Here’s a fascinating tool to look into the past of your home, your street, your neighborhood: the 1940 U.S. census records at the National Archives website. You can search or browse by address.
Lincoln Park’s inhabitants included police officers, dockworkers, ministers, homemakers, bookkeepers, mechanics, schoolteachers, waiters and waitresses, salespeople, railroad conductors and engineers, bus drivers, and garment factory workers. Many had been born in Minnesota or Wisconsin. Others had been born in Sweden, Finland, Quebec, Ireland, Russia, Poland, Lithuania…or exotic Arkansas.
Many individuals were recorded as lodgers renting a room in someone’s house or apartment, or someone’s relatives who had come to live with them–none of this “turn the spare bedroom into a home office” business; better to use it for housing an elderly grandparent or a brother-in-law looking for a new job, or for helping pay the rent.
Some of the younger people recorded in the census may still be living in the neighborhood; others would be heading to Europe or the Pacific within a couple of years to fight in World War II, perhaps never to come home. These documents are precious to historians and genealogists because they’re snapshots of who was here on one April afternoon in Lincoln Park, going about their business.
The old Lincoln Park Elementary School building (2424 W. 5th St.) is being converted into affordable apartments, slated to open April 2015. Stop by in person to submit applications on Wednesday, February 18 (3-7 pm) and Thursday, February 19 (9 am-2 pm). Income limits apply. For more details on these limits as well as the amenities of the new apartments, download this PDF.
FYI: this evening at City Hall (411 W. 1st St.) there will be a public meeting on downtown Duluth’s bikeways. If you’re interested in multimodal transportation and its place in Duluth’s future, don’t miss it! The meeting starts at 5, and there will be a presentation at 5:30. More details here.