Mystery Photo #78: Trio by the Transfer Bridge

It’s not known who shot this photo or the names of the people posing in it, but based on the woman’s flapper outfit and the fact that the Aerial Bridge in the background isn’t a lift bridge yet, it must be circa the 1920s. Can anyone find other clues?

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Goose Chase: An Interview with Duluth’s Goosinator

In 2016 the city of Duluth purchased a remote-controlled glider designed to humanely chase away geese. “The Goosinator” was acquired from an eponymous company in Denver, Colo. at a cost of about $3,000 plus shipping and handling. The city made this purchase with the express goal of ridding Bayfront Festival Park of an increasing abundance of goose feces, a consequence of the recovering Canada goose population. In large amounts, goose feces diminish the park’s appeal and utility, and can cause illness in people and pollute the lake.

Two years on, the Goosinator agreed to meet with me for an exclusive, first-ever interview.

No one in the newly-opened Dovetail Cafe & Marketplace recognizes the Duluth park maintenance worker hustling in from the cold for an interview, but he draws notice all the same. The Goosinator stands about 20 inches tall and, at almost four feet long, has to sit sideways as I help him into a chair at a table made of reclaimed birdseye maple. He wears an outsize, toothy permagrin. He’s bright orange. And he seems perfectly at ease with the sideways glances, thanking me with a wry smirk as I pass him the Cascara Tea I took the liberty of ordering him. After all, he’s used to being the focus of attention, as it’s a prerequisite for his unusual line of work.

PDD: Thank you so much for agreeing to talk with me today.

TG: Hey, yeah, no problem. I’m a seasonal employee, so once mid-October rolls around, I pack up and spend the winter in storage in a park maintenance facility in Canal Park. Honestly, it’s just nice to be out, and to be in a different part of town. Has this place always been here?

PDD: No, it’s new.

TG: Yeah, that’s kinda what I thought. Looks it. I moved here for work in 2016, and I don’t get out much.

PDD: Well, again, thanks for doing this. Let’s talk about why you’re in Duluth. Where are you from, and what brought you out here?

TG: Right. So, I was born in Denver a couple years ago, and got hired right away to clean up the mess down at Bayfront.

PDD: What mess?

TG: All the goose shit. Feel free to edit that. When I came to Duluth, Bayfront Festival Park was one big Slip ‘n Slide, just covered in a blanket of anserine feces. That’s the goose adjective, anserine. It’d been getting worse and worse for years. Trampled by Turtles played a show in the summer of 2015 where 11 people died, is what I heard; I guess it nearly broke the band. After that, the city tried all these things to keep the geese out, but nothing worked.

PDD: What did they try?

TG: They tried decoys. The first ones were these black coyote silhouettes. The geese didn’t know what to make of them at first, but they wised up quick, and in a couple days the things might as as well have been part of the gaggle, just mixed in among everybody else.

Next they tried “solid” decoys, shaped like predators. Some were coyotes again, some were swans. The same thing happened with them, the geese saw through them right away, and some of them got stolen. Maybe someone stuffed them with firecrackers? I dunno. Some people’s kids, right?

So, after that, the city tried monofilament string, real thin, six or eight inches above the ground. That was probably the worst. Nobody could see the stuff, so people just walked through it and destroyed it. Then they brought me in.

Bayfront Festival Park. Photo courtesy of KUMD.

PDD: What do you do that’s different?

TG: I keep the geese out, is what. I work with an operator, a guy named Paul, or this other guy John, good guys, and they guide me remotely to round the geese up and drive them away.

PDD: You chase them?

