This recently identified photograph by local businessman, Z. N. Barnes (1859-1943), shows a view of a picturesque bridge over the Lester River in Lester Park on the eastern edge of Duluth, Minnesota. The photo belongs to a set of unidentified scenes from a photo album compiled by Barnes. Well-traveled, Barnes put together other photograph albums showing his adventures across the country, including scenes of a steamboat voyage and of a trip to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. The Lester River bridge was built in 1898 by Civil War veteran, John Busha, with the help of his sons, Abraham and George. The elaborate rustic-style structure was constructed of unpeeled cedar logs and included carvings of Ojibwe designs. The upper deck of the bridge was removed in 1916 due to safety concerns. The lower deck was removed in 1931.
Z. N. Barnes moved to Little Falls in 1895 to work for the Pine Tree Lumber Company (PTLCo.). In 1907, he and two other PTLCo. employees began the Morrison County Lumber Company, a retail lumber and wood business. After resigning in 1920, Barnes opened his own fuel supply business in Little Falls selling wood and coal. One of the first automobile owners in the county, this photograph may have been taken by Barnes during an automobile tour in northern Minnesota with his family. For more information on Z. N. Barnes see Morrison County Influentials.