North First Street: Superior's time capsule

IMG_4263 "Oh, it's that building with tires on the roof."

My eye had always wandered over to it when driving to Superior, Wis. via the Blatnik Bridge, though for some reason I had never stopped by to take a peek from ground level.  One lazy late-summer afternoon, that building popped into my head and I decided to drive by.  A quick look at a map revealed that I sought North First Street, Superior.

The building in question quickly lost priority as I approached.  Not immediately apparent from aerial imagery was how remarkably–and unintentionally–preserved the area is, from a historical standpoint.  Two four-story brick warehouses quietly sleep in the shadows of the CHS (formerly Cenex Harvest States and Farmer's Union) grain terminal.  One, the Superior Warehouse Company building, is seeing current usage by the Lake Superior Fish Company.  The other, the Twohy Mercantile building, ca. ~1897, is 'that building with tires on the roof.'  It is also occupied.


This street forms a several-block museum of industry and transportation.  Very little has changed in several decades; a few small buildings have been added, but nothing significant has fallen victim to demolition.  A stroll through on a weekend, when the street is deserted, leaves one feeling as if they have stepped into a place forgotten by time.  The 125-year-old Globe Elevator forms the backdrop to the west, as well as the Edward L. Ryerson in its new home.



The centerpieces of this street are most definitely the two brick warehouses, each dating back over a century.  The detail in each reminds one of a different era, when timeless style was applied even an industrial warehouse.  Elaborate brickwork and hand-painted signs are the norm here.




Working relics of the past in this condition are seldom seen today, like they are in this particular quiet corner of the Twin Ports.  If one has ten minutes to spare in west-end Superior, it is well worth the journey a few blocks off of the beaten path to North First Street, Superior's time capsule.


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