TG: (Laughs) Not quite. And you told me about the title you’re thinking about, and it’s cute and all, but what I do is different. I tried chasing them first, though. My first time out, spring of 2016, I just charged this gaggle, headlong into the middle of the park right in front of the stage, and they just parted to either side like I was Moses and I rolled right past them. Geese are smart, man. You ever really watch a gaggle while they’re grazing? They’ve got it together. All the adults trade out, some with their heads up, working as lookouts, some grazing. They just keep switching off, so they’ve always got fresh eyes looking out for danger. And if some bozo looks like they’re gonna just run through the middle, the lookouts just move to either side and the rest of the geese follow, splitting the gaggle until the intruder’s on the other side. T.H. White talks about geese in The Once and Future King, and Merlin shows young Arthur all these animal societies, and geese are Merlin’s ideal society, because of their mix of independence and collectivism.

Anyhow, what I do is more like herding. First, I get up early, before the geese, like four o’clock in the morning. If they’ve settled in by the time I show up, they’ll stand their ground and fight with me and they’ll win. So, I get there early, and when they start coming in, I circle around them, tightening up the gaggle. Once I’ve got them close together like that, I start driving them by cutting close on one side of the circle and leaving more room on the other. I do that until they’re in the slip, that channel of water by Peir B Resort, where most of them are coming from in the first place.

PDD: And that’s it?

TG: Not yet. If I left them in the slip, they’d just come right back on land as soon as I took off. See, my foam skis are capped on the bottom with polycarbonate skin, so I can move over grass, water, ice and snow. I’m amphibious. So, I drive them out of the slip, and then they stay gone.

PDD: Ever have any problems with that?

TG: You heard about that, huh? Yeah, one time I did, this June. I got a little carried away, and my operator couldn’t guide me back. The Coast Guard scooped me up and brought me back no problem. We all gotta accept help sometime, you know?

The Goosinator driving geese in water. Courtesy of Pioneer Press.

PDD: Right, no, I’m just busting your chops. Better you than me. Actually, I’m surprised there aren’t more of you here. Is there anybody else in town doing what you do?

TG: There really isn’t. Some hotels have talked about using drones, but between you and me, I don’t think it’d work. You see, the geese we have up here, Canada geese we’ve been talking about, by the way. The Canada geese up here, they don’t have any natural predators that hunt them from the sky. So I’m not sure these geese would recognize drones as a threat. Now, there are some big hawks in Missouri that prey on Canada Geese, but these geese don’t go there, so my hunch is that they wouldn’t be nearly as responsive to being dive-bombed by drones. Plus, I’m super durable, and I do well in water. And yeah, maybe I’m biased, I guess, but I think if they go Goosinator, they’ll be very satisfied.

PDD: What do you like most about your job?

TG: I like keeping the park sanitary, I like how active the work is. It’s also my only social outlet, so it’s a nice chance to meet people, to meet women. That’s tough though, too. I mean, most of the women I meet are geese, but, judging from the reactions I get, women seem to be funny about Goosinators, you know?

PDD: Maybe it’s because they’re geese and you’re chasing them.

TG: (Laughs) Yeah, maybe. I hope that’s it.

PDD: OK, one more. Do you have a favorite local band?

TG: I’m a transplant. Do I have to say Low?

PDD: Yeah, I think so.

TG: Definitely Low. Plus, I mean, no one ever died dancing at a Low show, am I right?

Fact check: The Goosinator is correct: no one has ever died dancing at a Low show.

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Selective Focus: Ice and Frost

Video Archive: Christmas City of the North Parade 1998

Here it is, nearly two hours of KBJR-TV coverage of the Christmas City of the North Parade from 20 years ago — Nov. 20, 1998. It was the first time the parade was routed onto Railroad Street in Canal Park, where KBJR was building its new studio.

See below for an index of parade entries if you want to find your favorite and not watch the whole broadcast. Also below, bonus footage: A portion of the KBJR newscast that preceded the parade. Both videos include most of the local commercials. National commercials were trimmed out, as were local commercials that repeated. 

