The Royal Connection of Enger Tower in Duluth, MN

The Enger Tower’s Architecture and Features

Standing tall at 80 feet, Enger Tower is not just another stone structure; it’s a vantage point that offers a panoramic embrace of Duluth and beyond. Perched atop Enger Hill, this five-story observation tower provides a bird’s-eye view of the Twin Ports.

But it’s not just about the height; it’s about the experience that peak offers. Each tower level has windows accessible by stairs, allowing visitors to pause and take in the scenery at different elevations.

Adjacent to the tower is the Skyline Parkway Scenic Byway, a 28-mile route offering breathtaking views of Lake Superior. The building and the byway together make for a perfect day of sightseeing. Over the years, the building has undergone several changes. Initially, the second floor had several balcony sections, but due to disrepair, these were removed, and their entrances were blocked with metal bars.

A unique feature of Enger Tower is the green beacon mounted on its top. This beacon is a guiding light and can be seen for miles, adding a mystique to the tower. The tower often lights up to honor significant events, making it not just a static monument but a living part of Duluth’s community.

The Man Behind the Tower: Bert Enger

Bert Enger’s name is synonymous with the tower, but who was he? A Norwegian immigrant, Bert Enger first tried his luck in Pine City but found his calling in Duluth as a furniture seller. His story is one of resilience and vision. He didn’t just make a life for himself; he made Duluth a better place for everyone.

In a grand gesture of philanthropy, Bert Enger bequeathed a significant portion of his estate to the city of Duluth. This included the land known as Enger Hill, which houses both Enger Park and Enger Golf Course. His contributions didn’t stop at land donation; he had a vision for it. He wanted a lookout tower surrounded by beautified grounds and footpaths where people could find respite and inspiration.

Bert Enger passed away in 1931, but his legacy was far from over. The city honored him by naming the park after him, ensuring his contributions would never be forgotten. His vision was realized in the form of Enger Tower, a tribute to a man who gave so much to the community he called home.

A Tribute to Generosity: The Enger Tower’s Inception

The tower was officially inaugurated on June 15, 1939, and it wasn’t just any local affair. Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway graced the occasion, adding royal luster to this community landmark. The tower was not just a structure but a symbol of international friendship and shared heritage.

Fast forward to 2011, and the tower underwent significant renovations. The royal connection was revived when King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway came to re-dedicate the newly renovated tower. It was a momentous occasion that echoed the sentiments of the original dedication 72 years prior.

Enger Tower has always been more than just a tourist attraction. It’s a salute to Duluth and, as the News Tribune aptly put it, one man’s “most generous and meritorious act.” The tower lights up in honor of significant events, making it an ever-changing but always constant part of Duluth’s landscape.

Enger Tower
Duluth Enger Tower” by Caleb Carlson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Enger Park and Surroundings

Enger Park and the adjacent Enger Golf Course are integral to Bert Enger’s legacy. These recreational spaces allow residents and visitors to unwind and enjoy Duluth’s natural beauty. However, like any well-used public space, they require upkeep.

Recently, the city council discussed a $5.5 million renovation plan for Enger Park Golf Course. The primary focus is the replacement of a failing irrigation system. While the project has been put on hold, it has sparked conversations about the future of these beloved community spaces.

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The discussions around the renovation have been complex, involving multiple funding sources and community opinions. It’s a reminder that maintaining public spaces is a collective responsibility that requires active community participation and dialogue.

A Step-by-Step Experience

For those who haven’t yet made the climb, a trip to the top of Enger Tower involves 105 steps. It might sound like a lot, but each step is a stride towards an unparalleled view. And hey, it burns about 18 calories, so it’s good for the body and the soul!

Once at the top, the reward is a view that encompasses two states, two cities, and the endless expanse of Lake Superior. It’s a sweet spot to snap a pic, soak in the scenery, and perhaps even catch a sunset if the timing is right.

A nearby gazebo also offers lovely views for the less adventurous or those unable to climb. Enger Tower and its surroundings are accessible and inclusive, ensuring everyone can experience its beauty.

Future Developments and Community Involvement

Enger Tower and its surrounding areas are not just relics of the past; they are active, evolving spaces. With discussions about renovations and upgrades, the community has a chance to shape the future of this iconic landmark.

Public spaces like Enger Tower and Enger Park are not just city property but community assets from which everyone can contribute and benefit.

As Duluth looks towards the future, Enger Tower reminds us of the city’s rich past and the limitless possibilities. It’s not just a tower; it’s a symbol of community, generosity, and the enduring spirit of Duluth.

Enger Tower
Enger Tower at night” by schwerdf is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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