The "Real Fog Horn of Duluth" - Gone but not forgotten!
The workings of Duluth's foghorn inside the South Breakwater Light Station (img: Zenith City Press)
Duluthians have either loved or hated the fog signal since it was first used in 1885. In 1915 the steam-powered twin whistles installed in 1901 were replaced by locomotive whistles, which in turn were replaced in 1923 by electrically powered twin Type F diaphone horns whose deep “Bee-Oh” tone could be heard for twenty miles. Almost immediately Duluthians complained. The horn was much too loud and rattled windows; in the hillside neighborhood, the horn disrupted conversation and woke the sleeping.
In 1968 the Coast Guard retired the horn, replacing it with a much quieter single-tone horn. While some Duluthians rejoiced, others dearly missed the old horn's deep toot and felt the City had lost part of its very identity. They called the new signal a “peanut whistle."