The bars of North Fifth Street in Superior, 1978

October 15, 1978

Bars line the north side of North Fifth Street in Superior on Oct. 15, 1978. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)

Does the scene above look familiar? If so, you have a pretty good memory, because all but one of these bars lining North Fifth Street in Superior have been gone for years. The stop sign by the vintage van marks the corner of Ogden Avenue in this view looking east. From left to right, the bars visible here are the Heartbreak Bar, Burke’s Place, the 5th Street Hotel, High Times Saloon, Nickel Street Saloon, the Viking Lounge and the Handlebar. Click on the photo for a much larger image.

This area was largely cleared to make way for commercial and industrial development in the 1970s and 1980s. Here’s the same stretch of North Fifth Street today:

A surviving tavern is the Viking at the corner of Fifth and Hughitt, visible in the distance with the same vertical LIQUORS sign as it had in 1978. Here’s a close-up present-day view:

There may be one other tavern structure still standings – is the “Handlebar” in the distance in the 1978 photo the same building that houses Schultz’s Sports Bar today? I don’t know.

So when did all those bars get torn down? Was it all at once, or did it happen over a few years? Again, I don’t know, so perhaps one of you can fill in some details.

A March 29, 1981, News Tribune article on the redevelopment effort in the North End mentioned how “the project is creating open spaces in the once heavily settled district between Tower and Hammond avenues and North Third and the east-west rail corridor at Eighth Street.

“The 20-square-blocks are being transformed from one of old frame houses ‘so close together neighbors could shake hands through open windows’ to an area of potential high value as a commercial and light industrial district, Superior community development specialist James Kumbera said.”

The city was buying up houses as it could and demolishing them to create large areas of open land.

—-

What are your memories of the bars along North Fifth Street? What more information can you offer about when they were torn down? Share your memories by posting a comment.

Photos of Paul Wellstone in the Northland

Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, marks the 10th anniversary of the plane crash near Eveleth that took the life of U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), his wife Sheila, and six others. Read the News Tribune’s coverage of the anniversary here.

Here’s a selection of News Tribune file photos from Wellstone’s many trips to the Northland, leading up to his election to the Senate in 1990 and in the years that followed:

Democrat Paul Wellstone ratchets up his U.S. Senate campaign against incumbent Republican Rudy Boschwitz during a stop at the Duluth Labor Temple on June 9, 1989. (John Rott / News-Tribune)

—–

Senator-elect Paul Wellstone reacts to the approval of the crowd during a standing-room-only town hall meeting at the Marshall School cafeteria in Duluth on Dec. 5, 1990. (Steve Stearns / News-Tribune)

—–

As Sen. Paul Wellstone jokes with locals at Maggie’s, a popular restaurant in Nashwauk, on April 5, 1991, owner Margaret Breuling looks on and smiles. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)

—–

Sen. Paul Wellstone greets people who gathered for the opening of his office in Virginia, Minn., on April 5, 1991. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)

—–

Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., speaks at a rally at the Duluth Labor Temple on London Road on April 13, 1991. (Dave Ballard / News-Tribune)

—–

Sen. Paul Wellstone answers questions from the audience during a meeting about health-care issues on Feb. 13, 1992, at Duluth Central High School. (Clara Wu / News-Tribune)

—–

Sen. Paul Wellstone addresses DFL delegates from across Minnesota on June 5, 1992, the first day of the state DFL convention at the DECC, Interpreting was Kim Olson of Minneapolis. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

—–

Marilyn Pribyl of Chaska and Terry Selle of Bloomington listen as Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., pauses to chat with them during a stop at Grandma’s Restaurant in Duluth on Jan. 15, 1994. (Steve Stearns / News-Tribune)

—–

Sen. Paul Wellstone addresses a gathering of people in low-income situations during a news conference Nov. 21, 1995, at Emerson School in Duluth. The event was held to bring attention to the plight of low-income people in need of housing assistance. (Dave Ballard / News-Tribune)

—–

Aimee McIntyre (left) and Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., share a laugh during a rally for Wellstone at the Federal Building in Duluth on July 1, 1996. Supporters wore shirts with red targets and the words: “Proud to be a Republican Target.” (Kathy Strauss / News-Tribune)

—–

Sen. Paul Wellstone speaks to the crowd gathered at a rally at the DECC’s Pioneer Hall in Duluth on the morning of Oct. 23, 1996, as Vice President Al Gore applauds in the background. (Dave Ballard / News-Tribune)

