The Duluth area is unique in many ways. With a vibrant downtown, rich history, and nature all around, there’s something here for everyone. These seven facts are just the tip of the iceberg of what makes Duluth so great.
#1 Duluth is known nationally for its dedication to keeping nature within city limits.
The City of Duluth has 129 municipal parks, 6 of them being on Lake Superior. The city owns as much as 11,000 acres of park space, bustling year-round with seasonal recreational activities ranging from agate hunting to surfing.
#2 Duluth is home to the world’s largest freshwater sandbar spanning nearly 7 miles long.
The sandbar is officially named Minnesota Point, but known by locals as Park Point. Due to the short and easy portage across Minnesota Point, the Ojibwa name for the city of Duluth is Onigamiinsing (“at the little portage”).
#3 Grandma’s Marathon began in 1977 with a group of 150 runners.
It was named after the only local business that would sponsor the then-fledgling event. It is now one of the 25 top qualifying marathons for the Boston Marathon. It attracts over 18,000 participants, local and international, between its three days of events each June which include the half marathon and several 5Ks.
#4 Duluth is the home of the first modern indoor mall in the United States: Lake View Store.
Built in 1915, the basement had an ice making plant that made up to 8 tons of ice per day for the mall and Morgan Park residents. The mall building and the department store were owned and operated by U.S. Steel; however, a lot of the stores were independently owned.
#5 Opening in 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway was a joint effort between Canada and the United States.
The 2,3000-mile-long seaway opened a path for deep-draft oceangoing freighters allowing cargo to be shipped throughout the Great Lakes, Canada, and all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. The Port of Duluth is the western most point of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
#6 Duluth is the birthplace of pie à la mode.
First served in 1885 by John Gieriet, who owned Hotel la Perl. A grand opening bill of fare was published in the March 26, 1885 issue of the Duluth Daily Tribune. The hotel was located at 501-503 West Superior Street in Duluth. The menu showed the hotel restaurant serving both vanilla ice cream and blueberry pie together. He named the dessert pie à la mode which translates literally as pie in the (current) fashion. The Duluth Herald reported that Duluthians in the 1880’s, often mispronounced the local invention as “Pylie Mode”.
#7 22% of the land within the city limits of Duluth is covered with water, including Lake Superior and the St Louis River.
Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes, holding 3 quadrillion (15 zeros: 3,000,000,000,000,000) gallons of water. This is equal to all other Great Lakes combined, plus three additional Lake Eries. Locals say the best water in the country comes from Lake Superior as well.
What’s your favorite interesting thing about Duluth? Share in the comments below!