The lift bridge dawns the Duluth/Lake Superior waterscape so it's impossible to miss it but if you can see it rise to let a boat through, it is really a sight.
On this trip to Duluth, I drove across the lift bridge for the first time in my life. It takes you across the canal to another part of Duluth where there are homes and boat launchings, ect.
Canal Park has become thee place to go for an evening, with it's unique shops and restaurants. It reminds me of a scale down version of Pier 39 in San Francisco. By the end if the evening of my visit, the fog became very thick - dangerously thick to drive in.
A wonderful 2.5 mile Lakewalk traces the shore of Lake Superior, fronting the Duluth downtown area. Along the way one can take in the beauty of the lake and the fascinating lure of a working port with foreign with domestic vessels sailing nearby. Along the walk we saw historic architecture and modern sculptures as well as several charming shops and restaurants. The Lakewalk also passes the Northland Vietnam Veterans Memorial and on the far western end is a rose garden with 3,000 bushes, although we were there too early in the season to enjoy the bloom. Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, looks and acts much more like an ocean than the average lake. We were there on a windy day and in places the surf was crashing over the Lakewalk, as you can see in our picture.
For 40 years, The S.S. William A. Irvine carried ore and coal through The Great Lakes Ports. Now retired this 610 foot laker is a floating museum with a 60 minute guided tour from bow to sern.
Whether you take the tour, one can help but marvel at the mass of this ship. Personally I thought the tour was expensive. $11 for adults.
Canal Park is the area by the canal under the famous and gigantic bridge. There's of course a nice park, the best shopping area in town, and great food! Watch the bridge go up and down, it's fascinating! I've heard that it's the tallest and fastest bridge of it's kind! And takes 50 seconds to lift the road portion of the bridge 138 feet up into the air! It's a really cool looking bridge.
This is yet another cool park in Duluth, dedicated to Leif Erikson! It said, "to the true discoverer of America!" or something along that line, completely going against the conventional belief that Columbus discovered America. Anyways, it's a really nice park with gardens and nice pathways, as well as a long stretch of rocky Lake Superior Beach.
The William A. Irvin is a famous ship that is now resting on the ground in Duluth that can be toured. I didn't tour it myself, but I talked to people that did, and it sounded pretty interesting. Or you can just walk around it like I did.
Being lovers of Lighthouses, we were thrilled that these two could be seen from our hotel window (see our accomodations tip). Built just after the turn of the twentieth century, they mark the breakwaters that define the channel connecting the Duluth Inner Harbor with Lake Superior.
The Duluth North Breakwater Lighthouse, left, entered service during the spring of 1910. Its metal frame is enclosed by riveted steel plates. It stands 37-feet-tall at the end of the North Pier. The lantern room contains a fifth-order Fresnel lens.
The South Breakwater Outer Lighthouse, right, is the older of the two, being erected in 1901. It consists of a 35-foot tower rising from the corner of a squat brick fog-signal building. Its original fourth-order Fresnel lens remains in service.
No doubt Duluth's most famous landmark is the unique Aerial Lift Bridge, first raised to ship traffic on March 29, 1930. The bridge's center span crosses the channel of Duluth's shipping canal. It weighs 1,000 tons and is raised and lowered with concrete counterweights at 5,000 tons apiece. The span is raised to a height of 138 feet to accomodate large freighters. We watched as this smaller coast guard vessel (pictured)passed under. An average of 5,500 lifts are made each shipping season. The Aerial Lift Bridge has never been struck or severely damaged in its entire history.
One of the more interesting things we did during our visit to Duluth was tour this immense freighter, once the flagship of U.S. Steel's "Silver Stack Fleet." It is now permenantly docked in the shadows of the Aerial Lift Bridge and serves as a floating ore boat museum. At 610 feet it is longer than 2 football fields and held 14,000 tons of cargo - enough to fill 200 rail cars. It carried iron ore from ports in the Great Lakes. The tour took us from bow to stern, with stops in the pilot house, engine room, aft crew quarters, lounges, staterooms, guest gallery, dining room and the cavernous cargo holds.
The one hour guided tour of the William A. Irvin is offered seven days a week, May - October. It is said to be the most visited ship on the Great Lakes. Tickets are Adults $7.00, Seniors $6.00 and children $5.00. The ticket price includes a self-guided tour to the tugboat Lake Superior, docked beside the freighter.