—–

U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone answers a question from a student in the audience during the Democracy in Action forum April 9, 1999, at the College of St. Scholastica. More than 600 students from the three high schools in Duluth attended the forum, which gave them an opportunity to challenge and ask questions of elected officals. Listening to Wellstone on stage are state Sen. Sam Solon and Duluth Mayor Gary Doty. (Dave Ballard / News-Tribune)

—–

Sen. Paul Wellstone speaks to a crowd of about 100 gathered Sunday at the entrance of ME International in Duluth on Oct. 31, 1999. Wellstone voiced his support of the United Steelworkers of America Local 1028 strike that has been in effect since August. (Renee Knoeber / News-Tribune)

—–

Sen. Paul Wellstone visits Denfeld High School in Duluth on Nov. 16, 2000. (Rick Scibelli / News-Tribune)

—–

Sen. Paul Wellstone meets with a full auditorium of Denfeld High School students on Nov. 16, 2000, at the school. Wellstone took questions and comments from students regarding the recent election and the issues surrounding it. (Rick Scibelli / News-Tribune)

—–

U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone greets members of the Duluth Denfeld singing groups Solid Gold and Steppin’ Up on Nov. 16, 2000, during a visit to the school. Wellstone engaged the students in a town hall-style meeting, discussing the previous week’s presidential election. (Rick Scibelli / News-Tribune)

—–

Sens. Paul Wellstone and Mark Dayton talk in Superior on March 9, 2001, with employees of Partridge River Inc., the company whose Hoyt Lakes plant was destroyed by fire earlier that month. The meeting took place at Partridge River’s Superior facility. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)

—–

Share your memories and stories by posting a comment.

George McGovern in the Twin Ports

Former Democratic U.S. Senator and presidential candidate George McGovern of South Dakota died Sunday at age 90.

He made at least two stops in Duluth during his political career, mostly notably on Sept. 8, 1972, during his ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign against Richard Nixon.

Here are some photos from that visit (and one from 1970). Some of these images from the News Tribune archives had caption information; others did not. If you can fill in any of the gaps or have memories to share, please post a comment:

Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern walks with an entourage of reporters, staff members, security and local officials at the Duluth airport during a visit to the Twin Ports on Sept. 8, 1972. McGovern made a quick campaign stop in the Northland that day, briefly meeting with supporters at the airport before taking a tour of the Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association elevator in Superior, where he donned a hard hat and watched grain being unloaded from a railroad car. Two months later, he lost the 1972 presidential election to Richard Nixon. (News-Tribune file photo)

———————

George McGovern (second from left) is joined by (from left) Rep. Jack LaVoy of Duluth, Bill Walker of Cass Lake (elected official? candidate?) and Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Martin Schreiber at the Duluth airport on McGovern’s visit to Duluth on Sept. 8, 1972.¬†(News-Tribune file photo)

—————————

Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern (left) gets a tour of the Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association elevator in Superior from general manager B.J. Malusky on Sept. 8, 1972. (News-Tribune file photo)

————————————

The scene outside the Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association elevator in Superior during a visit by Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern on Sept. 8, 1972. (News-Tribune file photo)

—————————————

Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern (bottom center) gets a tour of the Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association elevator in Superior on Sept. 8, 1972. (News-Tribune file photo)

————————————–

Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern (second from left) walks from his plane at the Duluth airport on Sept. 8, 1972. At left is Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Martin Schreiber; others are not identified. (News-Tribune file photo)

————————————–

U.S. Sen. George McGovern (left) visits Duluth on April 12, 1970. Joining him in this photo are (from left) Stanley Breen, chairman of the city’s DFL coordinating committee; Rep. John Blatnik of Duluth; and James Glazman, 61st District (DFL?) chairman. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)

Superior church’s steeple comes crashing down, 1982

September 2, 1982

The steeple of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church lies damaged at Birch Avenue and North 14th Street in Superior on Thursday, Sept. 2, 1982. The 38-foot steeple was being lifted from the soon-to-be-demolished church when a crane tipped, sending the steeple crashing to the ground. (Jack Renudlich / News-Tribune)

Steeple falls prey to crane

By Larry Oakes, News-Tribune staff writer (appeared in paper on Sept. 3, 1982)

“My reaction was just plain fright. Everything was coming along beautifully, and all at once it swung and started to crash down through the wiring.”

The exasperated speaker was Sophie Butler, 68, of 24-B Hayes court, Superior. She had come Thursday to St. Stanislaus Catholic Church and School in Superior to pay her last respects to her former church, which is scheduled to be razed.

