I decided to take a walk around Duluth today. It was actually a nice enough day to do so.
Prior to it's discovery by European settlers, the Duluth area was inhabited by the Ojibwe Native American Tribe and it was known as Onigamiinsing which means Little Portage. It was a good portage point between Lake Superior and St. Louis Bay (which is what forms the harbor). The first Europeans to explore the area were the fur traders Pierre Raddison and Medard des Groeilliers in 1654 and later in 1660. Shortly after that, French fur trader posts were set up. The St. Louis River was explored by Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut (which is Anglicized to Duluth).
After 1792, the North West Company established several trading posts in the area. They established a fort here, named Fort St. Louis. A permanent settlement was established in the mid 1850's when it was rumored there was copper in the area. Eleven towns were formed along the St. Louis River (these would later merge to become Duluth). With the opening of the Soo Locks in 1855 and the establishment of railroads, Duluth became a port with access to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The town was officially incorporated in 1857. It currently has a population of 86,000.
As I said in the beginning, Duluth looks like a city that has seen better days. It is sad that so many cities of the Midwest are like that.