A Brief History of the Nortondale Tract


A Brief History of the Nortondale Tract

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The University of Minnesota Duluth is primarily situated on a campus that covers more than 160 acres of land in Duluth which was ceded by the Ojibwe of Lake Superior and Minnesota in the Treaty of 1854. This land was part of the traditional and ancestral territory of the Ojibwe people and before them, the Dakota and Northern Cheyenne peoples. The ceded land was surveyed by the General Land Office in 1956-7 and then issued as scrip to veterans and as patents to the general public. UMD’s main campus was assembled in several chunks, the two largest acquisitions being the 1947 acquisition of nearly-160 acres of a plot called the Nortondale Tract, and the other being the donation of what would become part of the Bagley Nature Area on the northwestern corner of the campus. Both areas came largely from the acquisition of tax delinquent land by wealthy donors to UMD. The 160-acre Nortondale Tract was purchased by the Norton brothers of Kentucky in the 1870s for a planned real estate development. In the 1890s, the brothers passed away and their estates created the Northern Realty & Investment Co. which managed the Nortondale Tract for them. The land sat undeveloped by settlers, though some Native families lived and harvested on the land during the nineteenth century. In 1947, agents acting on behalf of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and funded by Regent Richard L. Griggs and other Duluthians acquired the tax delinquent land of the Nortondale Tract for the new University of Minnesota, Duluth Branch’s future main campus.


NOTE: The two maps linked to in the Maps section have also been attached to this record as TIFF files. Nortondale_00003.tif = "Scan of a document filed with the Duluth Register of Deeds in 1924 regarding the Second Division of the Nortondale Tract" and Nortondale_00005.tif = "1954 USGS map of Duluth with Sections 14 & 15 of 50N14W 4th Meridian highlighted." If the Google Drive links in the report have broken, use these files. NOTE: The original version of this report (uploaded May 11, 2023) contained an incorrect date in the first paragraph of the abstract; the corrected version was uploaded June 14, 2023.

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Stinnett, Seanna R. (2022). A Brief History of the Nortondale Tract. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/254099.

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