However, the church’s 38-foot steeple was going to be salvaged for use as a beach house. Butler and her husband, Joe, 68, watched as a crane began lifting the steeple from the building.

The couple, longtime members of the church as Birch Avenue and North 14th Street, were taking snapshots and reminiscing. It was about 10:15 a.m.

Seconds later, the feelings of nostalgia turned to horror when the crane, holding the suspended steeple about 30 feet above the ground, tipped, sending the steeple crashing to the ground.

“He lifted it off and everything seemed OK,” said Max Taubert, 29, of 3310 Minnesota Ave., Duluth. “But it came down kind of fast once it started. There was no stopping it. It only took about four seconds.”

Taubert had wanted to convert the carved, metal-faced steeple into a beach house.

“There was a lot of scurrying around,” said Cliff Anderson, whose company, Anderson Sand& Gravel, will demolish the church. Anderson, of 5565 Arrowhead Road, Duluth, sold the steeple to Taubert, who hired Lakehead Constructors of Superior to remove it.

“The crane either broke through the asphalt or the boom started to bend,” Anderson, 40, said. “It made one hell of a lot of noise,” he said, removing a toothpick from his mouth. “Like steel crashing into brick — one of those sounds you don’t hear too often.”

A construction worker is dwarfed by a twisted crane lying in front of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church at 1414 Birch Ave. in Superior on Sept. 2, 1982. No injuries were reported when the crane tipped over and the steeple crashed to the ground. (Jack Rendulich / News-Tribune)

Witnesses said that as the crane tipped, the boom crashed into the entry of the brick building.

Tim Bernard, 35, of Superior, owner of Lakehead, estimated repair to the crane will run from $25,000 to $30,000. “It will be usable,” Bernard said. “We’ll have to cut the boom and get it off the building. Then it will have to be repaired.”

“I would say the outrigger (a support leg) went into the ground,” he said. “It sure wasn’t the weight.”

Taubert said he will probably be out about $1,000, “mostly for the crane time.”

“I’ve already got more into it than it’s worth,” he said. “I had the option of insuring it before I took it off, but it was $1,000 deductible.”

When the boom toppled, it knocked out some adjacent electric and phone lines, resulting in a power outage in that section of Superior for two hours. Residents were without power in an area bounded by North 12th and Belknap streets on the north and south, and the Soo Line tracks and Catlin Avenue on the east and west, said Dick Kennedy, a Superior Water, Light & Power Co. official. Power was restored by 12:30 p.m., Kennedy said.

Wisconsin Telephone Company representative Kendall Nelson said the accident affected only two phone customers.

The steeple of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Superior crashed to the ground after a crane toppled on Sept. 2, 1982. (Jack Rendulich / News-Tribune)

The 67-year-old church currently awaits the wrecking ball. It was closed because of a shortage of priests and teachers in the Superior Diocese, Joe Butler said.

The school was shut down in 1968 because sisters were in short supply and no money was available to hire lay teachers. When the cornerstone was laid in 1915 the church boasted 450 families in its membership. By 1982, that number shrank to 150, according to Joe Butler, who was president of the church council.

“All my life I was in the parish,” Butler recalled, his eyes fixed. “I was baptized here, married here, my mother and father both had funeral services here.

Sophie Butler watched the cleanup operation from a yard across the street. “It’s a weird feeling because we were parishioners for so long.”

Across the street workers had started the lopsided crane and were feeding out cable that was still hooked to the steeple. What was left of the structure snapped and creaked slightly as it settled to the ground.

——

As you may have noted, the steeple-crane accident happened almost exactly 30 years ago, on Sept. 2, 1982. Less than a week later, crews moved ahead with the razing of the main church building. Here are some photos of that:

A wrecking ball crashes into the remainder of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church at 1414 Birch Ave. in Superior on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 1982. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

—–

Florence Bozinski (left), Sandy Anderson (center) and Sandy’s son Wayne, 11, all of Superior, watch as crews demolish St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Superior on Sept. 8, 1982. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

—–

Cliff Anderson (foreground) and Ron Johnson, both of Duluth, watch as St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Superior is razed on Sept. 8, 1982. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

—–

Share your memories by posting a comment.

