Thursday, September 3, 2009

Duluth: Drawings and Old Buildings

N. didn't do as much drawing in Duluth as he does at home, perhaps because we spent so much time outside in parks, at the lake, and exploring the city. But here are a couple of my favorite drawings from the month:

This is the Chester Bowl Ski Jump, an amazing structure built in 1926 that we could see from the porch of the house where we stayed, as the first photograph showed. One morning N. sat on the porch and drew the ski jump. In the second drawing he tried to capture the foliage as well. (You can see some old pictures of the ski jumps at Chester Bowl here. Scary!!)

This is the Depot (1892), formerly a train station, now an excellent train museum and cultural center.

N.'s passion for old buildings continues, and since Duluth had a big development boom at the turn of the 20th century, there were many for us to see. Here are some his favorites:

Endion School. Duluth is crawling with gorgeous Gilded Age school buildings that have been converted to apartments. Can you imagine going to school in a building like this? N. and I think it would have been fabulous.

The old police station. Unfortunately infamous as the site from which a lynch mob dragged three African-American men in 1920 (I didn't tell N.  about this).

Old Central High School (1892), now the school district's Central Administration Building.

N. also loved the old Carnegie Library (now offices), Glensheen Mansion, Fitger's Brewery, Enger Tower, The Hotel Duluth/ Greysolon Plaza, and the turn-of-the-century storefronts on Superior Street, among others. Though it is now an economically challenged city of not quite 80,000 people, Duluth was once a boom town with grand visions of its future. I'm not romanticizing an era dependent on the exploitation of natural resources and native people for its rapid growth, but the architectural legacy of that time makes Duluth especially appealing for a little boy fascinated by old buildings.

One last Old Building highlight: on the last day of our drive back from Minnesota to North Carolina, we made the impromptu decision to stop and see the the Capitol building in Charleston, West Virginia. We've always admired its golden dome as we passed through on our way to or from the Midwest, and it felt good to be spontaneous and get off the highway to check out something that N. wanted to see. There's probably a metaphor for unschooling in there!


Sherry said...

His drawing of the Depot is really nice!

Fanny Harville said...

Thanks, Sherry!