Seventh Avenue Incline Railway (“Duluth Skyride”)


Courtesy the Minnesota Historical Society

Seventh Avenue Incline Railway (“Duluth Skyride”)
Highland Improvement Company
  • Product Design
  • Urbanism

In December 1891 the Seventh Avenue Incline Railway opened in Duluth, taking passengers and even horses up and down the street’s steep slope of 15% to 25% grades. Ascending more than 500 feet above the port city, the railway operated two 41-foot-by-15-foot cars that were counterweighted by each other. With its views of the city and Lake Superior, the railway trip was marketed as an attraction, the Duluth Skyride, with a pavilion destination atop featuring a theater and restaurant. In 1901 a fire in the power station controlling the cars melted a cable, which sent a flaming car down the hill crashing into the terminal station below but injuring no one. Although a reconfigured system opened in 1902 the railway met its ultimate fate in 1939 when the railway was scrapped for the war effort, abandoned to make way for the city’s expanded bus service.