Archive aerial views of the Twin Ports

I came across two (and was e-mailed a third) old aerial photos of the Twin Ports. Here they are (click on the photos for a larger view):

View over the West End and the Rice’s Point rail yards toward the Blatnik Bridge, 1970. (News Tribune file photo)

This photo shows construction of Interstate 35 (and I-535), including parts of the “Can of Worms” interchange, in 1970. The Blatnik Bridge, seen in the distance, had already been open for several years at the time of this photo; its traffic was directed onto Garfield Avenue (where you can see part of Goldfine’s-by-the-Bridge Department Store).

The photo also captures a sliver of the West End business district. Here’s a closer view of Superior Street:

From left to right, you can see a DX service station / car wash; Enger & Olson furniture (with J & J Phillips 66 service station across Superior Street); 19th Avenue West; and the West End Liquor Store, with a billboard on the side that reads “Scotch Scotch” (perhaps Ron Burgundy could have shopped there back in the day).

———————-

Here’s a view of the Burlington Northern ore docks in Superior from 1977. The Mesabi Miner is berthed at the ore dock on the right. On the left, the nearer boat has “Inland Steel” on its side; I can’t make out the ship name, but it looks like the distinctive Edward L. Ryerson, which currently is in long-term layup at Fraser Shipyards just a few miles from where this photo was taken. The name of the third boat can’t been read in this picture.

—————————

And courtesy of Gary Androsky over at the Superior Telegram, here’s an image from the Telegram’s files of Interstate 35 being extended through downtown Duluth in the 1980s – the tunnels are under construction in this view, which also provides a good look at much of downtown; click on the photo for a much larger image.

————

Share your stories and memories by posting a comment.

Duluthians of 1912 find a reason to like Superior

I’m going through old papers from 1912 in advance of the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and stumbled across this editorial that ran in the News-Tribune on April 17, 1912.

At that time the early rivalry and battles between Duluth and Superior – over the ship canal, etc. – still were in living memory. But the newspaper found “one (issue) on which we can get together” – Superior’s superiority as a site for a horse-racing track:

Share your memories and stories by posting a comment.

Photos of winter in the Twin Ports in the 1980s

Before our snow disappears in the next few days – highs may reach the 50s by next week – I thought I’d take the chance to dig through the “winter” photo files in the News Tribune Attic and post some shots from the 1980s of people having fun – or at work – in the snow. Here they are…

Judy VanDell and daughter Kristin, 4, stroll by a snowman on top of a car at the corner of 24th Avenue West and Fourth Street on Dec. 3, 1986. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)

First-graders at Congdon Elementary School roll a big snowball for the base of a snowman on March 10, 1986. Their teacher, Sharon Rud, said she let the kids build a snow village after their gym class was canceled that day. (Bob King / News Tribune)

Paul Guello sculpts the snowman’s face while assisted by his son Michael, 3, (far left) and neighborhood kids Christopher and Tiffany Lee, ages 6 and 3, at Superior’s Central Park on Nov. 24, 1986. (John Rott / News-Tribune)

Kids gather at Portland Square Park in Duluth on Nov. 22, 1986, to build a snow fort. They are, left to right, Katie McRae, 6; Shawn Hoffman, 10; Jeff Clasen, 6; Alex Ross, 11; and Jacob Akervik, 9. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)

David O’Brien, 7, son of Don and Barb O’Brien, blasts down a sledding hill near Commonwealth Avenue in Gary on Jan. 25, 1985. He was sliding with his friend Mike McDevitt, 6. (Jack Rendulich / News-Tribune)

Kids from the West Duluth and Duluth Heights soccer clubs cooperated to roll two giant snowballs to use as the bases for goalposts for the game at Irving Field in West Duluth on Nov. 16, 1985. (John Rott / News-Tribune)

Susan Gross starts a seemingly insurmountable job shoveling wet, heavy snow in front of her house on Red Wing Street in Duluth on Nov. 29, 1983. (John Rott / News-Tribune)

Scott Tousignant, 11, makes a speedy descent of snow-covered stairs leading from Second Street to First Street at Sixth Avenue East in Duluth on Nov. 26, 1983. (Joey McLeister / News-Tribune)

Mabel Smevoll, 84, sweeps a light dusting of snow from her walkway in West Duluth on Dec. 8, 1988. Smevoll said she loves to work even at her age, and said she was “making room for some more” snow. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

Harry Staaf, 85, clears his driveway along 27th Avenue West on Dec. 27, 1988. “If you’re going to live in Duluth, you gotta expect shoveling,” Staaf said. “By summer we will all forget this anyway.” (Dave Ballard / News-Tribune)

