Diary of Duluth

April 5, 2019

Long-time readers of local history will recognize the name Gilbert Fawcett (1893-1973) from David Ouse’s post in Zenith City, and from his book “Forgotten Duluthians.” Mr. Fawcett was known as the KDAL historian and the “Old Timer,” based on hundreds of broadcasts about Duluth history.

Fawcett was a pioneer broadcaster on KDAL, and was one of the founding partners of the radio station. KDAL’s first broadcast was in 1936. In 1937, they became affiliated with CBS.


Gilbert Fawcett


The Duluth Public Library has a number of radio scripts from his “Diary of Duluth” broadcasts. They are lively and detailed. He knew how to tell a story!

Here is a sample of one of the radio scripts:

October 1, 1947
Script 3

ANNOUNCER: Presenting . . . DIARY OF DULUTH! . . . featuring the OLD TIMER, with News and Views of Our Town . . . Today and Yesterday . . . brought to you each week-day at this time by STEELE_LOUNSBERRY company . . . Stationers and Printers. . . Upon First Street. . . Just across from the City Hall in Duluth.

OLD TIMER: . . . Let’s take a peek into that old diary of mine, and see what it has to say. . . Listen to this entry for October 1, 1914 . . .


. . . “But listen to the rest of this entry . . .”
. . . “WEST END MERCHANTS RIVAL MARDI GRAS WITH PARADE AND CELEBRATION FOR GREAT FALL OPENING!” . . . I remember going out to the West End that night. . . I was just a young fellow then, but I had lots of fun. Every store in the West End was decorated, and West Superior Street blazed with lights. . . strings of red, white and blue incandescents were stretched across it. . . the Third Regiment Band played on the corners. . . and there was dancing in the streets. . . The Band played ragtime, of course . . . Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Oh, You Beautiful Doll. . . and things like that. . . and they danced the Turkey Trot and the Bunny Hug and the Grizzly Bear. . . then, of course, there was confetti. . . and ticklers . . . little bamboo sticks with colored feathers on them, to make the girls giggle and scream. . . and all the stores had special window displays. . . I remember one especially. . . the center of attraction was a huge and very elegant parlor coal stove. . . gleaming with nickel. . . and an isinglass front. . . Must have been awful, trying to make a room look attractive with an atrocity like that standing smack in the middle of it . . . But, I don’t know, when I was a kid I thought they looked might fine. . . and I want to tell you one of those elegant coal stoves was mighty popular in anybody’s parlor on sub-zero nights . . . even if you were hot on one side and cold on the other!”

The commercial for Steele_Lounsberry was fun, too:

ANNOUNCER: Speaking of making rooms look attractive and lived-in, are you the type that likes a “personal touch” added to the many little things used in your home daily? If so, you’ll be interested to know that the STEELE_LOUNSBERRY COMPANY is now equipped to “personalize” such articles as Book Matches, Coasters, Paper Napkins, Playing Cards, and many similar items, with an imprinted name or monogram. Such personalized articles add just the right touch, whenever you entertain. . . and as gifts, they’re simply ideal. Any of your friends would be delighted to be remembered in such a thoughtful fashion. Why not stop in today and see for yourself just how attractive these “individualized” articles can be . . . at STEELE_LOUNSBERRY COMPANY . . . Stationers and Printers . . . Up on First Street . . . Just across from the City Hall in Duluth.

Be with us tomorrow at this same time . . . when the OLD TIMER again opens his . . . DIARY OF DULUTH!





Image: Duluth Public Library Biography File



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s