Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth is a city (city status) that is the county seat of St. Louis County, Minnesota, United States. The US The Census Bureau recorded a population of 86,697 as of the 2020 census.

The fourth largest city in Minnesota, together with the city of Superior (Wisconsin) to the south, forms the metropolitan region called Twin Ports, which has a common port. This is connected to the Atlantic via the St. Lawrence Seaway and is of particular economic importance. The main cargo is raw materials from the Midwest of the United States, especially iron ore, grain, coal, oil and timber.


Sightseeing features

Fitger's Brewery, a brewery company built by Percy Shelley Anneke, a son of the German immigrants Fritz Anneke and Mathilde Franziska Anneke from 1884, today a monument (National Historic Place) and hotel
the Aerial Lift Bridge



Early settlement

Native Americans inhabited the Duluth area thousands of years ago. It is believed that the original inhabitants belonged to the Paleo-Indians. About 2000 years ago, the Woodland peoples, known for their burial mounds and pottery, inhabited the area. They also grew wild rice, which is still grown today by Ojibwa tribes in the area. One of the first Europeans in this area was Frenchman Pierre-Esprit Radisson, who explored the Midwest in the 1650s and 1660s.

In 1679 Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut came to the area of present-day Duluth. His goal was to settle the conflicts between the local Dakota and Ojibwa Indian peoples in order to advance the fur trade in the region. Through his negotiating skills, he ensured peace between the peoples and was able to secure his fur business. In 1692 the Hudson's Bay Company set up a small trading post at Fond du Lac, now a part of Duluth.

It was not until 1792 that the next trading post on the Wisconsin side of the St. Louis River was opened by Jean Baptiste Cadotte for the North West Company. When a fire destroyed the post in 1800, German emigrant Johann Jakob Astor built a new one on the Minnesota river side. However, business was very poor as the Indians stuck to the fur trade with their well-known English and French partners. However, Astor was able to persuade the United States Congress to ban foreigners from trading on American soil, making trading profitable again for his American Fur Company.

Ownership was clarified in two treaties between the United States and the Ojibwe (Chippewa). The Treaty of Washington (1826) and the Treaty of Fond du Lac (1847) allotted Indian reservations to the Ojibwa.


Development of the city

The region attracted great interest when rumors of copper deposits surfaced in the 1850s. Numerous settlers settled in the still nameless city, although no agreement had yet been concluded with the Indian peoples regarding the right to the mineral resources. In 1856 the settlement was renamed Duluth and became the county seat.

At the same time, newly built canals and locks between the Great Lakes allowed large ships to enter Duluth. In addition, a road was also built connecting Duluth to the Twin Cities. Numerous small suburbs formed around the city.

When around 1857 the copper deposits became scarce, the region concentrated on forestry. A US-wide financial crisis caused three-quarters of the city's former residents to emigrate. In 1859, a scarlet fever epidemic further reduced the population.

In the late 1860s, entrepreneur Jay Cooke persuaded the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad to extend the railroad from St. Paul to Duluth. The newly built railway line also opened up new transport routes for iron ore mining north-west of Duluth. At the beginning of 1869 the population was fourteen families, on Independence Day (July 4) there were already 3500 people.

In 1884, the son of German revolutionaries Fritz and Mathilde Anneke, Percy Shelley Anneke, came to Duluth as auditor and sales agent for the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company and bought into the local Lake Superior Brewery. Fitgers was one of the most important breweries in the Midwest until 1972, surviving Prohibition with soft drinks and box promotion. In the 1930s, Fitgers was the first brewery to sell canned beer in the Midwest. Fitgers has been a dining experience hotel and National Historic Monument since 1984.


20th century

In the 20th century, the city continued to grow, so that the slopes around the city were also settled. The port rose to become one of the most important ports in the United States, overtaking the port of New York City in terms of gross tonnage shipped. At that time, the city had ten newspapers, six banks and an eleven-story skyscraper. In 1907, US Steel announced plans to build a new steel mill in the region.

For much of the 20th century the city was an industrial port city with a cement factory, a nail factory, wire rod mills and the steel mill. During World War I, up to eight ships were worked on at the same time. Numerous residents settled around the docks on the St. Louis River. To this day, the area is known as Riverside. Other industrial projects were realized during the Second World War.

On June 15, 1920, the Duluth Lynching occurred in Duluth, in which a mob killed three black members of a touring circus in Duluth on suspicion of raping and murdering a local girl. The crime caused a nationwide sensation, and the alleged victim was later found unharmed.

Population growth continued during and after World War II. The population peaked in 1960 with 106,884 inhabitants.

Due to foreign competition, the steel factory closed in 1971, which was a major setback for the city. Other companies and the Air Force base followed with more closures. Within a decade, the unemployment rate rose to 15 percent.

With the weakening of the city's industrial core, economic activity shifted to tourism. Downtown was redesigned; old riverside warehouses have been converted into cafes, shops and restaurants and now form Canal Park, a primarily tourism-oriented district.

The Duluth-Superior region has largely recovered from the economic crisis and is now the center of northeastern Minnesota. It is also a major port of shipment for coal, iron ore and agricultural products.



The city is located at the westernmost point of Lake Superior at 46°47′11″ north latitude and 92°06′01″ west longitude. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city's area is 80 square miles, making Duluth the second largest city in the state by area after Hibbing. Around 22.1 percent (50.0 km2) of this is water.



Duluth is subject to the continental climate. The cold and long winters and cool summers gave the city the nickname "the air-conditioned city". During the winter months, temperatures are often below the frost line for weeks. On average, there is permanent snow cover from December to March. Winter storms are favored by the city's location, which is bordered on the one hand by the lake and on the other hand by the mountain slopes to the north and west. Often these storms bring a foot or more of snow into the city in a short period of time, while much less snow falls farther inland.

Summers are cool and pleasant with daytime temperatures averaging 20 to 30 degrees due to the lake's easterly winds. Furthermore, Duluth is also influenced by the maritime climate of Lake Superior, causing the seasons to occur significantly later.


Demographic data

As of the 2010 census, Duluth was home to 86,265 people in 35,705 households. The population density was 489.6 people per square kilometer. Statistically, 2.23 people lived in each of the 35,705 households.

The racial makeup of the population was 90.4 percent White, 2.3 percent African American, 2.5 percent Native American, 1.5 percent Asian, and 0.3 percent from other races; 3.0 percent descended from two or more ethnic groups. Regardless of ethnicity, 1.5 percent of the population was of Hispanic or Latino descent.

18.5 percent of the population was under 18 years old, 67.7 percent were between 18 and 64 and 13.8 percent were 65 years or older. 51.0 percent of the population was female.

The median annual household income was $41,116. Per capita income was $24,174. 21.4 percent of the residents lived below the poverty line.



Emily Larson has been the mayor since January 4, 2016. She succeeded Don Ness (DFL), who was elected the 37th mayor of Duluth in November 2007 and succeeded in 2008 from predecessor Herb W. Bergson, who did not run for re-election.

Duluth is located in Minnesota's eighth congressional district and was represented in the House of Representatives by Jim Oberstar (DFL). Oberstar had been a member of the House of Representatives since 1975 and was confirmed in office in 2006 with around 64 percent of the vote; he died in 2014. Since 2019, the 8th congressional district has been represented by Duluth native Pete Stauber.



Duluth is home to several higher education institutions. This also includes the University of Minnesota Duluth, with 10,500 students the second largest university in the University of Minnesota system.