"Lost Duluth" Book Chronicles Architectural Memories

By KBJR News 1

April 29, 2012 Updated Apr 29, 2012 at 11:01 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)
"I love the Lyceum. I wish I could have been here when it was still standing. It was built in the 1890's and was down on 5th Avenue West and Superior Street; what later became the bowery." said author and publisher Tony Dierckens.

The Lyceum Theater and the Bowery came crashing down in 1966 to make way for the then new KDLH TV building.
That tale, and over a hundred other lost Duluth architectural stories, can be found in a new book called "Lost Duluth".
The book is the result of a five year research project by Maryanne Norton and Tony Dierckins.

"What's the beauty of about part of "Lost Duluth" is that you don't get all grand mansions of the rich but the immigrant neighborhoods of the poor." said Tony Dierckens.

Neighborhoods like Finn Town near today's Canal Park and Slab Town in the West End.
During research, author Tony Dierckins fell in love with Park Terrace; an 1890 apartment complex on Mesaba Avenue that was torn down in 1936.

"The ruins are still there. You can go today and see the ruins of the place." said Dierckens.

Other remnants of the past are also out there for those willing to look.
The stone lions at the Lake Superior Zoo are from the Lyceum Theater as are the theatrical masks at the Duluth Playhouse.
The rest of the theater was dumped in the harbor in the 60's to later be found by ruins collector Bob Swanson.

"As I was winching it out of the bay and into my truck, it flipped over and it was the marque from the Lyceum Theater and that added to the excitement of we have to find more of this stuff!" said Swanson at an open house on his property a few years ago.

Swanson has plenty of that sort of stuff on display in his Park Point backyard.
The "Lost Duluth" book will debut this Tuesday with a reception at the Norway Hall on Lake Avenue.
Tony Dierckins hopes the book will be received as an homage to buildings of the past rather than a tirade about the past being better than the present.

"Not all of them are going to serve us forever but most that we still have are perfectly sound and they can be adapted for reuse from their original intent and still serve the community without the waste of tearing it down and preserving a little piece of our heritage to remind us of the civic pride of those that came before us." said Dierckens.

In Duluth, Dave Anderson, the Northland's News Center.

Tony Dierckins tells us that WDSE Public Television is working on a TV show version of "Lost Duluth".
It should be ready to air this summer or fall.