Bus tours tell story of Duluth's history

bus tour  

The Duluth Experience has teamed up with the University of Minnesota’s historic Glensheen Mansion, the William A. Irvin Museum and local historian Tony Dierckins to bring you the Duluth History Bus Tour.

The bus will take you around Duluth and tap into Duluth’s history and modern-day news. There are two options for admission.

Both tours begin and end at the Dewitt-Seitz Building in Canal Park. The Duluth History Bus Tour Plus ($45) includes Glensheen, the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, the William A. Irvin Museum and the History Bus Tour. It runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (daily with exception of Sundays). The Duluth History Bus Tour ($29) includes the History Bus Tour and runs from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Sundays only).

You will spend about an hour at the University of Minnesota’s Glensheen Mansion learning about the home and life of Chester Congdon, once the richest man in Minnesota.

“A tour to Glensheen Mansion is a snapshot of the impactful history that Chester Congdon left on Northeastern Minnesota and the legacy that Congdon left behind in Duluth,” said Jane Pederson, marketing director for Glensheen.

In Glensheen, you can explore a 39-room, 27,000-square-foot, 15-fireplace mansion and its intact collection from the turn of the century, while learning about the influential Congdon family. Elisabeth Congdon, the Congdons’ youngest daughter, lived in the house until she passed away in 1977.

Glensheen was willed to the University of Minnesota in 1969 by an agreement between the university and the Congdon family. UMD operates Glensheen, and it is a department in the School of Fine Arts.

The tour will also take you down Skyline Parkway to look at the history of the shipping industry from atop the hill. Proceeding to work its way down to the train museum, the tour eventually lands at the William A. Irvin.

“The tour ties together the history of Duluth very well,” Tony Dierckins said. The tour will stop at UMD’s Old Main Building along the way and conclude at the Dewitt-Seitz Building.

You will hear about Old Main, which was the first building on the Duluth campus. It is near Hawthorne Road and Woodland Avenue, off of Fifth Street.

A fire in the building nearly forced them to demolish it, but some of the structures are still being used. The Old Main building was built in 1901, and there have been wooden fences put up to keep students a safe distance away from debris ripping off the building.

Duluth Experience has a few guides who have been conducting the tours since they began the inaugural tour in mid-June of this year.

“The tour guide and bus driver are two different positions, so they can ensure safety and satisfaction,” said Dave Grandmaison of the Duluth Experience.  “We are targeting all ages and visitors — mostly people that don’t know Duluth.  Approximately 70 percent of our guests are between 40 and 60 years old. Coincidentally about 30 percent that do the tour are from out of town.”

You can order history tour tickets at www.theduluthexperience.com, or by calling the Duluth Experience at (218) 464-6337.

Now with paid actors, 'haunted' ship looks to raise the fear factor

With a little help, woman hopes to beat cancer a second time