Having returned from a very happy vacation in Duluth with my wife, I am eager to somehow convey my impressions of this strange, appealing, decrepit, beautiful, and fascinating northern city as succinctly as possible.
But before I do let me describe this of Duluth's downtown: It is by no means small. It extends for 16 or 17 blocks by my count, and is four to six blocks wide, its width climbing a steep hill away from the mighty Lake Superior. The downtown is abundant in great, many storied, stone buildings, and though perhaps 25 percent of its storefronts are in various states of abandon, it still supports a strangely rich and interesting collection of businesses, shops, galleries, libraries, cafes, restaurants, and oddball stores.
And with that said, and without agenda, or theory, or the least ambition to insult or complain, here is my signal comment on Duluth:
Walking, often, as we did, in fair weather and daylight, through the breadth of this reasonably dense, long, and economically active cityscape, we almost never saw any person I was more than half sure wasn't homeless.