John Drew, a successful businessman, was born in Connecticut in April 1817 and moved to Duluth in 1869. By the time he was elected mayor in 1876, Duluth was in a grave financial state. The city's debt was so large that in order to get any settlement, the city itself had to be dissolved and replaced by the village of Duluth. John Drew presided over this transition in 1877, and once the city had become a village he resigned his post as mayor. In 1879 Drew was again elected to office, this time as president of the village, and used his one year of office to help get Duluth back on its feet. He later enjoyed a successful furnishing and clothing business until his death on September 1, 1909. He had three children with his wife Emma H. Drew and was believed to be one of the oldest residents of Duluth when he died.
Peter Dean was born in New York City in 1828 and worked in a number of professions in several towns around Michigan before moving to Duluth. He was elected to office twice, once as Mayor of the City of Duluth (1875) and again as President of the Village of Duluth (1880). Though neither of his terms lasted more than a year, he was well-remembered as an eccentric and good-hearted man who cared deeply for the community and its financial troubles. When he died on January 4, 1884, he willed most of his property to Duluth itself, however it was organized at the time.
John B. Sutphin was the last mayor of the village of Duluth and the first mayor of the rebord city of Duluth. He was born in 1848 in New Jersey, and he arrived in Duluth at the age of 20. He was elected as village mayor in 1886 and reelected to the same office in the newly restored city of Duluth one year later. He presided over the construction of a new City Hall to celebrate the regained charter. During his time in office Sutphin began Duluth's sewer system and fire department in addition to improving city and harbor infrastructure. He was also involved in quelling citizen unrest with regards to labor issues. Sutphin died in 1908 of kidney failure; he was survived by his only son Robert and his wife Anna Louise Anderson.
The first mayor of Duluth, Joshua B. Culver, was born on Sept. 12, 1829 in Armenia, New York. Culver first came to Duluth in the 1850s when he surveyed and plotted the town site. He fought for the Union in the American Civil War, where he rose to the rank of full colonel. He returned to Duluth and became a civic leader, elected as Duluth's first mayor after the community initially became a city in 1870. Culver was elected to a second term as mayor in 1882, but on July 17, 1883, he died while visiting Buffalo, New York. In addition to his role as mayor, Colonel Culver served Duluth as its first clerk of court, postmaster, and superintendent of schools, and founded the first steel plant. His portrait was painted by J.W. Trussler in 1889.
Horace B. Moore, born in 1843, was employed with a lumber company before his stint in public office. In 1885 he was elected almost unanimously as the village mayor. Although his time in office was short, only one year, he enjoyed several successful accomplishments, including a new mail delivery system and the erection of named street signs. H.B. Moore died on December 2, 1906 with no known wife or children.
Josiah Davis (J.D.) Ensign was born in New York on May 14, 1833, and he earned a law degree and began practicing law in Ashtabula County, Ohio. He married Kate Jones, but after ten years of marriage she died in 1868. By 1870, Ensign had moved to Duluth, and in 1872 he married Rose Watrous. He served as Duluth's city and county attorney and wrote the seminal work on the history of the Duluth Harbor development in the 1860s and 1870s. In 1880, Ensign was selected to serve out Peter Dean's incomplete term as president of the village, and he was elected in his own right to the office in 1881. He succeeded in expanding the borders of the village of Duluth and was elected to a second (non-consecutive) term in 1884. After his terms he served as a District Court judge for thirty-two years, including work as the first "juvenile judge."
This oil painting by John Ruikka (April 16, 1880, to May, 1965) depicts the original Palkki gristmill, which was built on the Midway River and located on property of pioneer Erick Palkki. It was used from 1878 to approximately 1916, was built by pioneers to grind grain into flour, and was water powered. Please note that the original spelling, in Finnish, is "Palkki." The spelling as "Palkie" is an Americanized spelling of the name.
Marcus J. Davis, like many Duluth pioneers, was involved in the grain business and a stockholder in the Duluth & Winnipeg Railroad. He was not a native of Minnesota, being born in Oswego County, New York in 1841. He began his political career almost as soon as he came to Duluth, as he was elected alderman in 1874, the year he arrived. He was elected mayor in 1890 and began a crusade against the seedier aspects of the city, ordering saloons to close at 11pm and banning boxing. He also brought with him from New York plans for an aerial lift bridge, later built in Duluth. After his one term in office, Davis moved to Joplin, Missouri, though he was buried in Duluth.
Born on June 2, 1851 in Angelica, New York and well-educated in law, Charles E. d'Autremont, Jr. moved to Duluth on a whim in 1882 with his family. He soon began to make a name for himself, becoming county attorney in 1884 and running for state Attorney General in 1888. In 1892 d'Autremont was elected mayor and served two efficient but unremarkable terms. After his tenure he was heavily and successfully involved in mining throughout western North America. He died in Angelica, New York on July 25, 1919.
