Weather Service reported. Huge waves on Lake Superior sent debris into Canal Park, including into first-floor rooms of what was then a Holiday Inn along the shore. Interstate 35 was closed between Duluth and the Twin Cities, and waves damaged the Two Harbors municipal water plant. Another blizzard brought 12-plus inches of snow to Duluth days later — and all of that followed another blizzard that in January had dropped close to two feet of snow to parts of the Northland.

And here’s another photo from the aftermath of that storm, from along Interstate 35:

Cars and trucks are abandoned along Interstate 35 near Moose Lake in the wake of the March 1975 blizzard. (News Tribune file photo)

There are more photos in the News Tribune files of damage from that storm, including damage to what was then a Holiday Inn in Canal Park (now the site of Canal Park Lodge). Perhaps we’ll include those in a future post.

If you don’t subscribe to the paper, the DNT Extra on Northland weather is available for sale at the News Tribune office for $4; it’s well worth a read.

Share your storm memories by posting a comment.

5 Responses

  1. Eric Allen

    I well remember that infamous storm, as well. At the time, I lived in Minot, ND, and we were flying kites, romping around, floating sticks along the gutters, what with all the melting snow at the time (a fairly significant amount, if I recall). Then the storm hit — three days of blizzard! If I recall correctly, it spanned 5 states! We went from temperatures in the 60s to close to zero degrees (if I remember that correctly). It was not uncommon to find 12-15′ drifts in a number of places (remember that this was North Dakota).

    I also remember that particular storm, as it was around the time both my parents were in the hospital, and we were staying with friends for a week or so. Mom eventually died on April Fools’ Day, 1975, and Dad stayed in the hospital (alcoholism). It was NOT a good time for a 13-year-old. But we survived, and we still have our memories!

    We moved to Two Harbors in 1979.

  2. Tim Hanson

    That was indeed a Gold Cross ambulance. At that time it was garaged in the downtown Gold Cross Ambulance station on the SE corner of 2nd Ave E and 1st Street, kiddiie-corner from the Kozy Bar building. It was kept current and equipped, but was only used during extreme weather.

  3. Bob Saunders

    I was caught out in this storm, thought I would certainly doe. “BONES” from Stadium Wrecker pulled me out of a drift on Winter street, I followed him out to HWY 2 and East Second to make it home. The day started very nice, I had no jacket and was wearing a golf shirt at 11 am. Frightening night.

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