Hello, Northlandians! Keep the questions coming! Today we’ve got two — count ’em, two — to get to, so let’s not waste any time (or words).
Matthew asks: "Where is the highest elevation in Duluth, and how high is it?"
Matthew, I’m going to be a bit cagey about the answer, and you’ll see why in a moment.
But first, be honest: What was your first guess, friends? It’s not Enger Tower (1,129 feet). It’s not even the top of Enger Tower (add 80 feet). It’s not Hawk Ridge (about 1,150 feet). It certainly isn’t my house in Morley Heights (1,182 feet).
It’s not even Bardon's Peak (1,243 feet), high above the city’s Morgan Park and Gary-New Duluth neighborhoods.
Did any of you guess the Duluth International Airport? It’s not the highest point, but at 1,428 feet, it’s in the neighborhood.
You or I could spend all day looking at topographic maps or searching online, but I figured it was easier to make a phone call. So, I put the question to Duluth’s public information officer, Kate Van Daele, and she got in touch with the city’s geographic information system people.
As it turns out, the highest point in Duluth is on a resident’s private property. I’m not here to make life difficult for anyone, so I’m not going to tell you exactly where it is.
To give you a general sense, though, it’s a bit east of Rice Lake Road and a bit south of the Duluth city limits, which at that point runs along Ridgeview Road. Here, amid a lot of trees and not much else, the city tops out at 1,479 feet above sea level.
I took a drive out there, and by chance I met the property owner after unknowingly ending up halfway down his driveway. (He was friendly. I apologized for creeping.)
He’s lived on the property for about 10 years, and he knew about the high point when he bought the land — though he said people don’t always believe him when he tells them he owns the highest spot in the city.
So, Matthew, now you know. And if you’re into trivia (of course, you are), you’ll want to know that Duluth’s lowest point is also Minnesota’s lowest point — Lake Superior, at 602 feet above sea level.
Chris asks: "I was told that a clerk in the Education Department mixed up the Hibbing and Duluth East schools' applications for team names, so Hibbing was assigned Bluejackets and Duluth East became the Greyhounds. Hibbing is the home of Greyhound Bus, and supposedly 'Bluejackets' is more 'nautical' and East wanted that because of Lake Superior. The story seemed to be plausible and I've always wondered if it's true."
From what I could find, Chris, this particular story appears to be a myth.
This 2014 article from the Hibbing Daily Tribune attempts to answer the question, but as you’ll note, there’s quite a bit of confusion on the topic.
Did a retired naval officer slash early Hibbing superintendent buy a bunch of surplus Navy pea coats, and the name soon followed? Was it a take on a Minneapolis football team called the Yellowjackets? Maybe students bought letter jackets after the Great Depression, and they just happened to be blue?
No one’s quite sure.
I did ask Erica Larson Zubich, curator of the Hibbing Historical Society, about the story. She confirmed that there was no new information to be had beyond what’s in the Daily Tribune article.
Are there any Hibbing readers out there who know something more? For the moment, we’ll have to keep wondering.
What do you wonder? Have an idea for a story — or, better yet, a video? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NorthlandiaDNT.