“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Duluth in Saint Louis County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Jay Cooke

Jay Cooke Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 27, 2007
1. Jay Cooke Marker
(caption under photo) Looking up the North Shore from the corner of the lake. Elevator "A" and the deteriorating Outer Harbor breakwater to the right (1874).
Inscription.  Perhaps no individual in the history of Duluth had such a dramatic influence on the port's infant development than Jay Cooke, a Philadelphia financier. Cooke's reign at the Head-of-the-Lakes was brief, but all-encompassing for commercial development.

One of Cooke's earliest achievements was bringing the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad from St. Paul to Duluth. The L.S. & M. had been chartered by the state in 1857, but it wasn't until after Cooke visited the area in 1866 that construction on the "paper" railroad began. The L.S. & M. was completed from St. Paul into Duluth in August 1870 with its terminus on the Lake Superior shoreline about six blocks to the right.

Cooke also financed construction of grain elevators at both ends of the railroad, beginning in 1869. Duluth's Elevator "A", the first of its kind in the Twin Ports, stood immediately adjacent to the railroad's terminus.

Cooke's influence was felt elsewhere in the community as he financed the city's first church and personally backed its first bank. Finding himself overextended at an inopportune time, however, Cooke's financial empire began to crumble
Jay Cooke Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 27, 2007
2. Jay Cooke Marker
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when his own banks failed causing the Panic of 1873.

Perhaps Jay Cooke's greatest legacy to Duluth was his vision for the large natural harbor inside Minnesota Point. His financial backing, energy, and enthusiasm so revitalized the existing Minnesota Canal and Harbor Improvement Company that the Duluth Ship Canal was dug through the Minnesota Point in 1871 and dredging of harbor channels began soon afterward. It was construction of the Duluth Ship Canal with extensive subsequent federal improvements which so dramatically assured the eventual commercial success of Duluth-Superior Harbor as a world port.

This statue in Jay Cooke Plaza shows him in a relaxed manner holding his characteristic low crowned, broad brimmed gray hat and overlooking Lake Superior and the ship canal – a vision fulfilled – and a vision better understood in the late 1980's. Duluth citizens have forged the Downtown Waterfront Plan and Development Strategy and are dedicated to its success.

Downtown Waterfront
This informational marker is presented as a gift from St. Mary's Medical Center in celebration of its Centennial Year, 1888 – 1988
Erected 1988 by St. Mary's Medical Center.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion
Jay Cooke Statue image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 27, 2007
3. Jay Cooke Statue
“Jay Cooke, Pioneer · Patriot · Financier. 1821–1905.” 1921 bronze by Henry M. Shrady (1871–1922) is approx 7 feet tall on a 6¾ foot base. Sculpture was moved 50 feet in 1988 because of freeway construction.
Industry & CommerceRailroads & StreetcarsSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1857.
Location. 46° 47.707′ N, 92° 5.237′ W. Marker is in Duluth, Minnesota, in Saint Louis County. Marker is on North Shore Scenic Drive/East Superior Street south of North 9th Avenue East, on the right when traveling north. Marker is in Jay Cooke Plaza, atop the Interstate 35 Jay Cooke Plaza Tunnel. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Duluth MN 55802, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Leif Erikson (approx. 0.3 miles away); The History of the Duluth Rose Garden (approx. 0.4 miles away); Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial (approx. 0.6 miles away); Determined Mariner (approx. one mile away); Trotman Folding Stock Anchor (approx. one mile away); Modern Ship Anchor (approx. one mile away); Modern Ship Propeller (approx. one mile away); Capstan (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Duluth.
Also see . . .  Jay Cooke. "Jay Cooke (August 10, 1821-February 8, 1905), American financier, was born at Sandusky, Ohio,
Looking Towards Ship Canal image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 27, 2007
4. Looking Towards Ship Canal
the son of Eleutheros Cooke (1787-1864), a pioneer Ohio lawyer, and Whig member of Congress from that state in 1831-1833." (Submitted on March 19, 2008.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 23, 2019. It was originally submitted on March 19, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 2,596 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 19, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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May. 7, 2021