Sidney Luce, Duluth's second mayor, was born in Kingsville, Ohio, on September 19, 1819. He moved to the Duluth area in the mid-1850s and served as registrar for the U.S. Land Office. He built Duluth's first commercial structure, a warehouse at the foot of Third Avenue East at the lake shore, and helped found the city's first brewery. He was elected mayor in 1872, but resigned while still in office to return to Ohio. His portrait was painted by J.W. Trussler in 1896.
Trevanion W. Hugo was born in Boddinoc, Cornwall, England on July 29, 1848 but spent most of his youth in Kinston, Ontario. In 1881 he and his family moved to Duluth, and he soon became an alderman and president of the city council for eight years. In 1900 he was elected mayor by just five votes, and he held the office for four years. He was appointed mayor once again to finish Clarence Magney's term in 1920 but declined to run again in 1921. Outside of City Hall, he was a prominent member of the Masons, rising to the rank of grand chancellor of the supreme council of Scottish Rite Masonry. He died on February 27, 1923 of complications from influenza and was survived by two sons.
Captain Ray T. Lewis, born in 1940 in Brunswick, Maine, was a man of the sea. He sailed around the world several times before eventually moving to Duluth in 1886, where he became a successful real estate businessman. In 1894 he was elected mayor, and he is reported to have been a very strict mayor. After his tenure as mayor, Lewis served in the state legislature twice. On a trip to his hometown he was involved in a carriage accident, and he died of his injuries on July 21, 1912.
Roland D. Haven was born the son of a carpenter on October 17, 1866 in Sudbury, Vermont. In 1883 he moved to Minnesota and worked as a carpenter in Northfield, St. Paul, and Minneapolis before reolcating to Duluth in 1889 and becoming a factory foreman. From 1894 to 1908 he worked with several companies in the manufacturing, tug, real estate, and farm implement businesses. He served two terms as alderman (and council president) beginning in 1902, and in 1908 was elected mayor. He served two fairly unremarkable terms, and shortly after leaving office he moved with his wife Belle to Silver City, New Mexico, where he died on April 21, 1930.
Born on Oct. 20, 1844 in Schleswig, a Danish territory, Henry Truelsen worked in a variety of trades before entering political life. As president of the Duluth Board of Public Works, he led a battle for public ownership of the city's water supply at a reasonable price. This role contributed to his populist candidacy for Duluth mayor and was referenced in a plaque affixed to the portrait's frame which read "Henry Truelsen, mayor of Duluth, 1896-1900. Through whose untiring efforts Duluth obtained its water and gas plant. Presented to the city by Thomas A. Merritt. The portrait was painted by David Ericson (1869-1946), a renowned portrait and landscape artist who lived in Duluth. In 1910 Ericson was commissioned to travel to Zenith, North Dakota, Truelsen's new home, to paint the mayoral portrait. Truelsen died on Dec. 4, 1931, in Los Angeles, California.
Born in Camden, Ohio on October 11, 1867, William I. Prince was a very successful banker in Bessemer, Michigan. He was later elected mayor of Bessemer for three terms, after which he relocated to Duluth, Minnesota in 1902 to organize the City National Bank. In 1913 Prince became Duluth's first mayor under the "commissioner" model, which Prince helped to establish. His single term as mayor was unremarkable, after which he was heavily involved in the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. He died on November 11, 1941, leaving behind his wife Mary and two sons.
Clarence Magney is better known as a judge than a mayor. Born January 11, 1883 in Wisconsin, he was a successful lawyer until his election as Duluth mayor in 1917. During his stint as mayor, Magney worked to preserve and increase Duluth's parkland and parkways. He resigned from this office on September 15, 1920 in order to take a post as judge of the District Court, where he served for 23 years. He then served as associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1943-1953. He died on May 15, 1962, leaving behind his wife Lillian and their three children.
"Doc" John A. McCuen, born on July 17, 1864 in Guelph, Ontario, was better known as the St. Louis County Coroner than as mayor. Elected in 1912, McCuen was the last mayor under the old aldermanic system of government. He declined to run for a second term, since that would have meant serving under the new commissioner model with less power. He remained active in civic affairs until his death on November 4, 1927.
Andreas Mitchell Miller, born on July 16, 1839 in Copenhagen, Denmark, was the first mayor of the village of Duluth after the city lost its charter in 1877. As such, much of his two-year term was concerned with reassessment of Duluth's assets and activities. After leaving office in 1879, Miller moved to New York with his wife Anneliza and two children. He died there on May 22, 1917.
This painting by W. Gillette depicts the First Pera family home that was built in 1900 but destroyed by the 1918 Forest Fire. Also in the frame is the Pera family's home built after the 1918 Forest Fire. W. Gillette was a relative through marriage to John Pera's wife, Mabel Kaanta.