Fun Facts / Disputed Numbers

  • At some point KBJR lost count of how many Christmas City of the North Parade’s have actually happened. If the 1998 parade was the 39th annual, as the video purports, then the 2018 parade should be the 59th annual. But for some reason this year’s parade is being marketed as the 60th annual. When the Duluth News Tribune’s Andrew Krueger researched the history of the parade in 2008, he determined that year’s parade was the 48th annual, though it was being promoted as the 50th annual. He found archival material promoting the 1975 parade as 15th annual and 1980 parade as 20th annual. So that would make the 1998 parade the 38th annual and the 2018 parade the 58th annual. Does your head hurt yet?
  • In the video, the number of units in the parade is reported as 74. PDD’s index lists 69, but we might have missed something, or some units might not have made the telecast, or maybe a few units didn’t show up.
  • The 1998 parade broadcast was followed by the 3,000th episode of Wheel of Fortune. Coincidentally, Wheel of Fortune was created by Merv Griffin, the man who sang the “Christmas City” parade theme song. In keeping with our theme of disputed numbers, notes that the “ceremonial 3,000th episode” was “actually #2,980.”

Segment Index
0:04:01 Prerecorded clip from tree-lighting ceremony at Minnesota Power Plaza with words by Duluth Mayor Gary Doty
0:26:11 Pre-recorded news package about high school bands and others preparing for parade
0:38:39 Pre-recorded package about the history of the parade

Parade Unit Index
0:04:40 Duluth Fire Department
0:06:23 148th Fighter Wing Honor Guard
0:07:25 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
0:09:26 Duluth East High School Band, Danceline and Cheerleaders
0:11:37 Duluth Mayor Gary Doty and Family
0:12:40 Stacey’s Studio of Dance Education
0:14:25 Great Lakes Aquarium on Wheels
0:15:19 Snowden from Target
0:19:06 Marshall School Band
0:20:23 Minnesota Power
0:21:15 Barbara Reyelts & Family
0:22:03 KTCO Radio
0:22:35 Lakehead Pipeline (Best Commercial Float)
0:24:24 Central High School Band, Danceline and Cheerleaders
0:25:48 Miss Minnesota America Pre-teen (Stacy Lefring?)
0:29:30 Pioneer National Bank
0:30:20 Duluth School Patrol
0:31:40 Wrenshall High School Marching Band
0:33:17 Duluth News Tribune
0:35:17 Joyce Torvund School of Dance
0:43:22 St. Luke’s Hospital
0:44:23 Denfeld High School Band, Cheerleaders and Danceline
0:47:02 Harley-Davidson Sport Center (Best of Show)
0:49:14 Navy Junior ROTC Secondary Tech Center
0:50:17 Hermantown Community Church
0:52:24 Tartan High School Band
0:54:58 Lots for Tots
0:56:00 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon
0:56:50 Proctor High School Marching Band and Cheerleaders
1:00:22 Arco Coffee
1:01:20 Port of Duluth Kiwanis (Mrs. Claus)
1:02:09 Markall’s Majorettes
1:04:54 Duluth Speedskating Club
1:05:32 Miss Floodwood
1:05:55 Northwestern High School Band and Danceline
1:07:24 Maurices (Best Illuminated)
1:08:20 Miss Tower-Soudan
1:08:41 WDSE-TV (Bluether and Razzleberry)
1:08:59 Re/MAX Real Estate
1:09:24 Grantsburg High School Band
1:12:49 Aftenro Home
1:13:29 Salvation Army Operation Rudolph
1:15:28 Iron River Lions Club (with Blueberry Queen)
1:15:56 Dance Escape Dance Studio
1:19:15 Miss Moose Lake (Jessica Warpula)
1:19:44 Arrowhead Chapter of Credit Unions
1:20:10 Twin Ports Bible and Book
1:20:28 Miss Barnum (Julee Burt)
1:20:53 Minnesota Interagency Fire Prevention (Smoky the Bear)
1:21:36 Carlton High School Marching Band
1;23:13 Western Bank
1:25:20 Sterling Silver Baton Studio and One Step Up Dance Academy
1;29:17 Miss Kettle River
1:29:58 Floodwood School Band
1:30:53 Glensheen
1:32:16 Fitger’s (featuring a live marriage proposal)
1:34:37 Miss West Duluth
1:35:07 Hermantown High School Band
1:36:40 Duluth Figure Skating Club
1:38:55 Miller Hill Mall with Santa Claus
1:39:23 Northern Pine Girl Scouts pulled by Halvor Lines
1:39:52 Salvation Army Band
1:40:23 Miss Hoyt Lakes
1:41:00 Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers
1:41:38 CW Chips
1:41:52 Superior Senior High School Band
1:43:40 Duluth Lions Club
1:45:07 Mother’s Against Drunk Driving
1:45:45 Cub Foods

