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"The Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas"

In a speech at the Fourth of July picnic in 1868, Dr. Thomas Preston Foster, founder of the first newspaper in Duluth Minnesota, coined the expression "The Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas". Things were looking up for Duluth. The 1855 opening of the canal at Sault Ste. Marie and the recently announced coming of the railroads made Duluth the only port with access to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The lumber industry, railroads and mining were all growing so quickly that the influx of workers could hardly keep up with demand.

In 1869-1870 Duluth was the fastest growing city in the country and was expected to surpass Chicago in size in only a few short years. When Jay Cooke, the wealthy Philadelphia land speculator, picked Duluth as the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad, Duluth's Future appeared very prosperous. Unfortunately, Jay Cooke's empire crumbled and the stock market crashed in 1873 and Duluth almost disappeared from the map.

By the late 1870's, with the continued boom in Lumber and Mining and with the railroads completed, Duluth again bloomed. By the turn of the century, there were almost 100,000 inhabitants, and it was again a thriving community.

In the first Duluth Minnesotian printed on August 24th 1869 Dr. Foster said:

"Newcomers should comprehend that Duluth is at present a small place, and hotel and boarding room accommodation is extremely limited. However, lumber is cheap and shanties can be built. Everyone should bring blankets and come prepared to rough it."


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Old Duluth

Superior Street from Lake Avenue to Fourth Avenue East, is considered to be "Old Duluth."  Duluth was born in this district and what is now Canal Park when Daniel Greysolon Sier Du Lhut, in 1679, landed where the Ariel Lift bridge now stands.  The history of Europeans in the area actually started in the 1630s with the first voyageurs to visit the area, but he was the first to officially document his explorations.  Prior to this Duluth was the land of the Sioux.  In the 1600s and 1700s they were pushed to the plains by the Ojibwas who had been moved west by European encroachment on the East coast and continuous war with the Algonquin nation.. Logo

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Last modified: February 06, 2014
copyright 1986-2014 , Sheldon T. Aubut, all rights reserved