January 17, 1962
It isn’t easy fighting a fire in Duluth in the winter — especially when it’s a massive fire and the temperature is well below zero.
The sad but spectacular scene was left after flames destroyed the Osborne Block in Duluth’s West End neighborhood (now Lincoln Park) on Jan. 17, 1962. The building was located at the corner of Superior Street and 19th Avenue West.
According to News-Tribune stories at the time, the fire broke out at about 6 a.m. and forced the residents of 15 apartments out into the cold, with temperatures about 30 below zero at the time. One woman was burned, and a firefighter suffered minor injuries. Fire crews were on the scene for hours, and eventually the decision was made to tear down the building later the same day, out of concern that the weight of all the ice might cause it to collapse.
In addition to apartments, the building housed the General Electronics Co., P&J Paint Co., Tri-State Neon Signs, West End Recreation Parlor and People’s Fuel and Paint Co. There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire.
Here’s how the same corner looks today:
The furniture store building across the avenue is the same one that’s seen in the background of the 1962 photo, just with the windows covered by those red-and-white panels.
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