Commercial Index
0:08:16 Ski Hut
0:08:46 Arco Coffee
0:08:56 Gordy’s Gift and Garden Center
0:16:15 Steak Escape
0:16:46 Minnesota Power
0:17:16 Miller Hill Mall – “Mall Perks”
0:17:46 Operation Rudolph
0:18:17 KBJR News 6
0:28:28 Daugherty’s Hardware & Appliance
0:28:57 KBJR Homework Homepage
0:40:44 Miller Hill Mall – “VIP Visa Card”
0:41:16 Dish Network / S&S Cable Alternative
0:41:45 ICO Conveniece Plus
0:42:15 KBJR Vikings vs. Packers promo
0:51:14 Duluth Downtown Waterfront Specialty Stores
0:51:44 KBJR-TV News 6 at 10
1:03:41 Miller Hill Mall – “Get what you need”
1:04:10 St. Luke’s Hospital
1:10:55 Miller Hill Mall – “Shop here. Get more.” (version one)
1:11:25 KBJR News 6 “In Touch”
1:11:55 United Way of Greater Duluth
1:17:43 St. Luke’s Hospital
1:18:44 News 6 at 10 – McCaughey septuplets
1:24:08 KBJR-TV News 6 – School Closings
1:24:38 KBJR-TV Sports with Tom Hanson
1:31:46 Miller Hill Mall – “Shop here. Get ,more” (version two)
1:44:22 Fitger’s Brewery Complex

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Guide to Duluth-area Restaurants Serving Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is arguably the best holiday. It’s an opportunity to be grateful for what you have, eat delicious food and spend time with family (either blood or chosen). There’s no need to buy presents, go to church or decorate the house. The most stressful aspect of the day is the cooking.

Putting on a traditional Thanksgiving spread with all the trimmings translates to a full day in the kitchen, especially if you include clean up. Why not avoid the hard work and eat out this year? The Twin Ports has an extensive array of options, including quite a few full buffets. And, of course, we hardly need to note that Duluth’s largest Thanksgiving feast — the 29th annual Twin Ports Thanksgiving Buffet at the DECC — is free of charge and meals can be delivered to home-bound residents.

Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular Thanksgiving restaurant options in the Twin Ports area. Feel free to mention your favorites in the comment section.

Barkers Waterfront Grille (Superior)

Barker’s Inn continues its annual Grand Thanksgiving Buffet this year. General Manager Shannon Olson says every staff person helps with the meal, from front desk clerks to housekeepers. They expect to serve 900-1000 guests.

The buffet is served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It includes the traditional turkey and trimmings but features a range of additional offerings, such as chef-carved smoked ham, macaroni & cheese and smiley potato fries as well as a 40-foot dessert table with a “huge array of desserts.” Pricing is $23 for adults, $21 for seniors (55+) and $10 for kids (5-10). Kids 4 and under eat free. Call 715-392-7152 for reservations.

Boat Club Restaurant & Bar (Duluth)

The Thanksgiving buffet at the Boat Club has been running for three years and consistently sells out, so reservations are a must. It’s an upscale version of dinner that you won’t likely find at grandma’s house, featuring several main courses, including turkey; stuffed pork loin with goat cheese, cranberries, persimmons and mustard green pesto; and broiled cod with a caper beurre blanc sauce.

