Skyline Parkway's 125th anniversary to be celebrated Sunday

On May 24, 1891, the Duluth News Tribune ran an article headlined, "A Grand Boulevard: Duluth's famous drive and the very picturesque scenes it now presents."...

A historical photo of Skyline Parkway under construction. (Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Kathryn A. Martin Library, University of Minnesota Duluth)

On May 24, 1891, the Duluth News Tribune ran an article headlined, "A Grand Boulevard: Duluth's famous drive and the very picturesque scenes it now presents."

Of the then-new roadway along the hillside, traversed by horse-drawn carriages and wagons, the paper wrote:

"Progressive men in Duluth realized at an early date in the history of the city the importance of this magnificent scenic effect ... the road has been driven through masses of solid rock; ravines have been crossed with rustic bridges; the sides of the road overlooking the precipitous hill heights have been rendered safe and attractive with roughly shaped but artistic terraces of stone and 'fenced in' with curiously hewed timbers; artificial lakes have been built; and a solid roadbed nearly finished. Yet the work of improvement is still progressing ... in making the Duluth boulevard the most famous, picturesque and enjoyable suburban drive in the world."

One-hundred twenty-five years later, that drive - one of the city's first tourist attractions, now known as Skyline Parkway - will be celebrated on Sunday.

The picnic and celebration will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. at Chester Bowl - there will be music, and cake and ice cream will be provided; attendees should bring their own picnic items.


According to the city, construction of what was first known as the boulevard - envisioned by William Rogers, the city's first park board president - started in 1889. By 1891, the News Tribune reported that the first stretch, linking Lincoln and Chester parks, was in use.

"At all times the view of the lake and the bay greets the vision, and a grand view it is," the newspaper reported on May 24, 1891. "Afar off is the city of Superior and the shores of Wisconsin; at one's feet Duluth and its suburbs, and between the two the lake and bay covered with craft and rolling their waves eastward and westward until the eye refuses to follow the glistening plains of water. Minnesota and Wisconsin point rest between the harbor and the lake ... (Resembling) the form of some tremendous and sinuous inhabitant of the lake's deeps arisen to the surface for a moment to breathe."

The boulevard was expanded over the years to extend the length of the city, thanks in large part to the efforts of Mayor Samuel Snively, and in 1929 was renamed Skyline Parkway.

Find more information about Sunday's event at

Skyline Parkway
Skyline Parkway overlooking West Duluth and St. Louis Bay., as seen in September 2005. (News Tribune file photo)

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