The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Duluth

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Edition of 1879. See also Duluth, Minnesota on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

DULUTH, a city, port of entry, and the capital of St. Louis co., Minnesota, at the S. W. extremity of Lake Superior, about 145 m. N. N. E. of St. Paul, opposite and 7 m. N. of Superior City, Wis., in lat. 46° 48′ N., lon. 92° 6′ W.; pop. in 1870, 3,131, of whom 1,865 were foreigners; in 1873, over 5,000. It is picturesquely situated on the side of a hill which overlooks the lake and rises gradually toward the N. W., reaching the height of about 600 ft. at the distance of a mile from the shore. The buildings are of wood, but blocks of brick and brown stone are in process of construction. The average temperature for the year ending Sept. 30, 1872, was 38.7°, the coldest month being December (7.7°), and the warmest August (68.1°). The rainfall was 34.44 inches. From the hill, looking S., a fine view of the harbor may be obtained. On the extreme right are St. Louis river and bay, shut in by Rice's point on the Minnesota side and Connor's point in Wisconsin, between which there is a narrow outlet. On the left of these is a body of water dotted with islands, known at the N. end as Duluth bay or the inner harbor, and at the S. as Superior bay. Duluth bay is enclosed by Minnesota point, 7 m. long, which stretches nearly across the head of the lake, and has a lighthouse on its extremity; Superior bay is shut in by Superior or Wisconsin point, between which and Minnesota point there is a channel, called the “entry,” 600 ft. wide, obstructed by shifting sand bars, which forms the only natural entrance to the inner harbor. On the left of Minnesota point is the outer harbor, protected by a breakwater about a mile beyond. The obstructions of the “entry” are avoided by a ship canal, 250 ft. wide and 16 ft. deep, through the upper part of the point, protected by piers, on the southern one of which a lighthouse is in course of erection. A dike, 1¼ m. long, was constructed in 1872 from Minnesota point to Rice's point, completely shutting in Duluth bay from the “entry,” but a passage for vessels has been cut through it. The harbor is open about 200 days in the year. Several docks, besides the extensive works of the railroad companies, have been built, and when the improvements in progress and contemplated by the United States government are completed, the city will have a dockage front of 20 m., affording accommodation for the largest vessels. The Northern Pacific and Lake Superior and Mississippi railroads terminate here, and six regular lines of steamers run to Chicago, Cleveland, Canadian ports, and the ports on the S. shore of Lake Superior. The commerce of Duluth, situated as it is in the vicinity of the mineral districts on both shores of the lake, surrounded by a well timbered country, and offering the most convenient outlet for the products of the wheat region further W., is of growing importance. The number of vessels arriving in 1870 was 158; in 1871, 263, with an aggregate tonnage of 161,567; in 1872, 369 (217 American and 61 foreign steamers and 91 American sailing vessels), with a tonnage of 204,159; 76 were from foreign ports and 293 coastwise. The value of goods entered at the custom house in that year was $1,205,722, of which $676,571 paid duties, $141,018 remained in warehouse, and $388,133 were bonded to Canada. One large grain elevator is in operation, and another is in process of construction, with a capacity of 1,000,000 bushels. Duluth is the seat of a United States land office. A dry dock, capable of accommodating the largest vessels, is in course of construction on Minnesota point. There are 3 large steam saw mills, 1 shingle mill, 2 planing mills, 1 iron foundery (manufacturing engines, boilers, cars, and stoves), 1 manufactory of sashes, doors, woodwork for cars, &c., 1 wagon factory, and 1 railroad machine shop. The total value of manufactures in 1872 was about $450,000, including 7,500,000 feet of lumber, 1,000,000 shingles, and 1,500,000 laths. A blast furnace with capacity for the production of 6,500 tons of pig iron annually went into operation in November, 1873. The city contains a national bank, with a capital of $100,000, a state bank with $60,000, and a savings bank with $50,000 capital. It is governed by a mayor and a common council of eight members (two from each ward). The assessed value of property in 1872 was $1,927,120. The amount expended during the year in the erection of business houses and manufactories, and on public improvements, was about $1,200,000, including $70,000 on street improvements, $80,000 on dike, $75,000 on canal, $135,000 on docks, $75,000 in dredging, and $55,000 on breakwater. There have been 20 m. of streets graded, and 10 m. of sidewalks built. There are a high school, six preparatory schools, two reading rooms, a library of about 1,000 volumes, two daily and three weekly newspapers, and 12 churches Baptist, Congregational, Episcopal, German Lutheran, Methodist, Norwegian Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Swedish Lutheran, and Swedish Methodist.—Duluth derives its name from Jean du Luth, a French officer, who visited the region in 1679. In 1860 there were only 71 white inhabitants, and the number had not much increased in 1869, when the place was selected as the eastern terminus of the Northern Pacific railroad.