Carl Rudolf Berghult was the first native-born Duluth mayor. Born on April 15, 1905 and elected in 1937, he was also the nation's youngest mayor of a city of over 100,000 people. As mayor, he secured government funding for the Blatnik Bridge and worked to beautify the city's public land. He also revised the city's debt structure and began several health and work programs for his citizens. After his tenure as mayor ended in 1941, Berghult joined the navy and earned recognition for his service at Normandy Beach and in Norway. He had two children with his wife Eva before his death on February 6, 2000.
Local artist and resident Edgar F. Olson painted the Apostolic Lutheran Church and its cemetery in 1943, using oils. On the back of the painting was the following etching: "My apprecication to you, Rev. Michaelson, for making my mother's last moments happier. Edgar F. Olson, 1937. Old Finnish Cemetery and New Church, Carlton Co., Minn."
Edward Hatch, a native of Truro, Devonshire, England, came to the United States 1887 at the age of five. He worked with several mining companies in Eveleth, Minnesota before becoming postmaster there from 1911-1914. In 1917 he was elected mayor of Eveleth, and after his term there he relocated to Duluth. In 1941 he became Duluth's mayor, concentrating on job growth. He and his wife Ella had no children, and he died on September 2, 1961 in Duluth.
This 1950 oil painting is a self-portrait of Esko resident and artist Edgar F. Olson himself. Born July 25, 1896, in Esko, he did a number of artworks, mostly oil paintings, for the community and its members, before his death on August 18, 1974.
George W. Johnson, born December 22, 1894, was a Minnesota state legislator from 1925-1937, serving as Speaker of the House for the last two years. He was elected mayor on April 3, 1945, and he served for two terms. During his time in office he worked to promote Duluth tourism and implement a social security program for the state. After his tenure, Johnson worked as a home appraiser until his death on January 20, 1974. He was survived by his wife Grace.
Emil Clifford Mork, who usually only used his first initial, was born in Duluth on August 22, 1905. He and his wife operated Mork Food Supply, a business started by Mork's father. Mork was also involved in the Minnesota Food Retailers Association and several other food associations before his election on April 7, 1959. He planned to run for reelection, but he unfortunately (and mysteriously) died in office on August 14, 1962.
Eugene Lambert was the first mayor under a new system eschewing the "commissioner" model. He was born in Duluth on November 5, 1915. He served in the military until 1946 and worked in labor relations until his election in 1956. As mayor, Lambert emphasized long-range planning and improved communication with state and federal agencies. After his term, Lambert worked in many fields, including publishing the Duluth Herald and News Tribune until his death in 1994.
George D. Johnson was born on February 18, 1917 in Duluth. After attending several area colleges and universities, Johnson worked in the American Steel and Wire division of U.S. Steel. He served his first term as mayor from 1953-1956 under the "commissioner" model of government. When Mayor E. Clifford Mork died in office in 1962, Johnson was appointed to take his place and won the subsequent election in 1963 under the "strong mayor" government model. After his terms he rose to prominence in the United Steelworks of America, the Minnesota Mayors Association, the League of Minnesota Municipalities, and the City Charter Commission. He died in 1999, leaving behind his wife Eleanor and two children.
This watercolor drawing depicts "Bear Woman," a strong Chippewa woman with a bear crown. In the background another bear wades toward the reeds and the shoreline. This is one print in a series created for the Freshwater Society in Excelsior, Minnesota, donated to the Westonka Historical Society; one of a limited edition created in 1981-1985.
This watercolor drawing depicts "Eagle Water," a strong Chippewa man with an eagle crown. In the background another eagle soars above the shoreline with a fish clutched in its claws. This is one print in a series created for the Freshwater Society in Excelsior, Minnesota, donated to the Westonka Historical Society, one of a limited edition created in 1981-1985.
Mural painting, "White Bear Captures the Warrior Princess." One of a series of paintings by Gustav Krollmann which illustrate Alice Thorson's novel, "The Tribe of Pezhekee." Photograph by Paul Barsness.
Duluth's longest-serving mayor, Samuel Frisby Snively, was born on November 24, 1859 in Cumberland, Pennsylvania. After earning a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, he and a friend opened a law firm in Duluth in 1886. They did very well until the financial ruin of 1893, after which Snively tried his luck in the Yukon gold rush of 1897. He was unsuccessful, but he returned to Duluth and found prosperity in farmland development. After building a creek parkway (Seven Bridges Road) and several others, Snively was elected mayor in 1921 at the age of 61. He held the office for sixteen years, leaving a legacy of beautiful parkland and boulevards. He continued this work after his four terms until he died a bachelor on November 7, 1952 in Duluth.