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15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Hermantown – Our Town

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Each week the B105 staff will team up for ‘Our Town’ an online feature where the spotlight will be put on one Northland community. The first ‘Our Town’ is Hermantown, officially incorporated in 1975 Hermantown has a rich history that started more than 100 years earlier. Thanks to Bob Swanstrom and the Hermantown Historical Society for these and other facts that will be featured this week.

1. There are two stories on how the name ‘Herman” came to be. The head of the survey crew that worked in this area in the 1860’s was August Herman. Most of the early homesteaders were German and the national hero in Germany at the time was “Herman the German”.

2. This area was called “The Woodlands” by the early Sioux and later the Ojibway because of the endless forests in the area.

3. In 1867 the first two homesteaders, August Krohts and Pat Acker, walked from Duluth with two Saint Bernard dogs pulling a wagon boarded with provisions to build their farmhouse.

4. The town of Herman was settled by immigrants from Germany, Poland, Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

5. The “Fire of 1918” was the single most critical development in the history of the community, only seven buildings were approved: two churches, three schools, one town hall and one farm.

6. The 1930’s depression era W.P.A. project constructing  84 red brick “Jackson Project” houses impacted our history in a positive way. Only one Minnesota city, Austin, had a similar planned community built during this time.

7. Most of the fresh produce sold at the Duluth Farmer’s Markets in the 1930’s through the 1950’s were supplied by the farmers from Hermantown who would drive their vegetables down every Wednesday and Saturday and open shop from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m., August through September.

8. In 1957 the Air Force Base was built, it is now the Federal Minimum Security Prison.

9. The present day Menards was built on the site of the old Sunrise Motel. Across Highway 53 the North Shore Bank of Commerce was built on the site of the Triangle A & W Restaurant.

10. Bullyan Homes is on the old Skyline Drive-in Theatre lot.

11. Hermantown’s own Jerry Udjur was on the Detroit Tigers starting pitching rotation with Jack Morris for a few seasons in the 1970’s.

12. The 1976 Hawks Volleyball team coached by Bera Brune and Betty McCall was the school’s first Minnesota State champion.

13. Hermantown High School opened its doors in the fall of 1914 with nineteen seniors graduating in the first class.

14. The Beacon Inn received its’ name because of the tall light beacon in the yard that was used to guide airplanes into the Duluth airport at night.

15. Helmer Ruth was the first mayor of Hermantown.

Submitted by Bob Swanstrom

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