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FACT:
Willard Munger pioneered the first ban on DDT.

duluth fishing HISTORY walleye fishing on lake superior

This web site is dedicated to the late Willard M. Munger Sr. for his distinguished service in pioneering innovative environmental laws that will be here to protect Minnesota's natural environment for generations to come.

"Mr. Environment"

January 20th, 1911 - July 11th, 1999.
NEWS: JUDGE MARK MUNGER HAS WRITTEN A BOOK ABOUT WILLARD MUNGER... CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT! OR BUY IT NOW AT AMAZON.COM.

When he wasn't debating issues at the Capitol, Munger exchanged ideas with friends who gathered Saturday mornings at the Willard Motel coffee shop.

Willard Munger Inn
- Established 1954 -

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INN 

Opening a grocery store in 1937, while the depression still raged, was no easy task. However, Willard and Martha Munger were determined to make a better life for their family, and so were undaunted by the task. After buying a little shack in Duluth's Norton Park, the young family opened their store and worked diligently over the years to build up their business. Willard worked round the clock for many years, running the store at night while working full time by day. During the war he worked as foreman of a shipbuilding crew, and in the early 50's he worked for the Agriculture Department, as a Truman appointed public servant. Some Environmental protection awards given to the late Representative Willard Munger Sr.

All the hard work and long hours finally paid off for the family when they were able to save enough to build the first units of the "Duluth Zoo" Motel in 1954. Except for the calls from eager patrons who didn't want to sleep with the animals, the little brick inn was an instant success. Over the next dozen years two additions were built - first, rooms 201 through 209 were constructed and then, in 1965, the coffee shop's wing of the building was finished.

By this time the establishment had been renamed the "Willard Motel", the unique name attached to the motel's owner and his son Willard Jr. The motel flourished for many years with this name: the coffee shop did a thriving business, the motel housed travelers to Duluth, railroad and steel workers and many vacationers.

Over the years, many important additions made "The Willard" a popular place to visit. Spirit Mountain was constructed in the early 1970's, adding a healthy dose of winter business to the area. The cleanup of the St. Louis River - spearheaded by Willard's determination to see the environment in his area return to its original beautiful state - blossomed into one of the best walleye fisheries in the State. The Western Waterfront Trail, which winds along the newly
popular river, has made the scenic beauty of West Duluth available to all. This project, too, was completed thanks to Willard's staunch leadership in the House of Representatives. Finally, the Willard Munger State Trail, which begins immediately behind the motel, stands as a tribute to Willard's determination to share the beauty of the northland with all, and in a way that doesn't harm the wild and scenic nature of the area. Today, bald eagles nest on the St. Louis River Bay, bear tracks are commonly seen on the Munger Trail, walleyes and beavers swim the river, and deer and porcupine wander the majestic hills... The Zoo isn't the only place to find wildlife in West Duluth.

At the venerable age of 82, and after serving in the legislature for some 36 years, Willard finally decided to devote himself more fully to his legislative duties. Willard turned the operation of the motel over to his son Willard jr. ("Will") in October of 1993. Will decided to rename the motel "The Willard Munger Inn" in honor of his laudable forebearer. Will added fireplace and whirlpool suites and has generally updated the Inn. The motel is now promoted as a destination for bikers, hikers, skiers, snowboarders and birders. The old coffee shop is no more, but the rustic lounge area features continental breakfast and a small museum dedicated to the progressive politics espoused by Willard over the years.

Will and his dedicated staff would love to see you.

 

Special Thanks to all of our returning customers!


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I Miss You Grandpa!
 
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Phone 1-218-624-4814 
  7408 Grand Ave. Duluth, Minnesota. USA 55807     FAX 1-800-982-2453
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