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Dylan's childhood home attracts fans from around the world

Normally, a car driving slowly in front of one's house would trigger some anxiety, but for Duluthian Darlene Watson it's just another day at home. After all, the childhood home of Bob Dylan is bound to attract some attention.

Darlene Watson
Darlene Watson stands on the porch of the Duluth duplex that Bob Dylan lived in as a child. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger)
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Normally, a car driving slowly in front of one's house would trigger some anxiety, but for Duluthian Darlene Watson it's just another day at home. After all, the childhood home of Bob Dylan is bound to attract some attention.

"I get people visiting from literally all over the world. It's always interesting to me," said Watson.

Watson, who has been living in Bob Dylan's childhood home in Central Hillside for 15 years, says the idea of living in the musician's home wasn't really a factor in the choice she made to move in.

"I wanted to live in the Hillside; one of the owners had renovated it," said Watson to the Budgeteer. "It wasn't related to Bob Dylan at all."

Watson has nevertheless grown accustomed to the visitors she receives, saying that she usually gets a few people a week who stop to visit. Just last year, she started a guestbook for visitors to sign.

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"Within the last year, about 30 people have signed it. And those are just the people I catch or see visiting," said Watson.

Mike Havron, who lives in the house next door to the historic home, has noticed an increase in the number of fans coming, most likely due to Dylan's concert.

"There have been a lot of people. Most just stop and stare," said Havron.

The visitors, Watson says, are very diverse.

"Sometimes, they're musicians who have a more sophisticated appreciation of what Bob Dylan does. Just a few days ago, a former actor from England even came to visit," she said.

The yellow house that has attracted people from around the world is owned by a Bob Dylan fan named Bill Pagel. Pagel has been remodeling the house with friend and fellow fan John Bushey, who hosts KUMD's Highway 61 radio show.

"We've been putting a lot of work into remodeling and re-creating the house," said Bushey to the Budgeteer.

In an effort to further attempt to document his early life, the two fans are also looking for old photos of Nettleton Elementary School (where Dylan attended kindergarten) and the synagogue Dylan and his family would attend in the 1940s.

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The house continues to attract attention even after the concert. Watson invites any fans who come to visit to sign the Bob Dylan House guestbook.

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