The Armory has been a site of great inspiration throughout its history – truly the building that made Duluth famous. It was built in 1915 at roughly five times the average cost of other armories of that era. It served as a military training facility for the Minnesota National Guard and Naval Militia.
The building also played an important role as the cultural and entertainment hub of the Duluth region. Some of the most famous Americans appeared at the Armory – Harry Truman, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, Bob Hope, and Liberace, to name a few.
Perhaps the biggest event in the building’s history came in January 1959 as Buddy Holly and Friends brought their Winter Dance Party to the Armory. Holly died just two days later in the infamous plane crash that has come to be known as “the day the music died.” This was a formative event for Duluth native Robert Zimmerman, who the world knows as America’s greatest songwriter – Bob Dylan. Dylan spoke of the significance of seeing Holly at the Armory while accepting the 1998 Grammy Award.