“Generation After Generation”
Over one hundred years ago A.P. Green passed through Ellis Island, New York on his journey from Sweden. Upon arrival A. P.’s last name was changed to Carlson because he was the son of Carl Green. This was common due to the fact that there were translation barriers where people were given the names that were the easiest to deal with at that time.
A. P. was a handyman in Sweden but when he arrived in America he landed his first job in a harness factory. After being in Duluth only a few years he bought a general store on the Southeast corner of 46th Avenue West and Grand. Along with operating the store, A.P. also ran the West Duluth Post Office from that site. Later as his entrepreneurial skills grew, he expanded his store to a second location in New York Mills, Minnesota.
A. P. kept in contact with a friend from Sweden who landed in Winnipeg, Canada. His first job was at the first plumbing company in the Winnipeg area. A.P. was invited to travel to Canada for a visit and see what it was all about. He was full of energy and saw that there was a need in this new found industry so he soon sent his oldest son, Walter, to learn all that he could about plumbing. Walter was only 13 years old but he was a big strong boy and a fast learner. After a year or so in Canada he came back to Duluth to teach his younger brothers, Cliff, August, Art, Glen and Albert what he had learned. In 1905 they formed Carlson Bros. Plumbing and Heating of West Duluth. They started out small but during those early 1900′s construction was booming and their company grew fast.
The plumbing business was a successful venture so A.P. decided to again expand this time in farming. Before long they had three large milking farms. They were located on the Midway Road just north of the present Interstate 35W. They sold their products to Nopeming Hospital and the rest went to their store in West Duluth
When World War I broke out all of the boys went off to fight except for Cliff and Art. They were to stay back and take care of the family businesses. In 1918 the Cloquet fire wiped out the entire region including the dairy farms. When the boys came home they decided not to rebuild the farms but to concentrate on the plumbing and heating business. The foundations of the barns are still visible today on the east side of the Midway Road just north of the Grandview Golf Course.
Soon the Great Depression hit and the boys decided to break-up into smaller more manageable plumbing companies. They were Walter Carlson Plumbing and Heating, Carlson Duluth Company and a few years later Albert Carlson Plumbing and Heating. Cliff was the owner of Carlson Duluth Co., which soon became one of the largest firms in the local area. Cliff was not afraid to travel so Carlson Duluth Co. took on projects like federal hydro-electric dams, military ammunition dumps and hospitals.
The 1950′s and 60′s brought the next generation of Carlson’s, establishing themselves in the industry. In 1963, Elmer (Curly) Carlson the oldest son of August, left Carlson Duluth Co. to introduce the A.W. Kuettel Co. into the plumbing and heating part of the construction business. Several of his brothers and cousins moved over with him as Carlson Duluth Co. was down sizing due to the failing health of Cliff. In 1980 Curly retired and his three sons decided to carry on the tradition so they started Carlson Bros. Plumbing and Heating. Now, almost one hundred years after the first Carlson Company was started, Craig Carlson the youngest son of Elmer, and Craig’s son, Jeremy, have ventured into business using the old family name, Carlson Duluth Co.
Over the past 30 years, Craig has been active in the Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors Association as the Western Lake Superior President and the Minnesota State President along with being active at the national level. Jeremy graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2000 with a degree in Business Administration and is a licensed Master Plumber, enjoying working with the customers while satisfying their plumbing and heating needs.
Carlson Duluth Co. is located on 2901 Helm Street, which is at the bottom of 29th Avenue West and Interstate 35, only a mile and a half from where it all began. Carlson Duluth Co. offers full service plumbing, heating, and air conditioning installations for your home or business along with a “state of art” service and repair department.
Carlson Duluth Co.’s tag line is “Generation After Generation”. Craig and Jeremy take their heritage seriously and have committed themselves to the plumbing and heating industry, which they proudly display in their 90-year-old office building with artifacts from the days of old.