The beautiful and unique sites of Enger Park and Tower are surely worth visiting when in the city of Duluth, Minnesota. If you want a priceless view of Lake Superior with the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge and the lake’s busiest port city in the forefront, make your way here and be sure to climb to the top of the tower. Also, admission to the park is free and don’t forget your camera!
Some people think the tower was once an active lighthouse, while others have heard it was a tribute from a grieving husband to his deceased wife. It was neither. Instead, the park and tower were named after Norwegian immigrant and local furniture store owner, Bert Enger. At the time of his death in 1931, he donated nearly 600 acres of land to the city of Duluth for a scenic park. The only thing he “humbly” asked for in return was that a building be constructed in his honor.
The tower was finished in 1939 and there was a dedication ceremony on a grand scale with Royal Crown Prince Olaf and Crown Princess Martha of Norway in attendance! Obviously, Bert Enger couldn’t witness the event, but was there in spirit, and more. It was stipulated in his will that his ashes were to be placed in a vault on the side of Enger Tower!
It looms high on a hilltop, 450 feet above lake level, as if keeping watch over the city of Duluth. The giant rock structure is a somewhat menacing sight and at night, when Enger Tower is lit, it gives off an eerie, greenish hue.
With 105 steps to walk up to reach the top of the 80 foot tall tower, it is a good workout for all. Once atop this tower, the view of the whole city of Duluth is unparalleled. It is a 360 degree panoramic thrill. When viewing towards the lake, you will see Lake Superior and its South Shore and parts of both downtown Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin. The other directions offer views of much of Enger Golf Course (also built on the donated land), the park and the beautiful hillside.
As you enter the park from Skyline Parkway, you will be greeted by lush greenery everywhere. The flower gardens and shrubs have been carefully planted for you to enjoy. In northern Minnesota where the climate is as extreme as it gets, the many gardens and flowers are amazingly beautiful.
The most unique part of the park is the Japanese garden. Within this section, there is a Japanese-style pavilion that provides cover to the Peace Bell. This pavilion is shown to the right. This bell comes from one of Duluth’s sister cities: Ohara, Japan. It has a deep, resonating sound when struck with a gong that is placed there for that purpose. It is a favorite of tourists and can be heard for quite some distance.
There are other attractions here as well. Several walking trails extend through the many wooded sections of Enger Park. There are also picnic tables, a stone shelter with facilities and a fire pit that were built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930’s. One of the most photographed spots in the park is on the southern hillside. It is a quaint little gazebo overlooking the city, and worth the short and easy walk up the rock ledge. The view you’ll have to see for yourself, but here’s a picture of the gazebo:
*FYI, both the Park and Tower are closed during the winter months.
If you make Enger Park and Tower one of your stops in the city of Duluth, you will be glad you didn’t pass up this serene and scenic place.