Saturday, April 14, 2018

Canal Park

I am writing this on my new laptop and still getting used to the way it feels and the way it works. Made the the switch from my old desktop so bear with me for a while.

I took this past week off as I had to use up vacation time or lose it. Not a bad position to be in so I took advantage of it. I decided to take the weekly (every Tuesday) bus to Duluth since I really hadn't been out of the county since mid December. I drove into town to meet it at 8 a.m. and gave the driver my fare for the 220 mile round trip.  I think the bus is designed for seniors, but anyone can take it, and it is subsidized which explains the $20 fare. It will drop you off in any number of locations as well as stopping to pick up other passengers anywhere along the route. I got off at the bus depot in Duluth and walked through the skywalk system to within a block of where I wanted to be.

Canal Park is an area that was a run down warehouse district adjacent to the entry to the harbor where the first saltie (ocean going vessel) just came in the other day. It made it from the Atlantic Ocean, through the Great Lakes and locks to end up in Duluth, a distance of over 2300 miles. 

Canal Park was developed back in the 80's starting with Grandma's restaurant and progressing into an area of shops, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, offices, museums, and hotels. It is now a destination for locals and tourists, of which I was one, coming to the head of the Great Lakes.

Here is some of what I saw.
The William A. Irvin was in service from 1938 to 1978 carrying coal ind iron ore. It is over 600 feet long and is now used as a floating museum. At Halloween (actually, most of October) it is turned into a haunted ship and is quite an attraction. Here it is still frozen into the ice, but it should thaw in the next couple of weeks. The harbor is open now and the icebreakers are no longer needed.

The Aerial Lift Bridge connects Canal Park to Park Point, an mostly residential area. It crosses the channel that these ships go through to enter the harbor and is a historical landmark. It was put in service in 1905 as an improvement to ferries, swinging foot bridge, and was first used as a gondola before turning into a lift bridge a couple of decades later.

This is the channel that goes from the lake to the bridge.
Here is the Bayfield, a tugboat that is grounded in front of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps operates the Duluth Maritime Museum at the west end of the bridge.

 Even though it was a chilly weekday people still walk on the paths and visit the displays along the end of the Lakewalk.
Long ago, in November of 1905, there was a shipwreck at the end of this breakwater, before they put a lighthouse there.

 The ship foundered and broke in half. Many lives were lost, but there were some survivors. It was only about a hundred yards off shore. Here is the story, but you'll need to embiggen the photo in order to read about it.
To be continued...


  1. The story of the Mataafa is a reminder that the elements are stronger than any number of people. What it must have been like for those sailors to see the shore and not be able to get to safety . . . Is that the same lighthouse you posted a picture of just recently?

  2. What a wonderful outing - for you and for us. Thank you.
    So many lives lost at sea... Not a profession for the chicken-hearted.

  3. Oh yes, I adore this place and we spent a few days here last summer. I wish we lived a bit closer then I'd visit here more often. If not for the cruel (in my
    opinion) winters I'd move here!

  4. I'm glad you were kind of forced to take some time off. It sounds like you had a blast.

    That bus deal is phenomenal. (And yes, I do love dogs. There are many dogs that I like more than some people.)

  5. never been to duluth, so thanks for the tour. wanna see more!

  6. Debra, It was chilly, but lovely and I'm sure I'll do it again when I need a break from my everyday life.

    Cloudia, I only touched on a few of the things to see and do there.

    jenny_o, The story of the Mataafa is only one of many dozens (actually several hundred) Great Lakes shipwrecks. The water between our two countries is beautiful and deadly. The former lighthouse is my local one and this one is about 110 miles farther down the lake.

    Elephant's Child, Hundreds have lost their lives on the Great Lakes. My great grandfather died at sea along with hundreds more in a big storm off the coast of Iceland back in 1896.

    Karen, You don't live much farther than I do from there, but i don't get there enough, either. The weather? I think y'all down south have gotten a worse winter than us this year. Of course, we don't need air conditioning in the summer when we have the lake nearby.

    magiceye, It is fun to share little bits of the world, isn't it?

    Sioux, Having "extra" vacation is a blessing indeed and learning how to have inexpensive excursions is something I am working on for the future. Dogs are awesome people. Are you aware that the current occupant of the White House is the first not to have a dog since about 1900? I think it says everything you need to know about the man.

    anne marie, Thanks! You remind me of all the field trips I took to Philadelphia and all the historical sites I got to see as a kid. I always took that stuff for granted, but here in the Midwest there are many who haven't seen Philly and D.C. and all the stuff in between and to either side.

  7. It's a lot of fun playing tourist in your own state! So many times we never visit interesting places nearby, because "...we live here and can go any old time..." and we end up never going.

  8. I haven't seen the name Duluth for a long time. But what a great trip you took there plus the bus fair sounds terrific. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip ! Thank You for the walk along.
    When I was a child we traveled quite a lot and as parents we took our children on many trips. Even older now they take off to many places I would like to visit.

    cheers, parsnip

  9. 220 miles for $20 - wow, what a deal! And what a great way to spend a vacation day. It looks pretty chilly there, though - that photo of the ice-bound ship made me shiver!

  10. Pixel Peeper, Yes, there are still many things I can do locally because I live here, but I take them for granted.

    angryparsnip, They call it the Air Conditioned City because of the lake and have made some vast improvements in the last few decades. I have been trying to find cheap ways to practice for retirement, also.

    Diane, There was a foot of new snow there over the weekend, but that was an unusually large late winter storm.

  11. A pretty good deal for the bus fare, that's 11 cents a mile, bargoooon.
    I haven't been to Duluth, at least I don't think I have. I was up your way once a few years ago but not quite sure where now. Nice to have some vacation days and have to use them up on a trip. I'm a bit envious, I need to go on a trip somewhere. I've been stuck here all winter. And last weekend was the worst.... didn't even get out of the house, snow, rain, wind, ice pellets, freezing rain, snow, more snow.... grrrr...

  12. Wonderful tour of your bailiwick! Passed through Duluth only twice-- it's a fur piece from here!

  13. I like all canals except the root kind.

  14. Shammickite, A bargain, indeed! I even nodded off once or twice without endangering anyone or myself! I think most of the continent had that storm. Pretty awful.

    vanilla, It's a fur piece from most places, but the nearest thing that passes for a city to me. At least on this side of the border. Thunder Bay is closer, but I need my passport.

    Batty, I think those are universally abhorred.