A range of traditional and inspired sides will be available. Patrons can have traditional stuffing or opt for wild rice oyster stuffing. They can savor some tater tot hot dish or try the deviled eggs stuffed with crab or lobster. There’s also a kids’ station with chicken tenders and fries will satiate the picky eaters and several dessert options. Pricing is $28 for adults; $12 for kids 10 and under. Kids under 3 eat for free. Reserve a spot online or call 218-727-4880. More info.

Black Woods Grill & Bar (Duluth, Proctor, Two Harbors)

All three Black Woods restaurants will be serving buffet-style Thanksgiving dinners from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with turkey, ham and traditional sides as well as assorted desserts.

At the Two Harbors location the buffet will be $16 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under. The restaurant will close at 4 p.m.

The Duluth restaurant is charging $21 for adults and $8 for kids. The Proctor Black Woods buffet will cost $17 for adults and $8 for kids. Both locations will remain open after the buffet until 10 p.m. for regular dinner service.

Dreamland Supper Club (South Range)

For non-turkey eaters, the beloved supper club outside of Superior will have its regular menu available on Thanksgiving. It will also serve a turkey dinner with the usual accompaniments from noon to 8 p.m. for $13.95.

Dry Dock Bar & Restaurant (Midway Township)

Don’t expect to order breakfast at the Dry Dock on Thanksgiving. They’re saving up their stamina to put on a massive turkey day buffet that includes all the items you’d expect and more. Main course alternatives include ham, beef tips and fish. There will be an appetizer table, salads and assorted desserts for the bargain price of $14.95 for adults, $6.99 for kids 6-12, and free for tykes under 5.

The buffet will be served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the lower-level banquet room. A plated turkey or ham dinner with potatoes and veggies will also be available (along with the regular menu) in the dining room and bar for $10.99. Reservations are recommended so patrons don’t have to wait to be seated but walk-ins are welcome. Call 218-624-5512 to reserve a spot. More info.

JJ Astor at the Radisson (Duluth)

The area’s favorite rotating restaurant is doing things a little differently this year. They’re scrapping the usual buffet for a plated turkey dinner special with stuffing, mashed potatoes, asparagus and cranberries. It will be served on the later side, from 5 to 8 p.m., and will cost $28 for adults and $14 for kids 12 and under. Reservations can be made by calling 218-722-VIEW.

Ledge Rock Grille at Larsmont (Two Harbors)

For those who choose to venture up the shore, a classic Thanksgiving buffet with a gourmet flourish awaits. Chef Simon Gilna is preparing roasted turkey, which will be accompanied by sage pan gravy and sides like garlic mashed potatoes, maple sweet potatoes, rosemary stuffing and butternut squash soup. It’s $29.95 for adults and $18 for kids 5-12. Kids under 5 are free. The buffet runs from 2 to 8 p.m. Call for reservations 218-595-7510.

Lyric is open from 8 a.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving, and starting at 2 p.m. is offering a choice of roast turkey or pit ham, served with potato, corn and cranberries. The entree costs $13 and includes a slice of pumpkin pie. Reservations can be made by calling 218-249-9000.

Pickwick Restaurant and Pub (Duluth)

The iconic Duluth restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving and is serving a limited menu. For those who crave conventional fare, there’s a plated turkey dinner with sausage dressing and other typical trimmings. It comes with a salad and costs $23.50. Steak, seafood and pasta will be on offer as well as signature appetizers like the Pickwick’s unparalleled onion rings. More info.

Restaurant 301 at the Sheraton (Duluth)

The downtown hotel restaurant is drawing from Duluth history for its Thanksgiving dinner. It’s partnering again with the Glensheen Mansion to craft a menu using some of Clara Congdon’s handwritten recipes. Full details weren’t available at the time of publishing but it will be a coursed meal that includes traditional turkey and a dose of modern flair. Call 218-336-2705 for reservations and more information.