Ryan Wiisanen, 6, tosses a snowball at his aunt, Shirkey Uraniak, on Oct. 14, 1986, at Uraniak’s house in Maple. (Dave Ballard / News-Tribune)

Gary Kniep heads home from the grocery store on Nov. 20, 1988, carrying the groceries and pulling his son Garrett, 4, down St. Marie Street near the UMD campus. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

A 6-foot-tall snowman on the corner of Second Avenue West and Superior Street in downtown Duluth caught a lot of glances and the attention of Kelly Larson, 3, and her mother, Sally, as they waited for her dad, Jim, to join them for shopping on Dec. 14, 1988. The snowman’s creator was not known to nearby shop employees. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)

Trina, Mark and Charity Hansen of Duluth take a snowy glide down a hill near Portland Square in Duluth on Nov. 5, 1988. (Steve Stearns / News-Tribune)

Do you recognize the people in any of these photos? Are you one of the people in these photos? Share your memories by posting a comment.

Superior’s Berger Hardware

The narrow aisles and crowded counters behind Berger Hardware owner Sam Berger serve to support his advertising slogan, “The store that has everything.” This photo is from January 1983. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

This hardware store really does have everything

News-Tribune, January 24, 1983

Sam Berger is a chip off the old block – and so is the hardware store he owns in Superior.

Berger has spent most of his life, starting as a youngster, in the business his father opened in 1915. And like his father, who worked at the store until he died five years ago, Sam Berger has kept the Berger Hardware of today just like the Berger Hardware of yesteryear.

It stocks hardware and household items that can be found on the shelves at most of his competitors, from neighborhood hardware stores to the supermarket-style home-building centers.

But what Sam Berger, and before him Morris Berger, have done is retain the atmosphere of a hardware store of decades ago – complete with merchandise that may have been on the display shelves and counters 10 to even 40 years ago. Tucked away in corners, on shelving, hanging from the walls and ceiling are such items as handles for walking plows, horse collars, blacksmith tools, two-man saws, milk cans and plumbing and building supplies of another era.

Sam Berger knows what’s in the store at 525 Tower Ave. and, despite its old-time flavor, he’s an astute businessman. If Berger Hardware doesn’t have what a customer wants, he’ll try to locate it by telephone from some other hardware store owner or supplier from among a list of connections he’s made over the years.

“You can call Berger Hardware the store that has everything,” Sam Berger says in his astute businessman’s sales pitch. “Everything but money, that is.”

- end -

Sam Berger, who took over the hardware business founded in Superior by his father, makes some long-distance phone calls to locate a hard-to-find item sought by a customer in January 1983. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

Sam Berger died in 1993, and the store passed to his son, Charles. Charles Berger suffered some health problems and sold the store to Jim Kremer in May 1994. Kremer ran the store for about three years, but was plagued by the lack of a inventory or organization of all the store’s merchandise. He closed the store, and the contents were auctioned off in March 1999. Here’s the story from the March 19, 1999, News-Tribune…

Eager bidders eye a spool of rope up for auction at the old Berger Hardware in Superior on March 18, 1999. People came to the auction from all over the area, including small groups of Amish from southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin. (Bob King / News-Tribune)

FOLKS HAVE SOFT SPOT FOR LONGTIME HARDWARE STORE

BARGAIN HUNTERS FROM REGION, FAR AWAY REMINISCE, PICK UP TOOLS AT BERGER AUCTION

By Candace Renalls, News-Tribune

They came to Superior’s North End by the hundreds Thursday for good buys and rare finds as Berger Hardware’s massive inventory began being auctioned off.

With it goes the end of an era.

The old-fashioned store at 525 Tower Ave., a North End fixture since 1915, had long been known as THE place to go in the Twin Ports for odd pieces of hardware, no matter how old or obscure.

On Thursday, bidders wearing serious expressions, crowded around the auctioneer’s truck on a closed stretch of North Sixth Street as item by item, box by box, pile by pile, the inventory began to shrink.

Items sold quickly — 100 pounds of rope, pick ax handles, cross-cut saws, rolls of wire, old boat anchors, large steel shelving units used in Berger’s warehouse.

By 12:30 p.m., two hours after the auction began, about 260 people from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Ontario had registered as bidders. The auction continues today and Saturday, then resumes next Friday and Saturday.

For $25, Jim Jamaouski of Esko bought caulking compound, a bunch of nuts and bolts and some rubber belting. For years, the 56-year-old farmer had been a regular customer at the store.

“It had a little bit of everything,” he said. “You could get stuff you couldn’t get anywhere else.”

