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Interstate 35 oral history interviews

Identifier: S6172

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of audio and/or video recordings of individuals who were involved with planning, opposition, or design and construction of Interstate 35 (I-35) through Duluth in the 1960s through the 1990s. Interviews included discussion of associated features of the project such as the lakewalk and the rose garden.The collection also includes brief biographical information and photographs of the narrators and transcripts of the interviews. All materials are in digital format.


Tom M. Black

John Fedo

Harold Frederick

Jerry Kimball

Helen Lind

Dick Loraas

Bill Majewski

Dan McClelland

Koni Sundquist

Kent Worley


  • 2014


Biographical / Historical

The I-35 Park Oral History Project was undertaken in 2014 to record the memories and stories of those involved with the planning, opposition, design and construction of Interstate 35 (I-35) through Duluth in the 1960s-1990s. 10 interviews were conducted in the summer of 2014 with government officials and citizens involved in that project. This created nearly 11 hours of audio files and 194 pages of interview transcripts. Video of most of the interviews was also recorded.

Interview questions focused on how and why each narrator had been involved with the I-35 building project, including designers, planners, concerned citizens and City of Duluth employees and one Mayor. Questions centered on the narrator’s memories of the planning process and community reactions and involvement. Narrators discussed the benefits and challenges for the City of Duluth during the 1970s and 80s, the opportunities that this project offered and the impact to the City today. Questions also covered ideas for future upkeep or lessons learned from the public involvement for future community projects.

The narrators often remembered that the politically “hot topic” of the Interstate 35 Freeway extension project was resolved in a quite satisfactory way after many meetings, plans and citizen involvement. Relationships and personalities were important and remembered fondly, especially those with Julia and Caroline Marshall and Don Olson, MnDOT (all now deceased). Many narrators remember their own roles with pride, or had words of praise for other officials, designers or citizens. It was apparent that the Duluth residents and visitors know today (the Lakewalk, Lake Place, Canal Park, etc) is a fairly recent addition that resulted from the hard work of many players and a confluence of factors such as federal highway funding being used for “multiple use” projects. One narrator called it a “golden era” for Duluth.

Interviews were conducted and transcribed by Gina Temple-Rhodes of Cedar Story Services, an oral and family history recording service in Duluth, MN.

The oral history project was managed by the City of Duluth. Project funding was provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society. Interview files are housed at the Northeast Minnesota Historical Center at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.


34.10 Gigabytes

Language of Materials


Physical Location

This collection is located at the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives. For more information about this collection or to make an appointment, contact us at or 218-726-8526.

Related Materials:

NEMHC Archival Collections S4477 Lakeshore Bypass Committee records

NEMHC Archival Collections S2291-10 Julia Marshall oral history interview concerning women in politics

Physical Description

Digital Files
Guide to the Interstate 35 oral history interviews
Finding Aid Authors: Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University of Minnesota Duluth Archives and Special Collections Collecting Area

Kathryn A. Martin Library
University of Minnesota Duluth
416 Library Drive
Duluth MN 55812-3001
(218) 726-8526