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Entrance Sign por tvdxer, en Flickr

Cloquet, Minnesota is a small city of about 12,000, located some 20 miles southwest of Duluth. Despite its size, Cloquet functions with a high level of autonomy and is the "to-go" city for Carlton County and rural parts of St. Louis County.

We commence the tour during an early April snowstorm, heading south on MN 33 and into the far northern part of town. US 33 acts as the primary vein through the city, uniting the sprawl on the north side (gas stations, locally-owned restaurants, gift shops, etc.) with the downtown with the sprawl on the south side of town near I-35 (Walmart, Walgreens, Applebee's, etc.).


Cloquet Snow 2 por tvdxer, en Flickr

Gordy's is locally famous for their burgers and shakes and was featured on an episode of the Food Network series Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Just to the north of downtown, a bridge crosses the St. Louis River. Note the Queen of Peace church, which crowns Cloquet's skyline.


Cloquet Snow 4 por tvdxer, en Flickr


View fro 33 por tvdxer, en Flickr

Below the bridge is a city park on the shores of the St. Louis River. The river flooded in June 2012, bringing destruction to the nearby town of Thomson and tearing down the bridges over the river in Jay Cooke State Park.


paperplantindistance por tvdxer, en Flickr


Guy fishing por tvdxer, en Flickr


Other Park por tvdxer, en Flickr


Man Biking in Park por tvdxer, en Flickr


dirty park 2 por tvdxer, en Flickr


Industry and Water por tvdxer, en Flickr

There's also the usual city-operated RV park:


Spafford Park por tvdxer, en Flickr

Right next to the western part of "downtown", Cloquet's entertainment and nightlife district.


West Downtown por tvdxer, en Flickr


West Downtown Hipster por tvdxer, en Flickr


NE Hotel por tvdxer, en Flickr

At the intersection of MN 33 and Cloquet Ave., there is the only standing gas station designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. He envisioned that stations like these would be get-together points where people would drive to in their cars from their bucolic, suburban one-acre plots.


FLW Gas Station por tvdxer, en Flickr


FLW Gas Station 2 por tvdxer, en Flickr

And that marks the beginning of true Downtown Cloquet, which is about a half-mile long stretch along Cloquet Ave. Here are some pictures:


Cloquet Ave por tvdxer, en Flickr


Cloquet Ave por tvdxer, en Flickr


Ed's Bakery por tvdxer, en Flickr

(I think they're closed)


Mexico Lindo Restaurant por tvdxer, en Flickr

(Despite some initial rumored problems with "La Migra", the 'Mexican Lindo' restaurant, as it is sometimes known around here, was an instant success. A co-worker drove some 40 miles there and back about three or four nights of the week. They have expanded, opening up a new location at the Fitger's Complex in Duluth, but nothing beats the "old" 'Lindo in Cloquet).


Cloquet Ave por tvdxer, en Flickr


Downtown Mural por tvdxer, en Flickr

(Forestry is a very important industry to the city today. The city is famed for the odor of its paper mill.)

The old residential district of Cloquet is composed mostly of mid-century or slightly earlier homes. A fire in 1918 wiped out the city, so keep in mind that they are probably younger. It also has churches, schools, and some places of business.


Viewpoint 1 por tvdxer, en Flickr


Unidentified Church por tvdxer, en Flickr


Street Scene 1 por tvdxer, en Flickr


Spring is Blooming por tvdxer, en Flickr


Kids por tvdxer, en Flickr


JM Elektronix por tvdxer, en Flickr

The icon of the Cloquet skyline is the Queen of Peace Church:


Church wide por tvdxer, en Flickr (forgive the awful dodge-and-burn job)


Church doors por tvdxer, en Flickr

I thought this little alleyway between the church and a fence was interesting.


Alleyway 1 por tvdxer, en Flickr

On the southwest side of town sprawl ensues from here to the Interstate 35 ramps.


Sprawl Panorama por tvdxer, en Flickr

The sprawl district abuts the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation. Try saying the name of this gas station seven times quick:



The community is very conscious of its native heritage with 10% of city residents being American Indian. Here's a "rez" bus passing through Cloquet:


FDL Transit Bus por tvdxer, en Flickr
hard2pron por tvdxer, en Flickr

I hope you enjoyed my photo tour!
 

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I visited Cloquet 13 years ago to see the Frank Lloyd Wright designed service station. The area reminded me of the Olympic Peninsula, but with smaller trees and more manageable hills. The Northwoods and Arrowhead region are spectacularly scenic.
 

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I visited Cloquet 13 years ago to see the Frank Lloyd Wright designed service station. The area reminded me of the Olympic Peninsula, but with smaller trees and more manageable hills. The Northwoods and Arrowhead region are spectacularly scenic.
Yeah, the Arrowhead of Minnesota does look a lot like Western Washington — but with spruce and red pine forests instead of hemlocks and firs.

Thanks for the photo tour, Tvdxer!
 
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