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Duluth celebrates 75 years with Enger Tower

Duluth will mark Enger Tower’s 75 years as a beacon of the city with a celebration Sunday, June 15, 2014. (News Tribune file photo)

Sunday update:

Sunday's Enger Tower 75th anniversary celebration has been canceled after steady, heavy rain today made conditions unsuitable for the planned activities, city officials announced. An Enger Tower cake created by How Sweet It Is Bakery has been moved to the Green Mill restaurant in Canal Park.

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Duluth will mark Enger Tower’s 75 years as a beacon of the city with a celebration Sunday, June 15.

Norway’s Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha dedicated Enger Tower on June 15, 1939. It is named for Bert Enger, a native of Norway who immigrated to Duluth and made his money selling furniture.

The tower atop the Duluth hillside in Enger Park offers panoramic views of the Twin Ports and Lake Superior and was restored in 2011. Norway’s King Harald and Queen Sonja re-dedicated the tower on Oct. 17, 2011.

“It’s an important icon for the region, not just Duluth,” said Terry Groshong, a retired city architect who worked on the restoration. He called it a “labor of love” that continues to give back to the community.

A new $100,000 LED lighting system was paid for by Rotary Club 25 of Duluth, allowing different light to emit from the tower to support awareness for various causes.

“It turned into a nice focal point,” Groshong said.

The city in 2011 approved spending $372,226 in tourism tax money for repairs that included tuck-pointing, replacement of missing bluestone, electrical and lighting work, plaster and concrete patching, roof work, replacement of railings and a gate, and improved accessibility.

Groshong said the fixes have held up the past three years. He plans to be at the celebration today.

At the time of his death, Enger donated two-thirds of his estate, including the land for Enger Park and Golf Course off Skyline Parkway, to the city. He added a $50,000 contribution for Enger Tower to be built in his honor. This year also marks 150 years since Enger’s birth.

Today’s free events, scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will be held rain or shine, organizers said Saturday — though some events may be scaled back if there is rain, and the celebration will be canceled for safety reasons if there is lightning. Updates, if needed, will be posted today at duluthnewstribune.com.

Tour talks about Enger Tower, the Rotary Peace Pavilion, Julia Newell Marshall Gazebo and the Japanese Peace Garden will take place at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. Sunday, June 15.

Activities for children are scheduled to start at 11. Mayor Don Ness will speak at a 1 p.m. program honoring Enger and his legacy. Sprinkled among the guided tours will be a yoga session in the park at 3 p.m.

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