Seeing Change Over Time: Duluth Minnesota, 1870-1913
City views are particularly interesting to historians because they can document the growth and change of an area over time. Panoramas of Duluth, Minnesota, dramatically show its development.
Early photographs from 1870 show Duluth's beginnings after the Lake Superior and Mississippi railroad began operation between Duluth and St. Paul. In this photograph, land has been cleared and many wood frame buildings are under construction. Cut timber is stacked at one edge of town. A single grain elevator stands along the shore of Lake Superior.
A view taken about twenty years later shows a more mature Duluth. The Lake Superior shoreline is dominated by several grain elevators and railroad lines. Brick and stone have replaced wood as the building materials of choice.
A later view taken in 1913 from Duluth's Point of Rocks also focuses on the Lake Superior shoreline. In the foreground, railroad tracks reveal the increasing importance of rail transportation. Duluth's aerial lift bridge is in the center of the panorama. An electrically-operated car, suspended from the overhead span, carried cars between Minnesota Point, the narrow stretch of land that extends into Lake Superior, and the mainland. Prior to the construction of this bridge, travelers used a ferry or a narrow footbridge that operated only in winter.