Tuesday, May 12, 2015

For Dylan Fans Visiting Duluth: Here Are Some Recommended Sites To See

With Dylan Fest coming up this coming week, it might be good to highlight a few of the places worth seeing if you are from somewhere else. To assist with this list I contacted John Bushey, host of the KUMD radio show Highway 61 Revisited. He's the been the city's "go to" guy that the Visitor's Bureau calls on when a person of importance is in town or a film crew from overseas.

When I reached out to John he said he was already in the process of assembling such a list. In addition to the places of interest for Dylan fans, he wisely included a few of the other highlights that give Duluth its unique and special charm.

Dylan Sites to See in Duluth

Duluth Depot Train Museum
Located in front of the Duluth Depot, 506 W. Michigan St. in downtown Duluth, is the beginning of Bob Dylan Way, a cultural pathway through downtown Duluth. It also boasts the first of three manhole covers dedicated to the music of Duluth’s native son. The Manhole is located outside the main entry of the Depot at the corner of Michigan Street and Fifth Avenue West. Inside the Depot is the Lake Superior Train Museum. It even has the North Shore Scenic Railroad tourism train that runs through the summer season. The first train ride of the year the past three years has been the Blood on the Tracks Express, during the Duluth Dylan Fest.

Fitgers Brewery Complex
Inside this complex, full of shops and several restaurants, is Duluth’s only small public display of Bob Dylan memorabilia. It contains a few posters, photos of St. Mary’s Hospital, the Armory, and general information on Bob Dylan Way. Fitgers is also home to the second manhole cover. It rests in the sidewalk right outside the main entrance at 600 East Superior Street. Fitgers Brewhouse is a nice place to eat if you’re visiting Duluth, and often, during Duluth’s Dylan Fest, brews a special beer named after Bob himself. The brewhouse is about 40 feet from the Dylan Exhibit in the complex.

The Duluth National Guard Armory
1626 E. London Road. This is the end of the 1.5 mile cultural pathway known as Bob Dylan Way. It’s the site where a 17-year-old Robert Zimmerman saw Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Richie Valens perform on Jan. 31st, 1959. These three great artistes tragically perished a few days later in a plane crash in Clear lake, IA. It is also the site of the 3rd Bob Dylan themed manhole. The manhole cover rests on London Road about 12 feet from the Southwest corner of the building.

Bob Dylan’s Birth Home
Located at 519 N. 3rd Ave. East. This was the home Robert Zimmerman spent his first six years in. His parents, Abe and Beatty, lived here until they moved to 2425 E. 7th St. in Hibbing in 1947. The current owner has spent a great deal of time and effort remodeling the home to close to what it looked like when the Zimmermans’ lived there.

Nettleton School
108 E. 6th Street. No more than 1.5 blocks from Dylan’s birth-home is the old, and now closed, Nettleton School. This is the school Robert Zimmerman attended during his Kindergarten year.

St. Mary’s Hospital. 
Located a few blocks from Dylan’s birth home Robert Zimmerman was brought into this world May 24th, 1941, by Dr. Manley, at St. Mary’s Hospital. The address is 407 E. 3rd Street, in Duluth 55805. Mysteriously, both his Kindergarten report card and original birth certificate have vanished since his time in Duluth.

KUMD radio station; 103.3 FM
Located at 130 Humanities, 1201 Ordean Court on the UMD campus, 55812 in Duluth.
 It is also home of the college radio station that has been named the best public radio station in the state numerous times. KUMD hosts the show Highway 61 Revisited, a radio show that has been going strong almost 24 years, airing Saturdays and Mondays at 5:00 pm. It also streams live on the web. Feel free to stop in and chat if you’re there during business hours, 9:00-4:30pm Monday through Friday. The friendly staff is happy to have visitors. Don’t expect to see hundreds of Dylan recordings though, they are in the private collection of host John Bushey. If you have an interesting Dylan story, contact John who would love to record your story for air play on his show. His email is bushey61@cpinternet.com. Use “Highway 61” as the subject line.

Lou Kemp Mansion 
If you do drive up the North Shore while on London Road you’ll pass 3700 London Road. If you peek through the leaves of the trees, the towers of this mansion are visible as you drive by. This is the mansion formerly owned by Lou Kemp, a boyhood friend of Bob Dylan's from his Camp Hertzel days, and manager of the 1975-1976 Rolling Thunder Revue tour. It is also where Dylan occasionally stayed while in Duluth. Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard also stayed there during the making of the movie Far North, filmed in Duluth.

Congdon Mansion
No Dylan connection here, but a tourist attraction worth seeing and visiting in Duluth. Located at 3300 London Road, this mansion is another location used in a film. You’ll Like My Mother was filmed here in 1971-72, starring Patty Duke, Rosemary Murphy, and Richard Thomas. Glensheen, or the Congdon Mansion, was also the site of a very famous murder. These mansions were built during the heyday of the mining industry and timber industry in the northland.

Highway 61 
Follow London Road northward out of Duluth and you’re driving along the beautiful North Shore of Lake Superior. Lake Superior is one of several key backdrops for Duluth’s Tourism. If you stay right as you exit Duluth and travel on Old Highway 61, well, enough said…. Highway 61 runs from Canada all the way down through the USA.

A beautiful gem of Duluth’s tourism is the entire area surrounding the unique Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge in Canal Park, one of only two such bridges in the world. (The other is in Lisbon, Portugal.) Lots of nice restaurants, hotels, and shops are present in this area. It is also one of the main points to see the Lakewalk, a path you can walk for several miles that follows the shore of Lake Superior. The Duluth Ship Canal is a nice place to visit in Canal Park, and if you check the shipping schedule during Spring, Summer, and Fall, you can watch the Big Lakers pass beneath the bridge and canal. Duluth is the farthest inland a sea vessel can travel into America, going through the great lakes and arriving here to carry international cargo. At one time Duluth was the second busiest inland port in the world. The foghorn Dylan has written about was in Canal Park decades ago and is one of his most prominent memories of his early days in Duluth.

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If you're here from any real distance, you'll want to be sure to make the short trek to Hibbing where young Robert Zimmerman came of age and fell in love with making music.

And if your visit to Duluth happens to coincide with next week's Dylan Fest, here's a calendar of events. Join us at one or all...


Meantime, life goes on all around you. Celebrate it.

1 comment:

French Family Blog said...

Great description of must see sites in Duluth while you are in town for the 2016 Duluth Dylan Fest. Note that this is a reposting from last year so disregard the event calendar as it is a year old. To find out the event schedule for 2016's activities which begin today go to http://bobdylanway.com. Enjoy the week!