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Tourist Destinations: Duluth Minnesota's Enger Tower and Aerial Lift Bridge

Updated on March 26, 2015
Enger Tower sitting high on the rocky hillside in Duluth Mn.
Enger Tower sitting high on the rocky hillside in Duluth Mn.
A picture of the Aerial Lift Bridge through the trees up in the Park by Enger Tower
A picture of the Aerial Lift Bridge through the trees up in the Park by Enger Tower

Located at the tip of Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota, Duluth offers two breathtaking structures hundreds of tourists and natives visit each year-- Enger Tower and the Aerial Lift Bridge. Both structures are unique in their own right and offer great picture taking opportunities. The structures themselves are interesting, but the landscapes around the structures offer wonderful vistas and and views. These unique architectural marvels offer the perfect spot for free family fun.

Enger Tower

Sitting high on a rocky hillside in Enger Park, Enger Tower is a tower built in memory of Bert J. Enger, a prominent Norwegian businessman who donated land to the city of Duluth for public use. Some of the land was used for a golf course, and other land was used to create Enger Park where the tower is located.

Dedicated by a prince from Norway many years ago, Enger Tower is a stone tower with a light on top. Visitors climb a long stairway inside the tower (80+ steps to the top) to view the surrounding landscape and city below. From the top of the tower one can see all around because the tower is cylinder shaped, and the views are beautiful because the tower is many stories high. It takes a bit of energy to climb to the top because you need to climb some stairs just to get the base of the tower.

Across the parking lot from the tower is another set of stairs leading to another scenic overlook. The stairs meander through flower gardens up to park benches and a pavilion area. Here visitors see a beautiful view of Downtown Duluth, the Aerial Lift Bridge, and the the St. Louis River flowing into Lake Superior. The view from this scenic overlook is panoramic.

Also in Enger Park are many flower gardens including a Japanese Garden.

A stone structure in the Japanese Garden at Enger Tower.
A stone structure in the Japanese Garden at Enger Tower.
A covered structure in the Japanese Garden at Enger Tower.
A covered structure in the Japanese Garden at Enger Tower.

Within the garden visitors will find a bell given to the city of Duluth by their Japanese sister city. Often you can hear visitors taking a turn to chime the bell as they walk through the Japanese Garden.The Japanese Garden is a peaceful place where visitors can relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Aerial Lift Bridge

Located in Canal Park visitors find the Aerial Lift Bridge. The bridge connects the Park Point area of Duluth to the Downtown Waterfront District. Park Point is a Duluth neighborhood and recreation area. Park Point, about seven miles long, is the largest freashwater sandbar in the world. A small airport and a public beach are located at the end of Park Point. The Aerial Lift Bridge provides the Park Point area the only connection to Duluth, unless you took a boat across the canal.

A distant view of the Aerial Lift Bridge on a summer day.
A distant view of the Aerial Lift Bridge on a summer day.
A closeup look at a bit of the center span of the Aerial Lift Bridge.
A closeup look at a bit of the center span of the Aerial Lift Bridge.

The bridge is used by motorized vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. When a boat travels into or out of the inner harbor to load or unload cargo, a bridge operator raises the center span of the bridge to allow the ship to move in or out of the canal. Traffic over the bridge is stopped. Visitors gather on either side of the bridge along the canal to watch. Thousand foot ships, sailboats, and fishing charters all travel through the canal underneath the Aerial Lift Bridge providing visitors with great photo opportunities.

Undergoing a few design changes over the years, the Aerial Lift Bridge is fashioned after a bridge in France.The bridge was built in 1905 and upgraded in 1929-1930. Added to the National Registry of Historic Places, the Aerial Lift Bridge has a center that can be raised to a height of 135 feet in a minute to allow ships to pass through the canal. The bridge is raised about 5000 times a year. Visitors flock to the canal area to watch the center span raise and ships go underneath.

Visitors and Duluthians enjoy the locations where Enger Tower and the Aerial Lift Bridge are because the areas are free and family-friendly. With plenty of room to roam, visitors can leisurely stroll around the grounds, take pictures, hike, or get a workout climbing. Enger Tower Park is opened till 10 pm, and visitors are allowed to feed seagulls by the Aerial Lift Bridge in Canal Park. Both destinations are a "must-see" in Duluth.

Note: Duluth, Minnesota was named Best Outdoor Town in America by Outside Magazine in 2014.


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    • Julie A. Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie A. Johnson 

      4 years ago from Duluth, MN

      Enger Tower, off of Skyline Drive, offers probably the best view of the city--check it out!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I did not know of the Engar tower, although I grew up in Minneapolis and have visited Duluth many times. Thanks for writing this. Sharing on Facebook.


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