The making and re-making of places along the St. Louis River in Duluth: From paintings to projects

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Studies of the effectiveness of Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) call for the prioritization of placemaking and broadening of the definition of stakeholders. This paper argues that such stakeholder groups should include local historians, archivists, and art-or-architectural historians whose knowledge of local, place-based initiatives and familiarity with the built and visual landscape offer invaluable insights. In addition, instead of making new places as part of revitalization and remediation initiatives, such work should focus on the re-making of human-scaled spaces and places with unique histories to which residents are already attached. Several recent-and-ongoing projects in the St. Louis River AOC demonstrate the effectiveness of work that re-imagines places with clear and established identities and which does not turn away from problematic and complicated histories. An exploration of these initiatives in the St. Louis River AOC is combined with further consideration of placemaking and place attachment and an examination of industrial portraits created by Art Fleming for the Kom-on-Inn Bar in West Duluth in the 1950s, which are testament to the pride in place and the importance of the river and industries in the making and then breaking of the neighborhoods and the larger ecosystems of which they are a part.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1489-1497
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the University of Minnesota Imagine Fund Award (2018–2019) and to the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 International Association for Great Lakes Research


  • Community
  • Identity
  • Placemaking
  • Restoration
  • Revitalization


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