City of Duluth Looking to Maintain History

DULUTH, Minn. — In 2006, a portion of downtown Duluth was nominated as a national landmark, and today, it is officially recognized as a Downtown Historic District 15 years later. Now, the City of Duluth is trying to step it up by guiding these property owners on how to maintain the history on these buildings.

The city is being given a $25,000 grant from the state of Minnesota, proposing new standards on how to maintain the architecture and exterior on some of the beautiful buildings in the downtown historic district, but now they are asking the public for input.

About 20 blocks of downtown Duluth is recognized as a national historic downtown district, but there’s not a lot of communication on how to preserve these historic designs. The city’s Planning and Economic Development Department wants to keep the history alive by setting a few guidelines when it comes to investing and construction.

“We understand property rights, and the idea to re invest in Downtown Duluth, we actually support a lot of re-investment, we also want to kind of temper that with our few historical structures,” Steven Robertson, Senior Planner for the City of Duluth, said.

This proposal will address three major things: it will guide property owners with how to maintain these structures, there will be a few rules on new construction so that it fits the character of the previously standing historic buildings, and will set firmer rules trying to prevent demolition of the structures.

Robertson says, “a lot of folks kind of view our heritage, our culture, and our historic buildings asĀ  a scarce resource, like our wetlands, and once they’re removed they’re gone”.

They are now looking for people to make input online from now till early November by sending an email to

There will be an official public hearing to the HPC and Plan Commission in early November with these ideas.

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