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Morgan Park

Neighborhood Boundaries: Morgan Park is bordered by the St. Louis River and Spirit Lake to the east, natural areas and wooded ravines to the north and south, and Grand Avenue to the west. Access is by Arbor Street (88th Ave. W.) and Idaho Street.

Brief History: Morgan Park was built by the US Steel Corporation in 1913 as a self-contained, planned industrial community. In its early planning stages, it was known as “The Model City,” and it was designed to provide good housing in close proximity to the adjacent steel plant. The neighborhood was named Morgan Park in 1914 in honor of JP Morgan, one of US Steel’s principle backers, and in reference to the park-like setting and surrounding beauty.

By the early 1920’s, US Steel had built over 500 new homes, 2 churches, a school, hospital, clubhouse, retail and service buildings and a steel plant office. US Steel owned and managed everything, supplying all services: water, garbage collection, snow removal, coal delivery, street cleaning, and fire and police protection. Even though Morgan Park was within the city limits of Duluth, it was not annexed into the City until 1933, and it wasn’t until 1942 that private ownership was allowed in Morgan Park.

All but one of the original 1914 homes remain intact. During the mid-1950’s, a few hundred single-family homes were built north and west of the school. A new townhome and apartment complex was built in the mid-1970’s, contributing to the mix of multi-family units. As the steel plant operations declined, the plant was shut down in phases, closing its doors completely in 1981.  In the same year, the Morgan Park high school converted to a middle school, and the Community Clubhouse was demolished, replaced with the smaller, multi-purpose Good Fellowship Center in 1983.

The commercial corridor, (88th Avenue West), is enjoying revitalization with the recent purchase of the Lakeview Store and the renovation of apartments and commercial space. A new playground, disc golf, gazebo and volleyball courts have been constructed near the new Good Fellowship Center and plans are underway for a new pavilion and BBQ grills.

In 2009, "This Old House" featured Morgan Park as one of the “Best Old House Neighborhoods in the Midwest.” A current challenge and opportunity facing Morgan Park is that the school closed in June  2012. Planning for re-use of the facility is underway.

Morgan Park, a neighborhood full of history and pride, will meet this challenge. Many who grew up in Morgan Park never left or have moved back because they feel it is a great place to live and raise a family. New residents are attracted by Morgan Park’s affordable housing, light traffic, and abundance of open space.

Look what else is going on in Morgan Park!

Morgan Park has one of the most active Community Clubs in Duluth. The club meets the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 at the Goodfellowship Center (1242 88th Avenue West). Their motto is: “If every Community Member does One Thing…We will get over 1000 things done!”

The Riverfront Communities group meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Goodfellowship Center. Open to everyone who lives from Riverside to Fond du Lac.

A committee working on the re-use of the Morgan Park School meets every Thursday at 7:00 pm at the Goodfellowship Center. All interested people are invited!

Visit the Morgan Park Community Club website to find out about upcoming events and to learn more about the very interesting history of Morgan Park.

Related Content and Links...

Morgan Park Duluth: US Steel and Forging a Company Town

This book by Arnold R. Alanen (2008) traces the history of the development of Morgan Park from its earliest days as a planned community of US Steel to today.