The cash register inside the old Berger Hardware in Superior, seen here in March 1999, had been around since at least the 1950s.(Bob King / News-Tribune)

Among those who turned out Thursday were members of various Amish communities in Wisconsin and Minnesota who read about the store and auction in “Country Today,” a weekly farm newspaper.

Emery Hershberger of Harmony, Minn., was one of them.

“I’m interested in things we still use, like stainless steel milk strainers for straining cow’s milk,” said Hershberger, 28, who came to Superior with his nephew.

Jim Kremer, the store’s owner, said he intentionally tried to reach Amish communities with news of the auction.

“They’re looking for old hand drills, horse harness buckles, snaps, some buggy whip holders and braces for buckboards,” Kremer said.

And Berger Hardware had them, as well as an abundance of other hard-to-find items, some still in the boxes they came in more than 50 years ago.

The store, with its squeaky wooden floors and decades-old display cases, was founded by Morris Berger in 1915 in the tradition of a general store.

He’d buy in volume to get a better price. He’d go to auctions and buy in bulk, rapidly filling his storage space.

When Berger died in 1978, his son Sam took over the business.

The jam-packed store had it all, from horse harness buckles to hand plows, from turn-of-the-century coffee pots to globes for old ceiling lights, from 2-inch drill bits to old door knobs.

“If we don’t have it, you don’t need it,” Sam Berger used to say.

Sam Berger ran the business until he died in 1993 while sitting at his office desk. His son, Charles, left his chiropractic practice in St. Louis to take over the family business. But health problems forced him to sell the following year.

Jim Kremer at Berger Hardware in Superior in June 1994, shortly after he bought the iconic store. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)

Kremer, a former owner of Kremer Disposal of Superior, bought Berger Hardware in 1994. But finding merchandise seemingly placed randomly on shelves and stacked in storage was a challenge.

The Bergers kept no stock charts or inventory lists. They just knew what they had and where it was.

“Surprisingly, I got to where I could stumble around and find what I was looking for,” Kremer said.

But after running the operation for three years, Kremer tired of the hardware business. He closed the store 1 1/2 years ago. But the merchandise remained, filling the building’s three floors, basement and next-door warehouse.

“I loved the place,” Kremer said. “I appreciate some of the old stuff. But it started getting to me. It just isn’t my line of work.”

The entire stock is being auctioned off, along with display cases, office furniture and storage shelves. The building is up for sale, with an asking price of $185,000.

Sam Pomush, who says he practically grew up in the store, couldn’t resist showing up Thursday.

“I just had to come back and reminisce,” he said with a big grin.

“It was like a menagerie,” said the 52-year-old Pomush, who grew up in the North End. “Anything you wanted you could buy here.”

He pointed to a corner of the store and said, “Every kind of screw you’d ever want was there.”

He recalled the row of Schwinn bikes that used to be in the basement and the pans that lumberjacks used for cooking. He remembered well the turn-of-the-century safe and old cash register that soon will be sold.

“The store never changed,” he said, adding that that’s what made it special.

- end -

The building that housed Berger Hardware has since been home to several restaurants, including Mama Get’s and, currently, Marlee’s Caribbean Restaurant.

UMD art student Matt Palmer browses through Berger Hardware in Superior to find art supplies  on June 1, 1993. (Clara Wu / News-Tribune)

Share your memories of Berger Hardware by posting a comment.

36th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Today, Nov. 10, 2011, is the 36th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in a November gale on Lake Superior.

Last year, on the 35th anniversary, I compiled a pretty extensive collection of photos and video related to the wreck. You can view that entry here.

I may try to dig up some more stuff to post later today, but in the meantime I’d suggest you look at last year’s post… and listen to Gordon Lightfoot’s famous song about the wreck, and think about the ship and crew on that stormy night – and all the other ships and crews that have been wrecked on the Great Lakes over the years:

 

Split Rock Lighthouse will host its annual beacon lighting and memorial service for the victims of the Fitzgerald wreck, and all Great Lakes wrecks, this afternoon. More information on the event is here.

Old aerial photos of downtown Superior

I found a couple of undated aerial photos of downtown Superior in the News Tribune files. They were taken by the News Tribune’s Earl Johnson, probably in the early 1960s – though if you see any clues in these that could help pinpoint the date, please post a comment.

The first two photos below are the original, complete images. Below them are a selection of zoomed-in views:

Do you have stories about the Beacon Theater or any of the other long-gone buildings visible in these images? Share your memories by posting a comment.