Duluth, Minnesota–a Favorite Destination

My husband Guy and another air traffic controller rode their motorcycles to Duluth, Minnesota. He returned to Iowa with plans to make sure I got to experience the Duluth area.

Our visit there in 2014 turned out to be a favorite outing, in spite of my diminished energy (fibromyalgia).

Located at the western tip of Lake Superior, Duluth is a shipping town–grain and iron ore, and tourism. We visited before the weather warmed much so missed swarms to visitors.

That bridge. An Aerial Lift bridge, built from 1901-1905 and now on the National Register of Historic Places, is the gateway to the harbor. A focal point visually and with its loud opening and closing bellow.

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US Army Corps of Engineers photo of a ship coming through the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.

I loved watching the big ships. Every day we picked up Duluth Shipping News, which listed the name of a ship, what time it was due, what it was hauling, and little history, including what country’s flag it flew.

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This sample of Duluth Shipping News actually includes the Lee A. Tregurtha.

The Aerial Lift Bridge area has a fine visitors’ center, where you can even watch a video about the loss of the Great Lakes freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald, made famous by a song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot.

We took a two hour boat ride, which started out on Lake Superior, but came back through the Lift Bridge and all around the area along the St. Louis River where the ships we’d watched come in to unload taconite, coal, or whatever.

I was really hooked when I learned that one of the big haulers, the SS Lee A. Tregurtha, had been awarded two battle stars during World War II. Battle stars! The Tregurtha was originally laid down in 1942 as the tanker USS Chiwawa (AO-68).

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Back in Iowa I discovered the corner of the internet with information on the Great Lakes ship. You can even keep track of individual ships on the internet.

Here’s a story about a man whose job was operating the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.

The Canal Park near the bridge has all kinds of people-powered wheeled things you can rent to ride on around the area. Several generations of families enjoyed those and the museum and places to eat.

Bored? When you get home, you can even watch a Bridge Cam.



  1. People have so many interesting places in their own backyards, but feel they have to travel great distances to see anything of interest.

  2. Isn’t Duluth pretty? The pictures made me smile- I miss travelling up there. (My grandma grew up 2 hours further north, so we’d head up to the old house every summer- still have a little family in the area) Superior is just gorgeous- and we always appreciated the wind off of it that discouraged the mosquitos!

  3. Very interesting information about the bridge. You are up early. I like this new picture of you.

      • Bless you. Someone at church said it was time, that I don’t look as gaunt as I did in the old ones (surgery year). And I’m gonna self-publish “Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II” this fall, so the time was good for that. (Plus I’m going through cataract surgeries this month and look ghastly right now!)

  4. I second the comment on your new pic. We thought Duluth was a wonderful place when we went through on our way to and back from the Boundary Waters. We didn’t get to see as much as you did. Hopefully I’ll get back that way again someday.

    • You’ve canoed the Boundary Waters? Wow! I thought our son would when he was in Scouts, but his troop went to Philmont Scout Ranch in NM instead. He lives in the Twin Cities now, so guess it would be even handier.

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