History

On the trail of the Pagami Creek Fire
June 11, 2014 by Sally Rauschenfels

On the trail of the Pagami Creek Fire

We paddled toward the burned southern shore of Lake One in search of the famous Pagami Creek Fire. Three years after the famous fire burned here, we headed out for a day of discovery. … read more


Down the river, to the beach
August 15, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Down the river, to the beach

Heavy rains pummeled the western Lake Superior area earlier this month. Up to six inches of rain fell in a band just south of Superior, Wisconsin...the headwaters of the Nemadji River. The rising river tore at the clay banks and carried everything it grabbed down to Lake Superior. It created not only a plume of red clay into the lake but a veritable parade of tree trunks, some more alive than others. While the new horizontal forest is thickest down toward the end of Minnesota Point, there was still a lot of big wood on our own beach. My crafty neighbor … read more


A bit more about the Western Waterfront Trail
May 3, 2011 by Andrew Slade

A bit more about the Western Waterfront Trail

In my post yesterday, I neglected to mention Indian Point campground (or "campgrounds," as the sign at the entrance reads). The Western Waterfront Trail curves around Indian Point, and the campground is very visible.Indian Point has a lot of Duluth history to it.  It was the equivalent of today's Bayfront Park, with picnics and musical performances. However, this one historical reference made my skin crawl a bit: "A distinctive feature of this camp site is its bathing beach on upper St. Louis bay where autoists, dusty from the day's travel, may indulge in a refreshing dip."(Duluth News-Tribune, May 22, 1921)Since the … read more


Minnesota North Shore now "Northwest"
April 1, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Minnesota North Shore now "Northwest"

In a ceremony held today at the Minnesota-Ontario border at the Pigeon River, Minnesota and Ontario officials formally signed off on the historic "Real North Shore" treaty, which designates the Ontario shore of Lake Superior as "The North Shore" and the Minnesota shore as "The Northwest Shore."Officials cited the geographic reality that has been ignored for a long time. The Minnesota shore of Lake Superior really is on the northwest side of the lake. "This historic moment will finally clear up centuries of confusion," said David Thompson, Jr. "Minnesotans never knew if they went north or east to Grand Marais. … read more


Back to the Seventies on the Piedmont ski trail
January 19, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Back to the Seventies on the Piedmont ski trail

Duluth's popular Piedmont ski trail is more than classic cross country skiing at its best...it's a pun-ridden pop culture history lesson, firmly rooted in the 1970s. My teenage sons have no idea what they're missing, and I sound pretty lame as I try to explain.So at a soft turn in the trail, there's the hand-lettered sign "Gentle Bend." Who remembers the tame black bear sitting in the bow of the airboat skimming through the Everglades? Sure "Gentle Ben" was broadcast in the late 1960s, but must have run as afternoon reruns in the 1970s. I can't pass that sign without … read more


Etienne Brule, Superior’s wild man
December 17, 2010 by Andrew Slade

Etienne Brule, Superior’s wild man

For a short biography of the man who "discovered" Lake Superior, check out this link from a Canadian historian. We mostly know Etienne Brule from the lovely rivers named after him: the Brule River in Judge Magney State Park (which disappears into the Devil's Kettle), and the Brule River east of Superior, where there is great canoeing, trout fishing, and a lovely state forest with cross country ski trails. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="638"] Explorer Etienne Brule's routes through the U.S. and Canada in the early 1600s.[/caption] Brule's journey to Lake Superior led all over the eastern seaboard, including the Ohio and Potomac … read more


A John Beargrease Thanksgiving
November 25, 2010 by Andrew Slade

A John Beargrease Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving week, 1896. The North Shore. John Beargrease and his boss, the postmaster of Beaver Bay, take off up the North Shore, in their rowboat.It's November, right? A storm blows in. So strong that the postmaster Wegner and Beargrease can't return to shore. To keep their boat afloat, and to keep themselves from hypothermia, all they can do is row. Against the wind and the waves. It's a three-day blow, like usual. So they row, taking turns, for three days. One man rows, the other huddles under a blanket. As the storm lets up on Thanksgiving day, finally they make … read more


A North Shore mother looks to sea
May 7, 2010 by Andrew Slade

A North Shore mother looks to sea

The newspapers only knew her as “Mrs. Olson” of Two Harbors. Though her name may have been common, her suffering at the hands of Lake Superior was poignant and rare.Her men were fishermen, and even before coming to the United States she had lost her husband, drowned off the coast of Sweden. One of her sons, John had drowned April 1910 in Grand Marais on his way to Isle Royale.Now, in April 1911 her other son, Otto, was off to Isle Royale in the same boat. And there was no word from him; he was missing off the North Shore.In … read more