Silos Restaurant at Pier B (Duluth)

Reservations are required for the harbor side restaurant’s traditional Thanksgiving buffet. It happens from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and runs $23.95 for adults and $9.95 for children 6-12 (5 and under are free). Call 218-336-3430 or reserve online. More info.

Tavern on the Hill (Duluth)

Head to the Tavern if you’ve got a group that demands choices. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will serve its full menu, plus a casual version of Thanksgiving, an open-faced turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce for $14.

Upper Deck Restaurant and Lounge (Superior)

This Superior mainstay has been hosting a Thanksgiving buffet for more than two decades. It includes the typical turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy as well as ham, meatballs, a salad bar and two soups. There will be a dessert table too. The cost is $15.99 for adults and $7.99 for children under 10. Reservations are recommended for the buffet, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 715-395-8376 to secure a spot.

Tasty alternatives for introverts

If you prefer to dine at home but don’t want all the fuss of cooking, there are also take out options available. For newbies concerned about giving guests salmonella or drying out the main course, OMC Smokehouse has you covered. It’s selling 18-20 pound, wood-smoked, free range turkeys for $110 each. Call 218-606-1611 to order by Nov. 18.

The deli at Whole Foods Coop will prepare “everything but the bird” for its patrons. This includes smashed red potatoes, wild rice pilaf, gravy, pumpkin pie and more. Hurry if you want to get in on this deal that serves six for $99.99. Orders must be placed by 9 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Avoid cooking altogether by calling the Vanilla Bean in Duluth or Two Harbors. They will prepare an entire turkey dinner (serves 8-10) with all the trimmings for $150. More info.

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Duluth Harbor Basin, 1925

This photo from the National Archive was taken on an airplane from the McCook Field aviation experimentation station in Dayton, Ohio, which was flying in the region for a photographic mapping expedition of the Canadian border in October and November of 1925.

The caption on the photo reads:

Duluth Harbor Basin, the main business section and portions of Lake Superior, showing the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Aerial Bridge connecting Duluth proper with a long neck of land known as Minnesota Point, which really makes the Duluth Superior Harbor.

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Postcards from Turk’s Clearview Court

The undated postcard above shows an aerial view of Turk’s Clearview Court at 8015 Congdon Boulevard in Lakewood Township, just outside Duluth’s northeastern border.

The text on the back of the card reads:

Well back from the highway to assure a quiet nights rest. Knotty cedar lined with picture windows looking over majestic and beautiful Lake Superior. All have shower bath, vented heat and free radios. Fully equipped for housekeeping with electric refrigeration. Playground for children.

Below is another postcard aerial view of Turk’s.

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“Cincinnati Dancing Pig”

The song “Cincinnati Dancing Pig” was released by everybody and their brother in 1950, and in this post several versions are gathered. The words were written by Al Lewis and the music by Guy Wood. The internet purports the first recording was by Dick Jurgens and His Orchestra in May 1950, but the first release was by Red Foley in August 1950.

The Duluth-related lyric:

From Duluth to Birmingham
He’s the pork chop Dapper Dan,
He’s the keenest ham what am,
Cincinnati dancing pig

Vic Damone, 1950

Tennesse Ernie Ford, 1950

Joe “Fingers” Carr, 1950

Gene Krupa and His Orchestra, 1950

Big Jon Arthur

… and there are many more.

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First Snow 2018

I just moved to Duluth this past summer and have been busy getting to know the area and exploring all Duluth has to offer. I spent the past eight years on the beaches of North Carolina and have been anxiously awaiting the snow to fall! My son and I have been flying and racing drones as a hobby for a number of years, and I’ve transitioned into a professional videographer. Hope you enjoy the video we shot over the weekend!

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