Skip to main content

Duluth businessman hopes to turn old jail into filmmaking destination

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Could Duluth be the location for a "Shawshank Redemption"-type of film?

If a Duluth businessman Grant Carlson has his way, the former St. Louis County Jail will soon be a destination for filmmakers and musicians, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

According to the paper, Carlson -- who bought the facility in 2010 for $54,000 -- is looking for creative types to consider the jail as a location for future projects.

The five-story facility was built in 1924 and at one time housed up to 200 inmates. Before Carlson bought it, the jail was scheduled to be torn down -- until area historians brought those plans to a halt and the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota named it one of Minnesota’s most endangered historic places.

As part of the Duluth Superior Film Festival, which runs May 29- June 2, Carlson is hosting a reception for filmmakers from all over the country on June 1.

Carlson told the News Tribune that he can envision lots of uses for the unique space, and that the "biggest assets are the jail cells."

The paper said the businessman originally purchased the jail and planned on converting it from office space into living space -- but the slow economic recovery forced him to change directions. Carlson now wants to partner with a developer to finish his renovation of the space after he spent $500,000 to fix the roof and exterior faces.

The Upper Midwest Film Office is on board with idea of turning the old jail into a film location.

The office's director, Riki McManus, told the News Tribune that "Duluth is a very film-friendly community and this certainly adds to the strong arts scene" in the city.

Next Up

GiantsRidge_OldSawMedia_111920_AB-1240947

Giant Trails to make giant memories for the whole family

Giants Ridge is located 3-hours away from the Twin Cities, 1-hour away from Duluth

The search involved several local public safety agencies, including a State Patrol helicopter unit and a K9 team.

Teen dies in crash near Paul Bunyan Land

The 18-year-old from Brainerd crashed her SUV into a tree Saturday afternoon.

RobGronkowskiHopkinsHSAppearance

Why was Rob Gronkowski at Hopkins High School on Monday?

Gronk and his brothers competed against some of the members of the school's girls basketball team.

ambulance

Motorcyclist killed in collision with pickup truck and trailer

The 31-year-old crashed his motorcycle into a pickup truck's trailer near St. Stephen, Minnesota on Friday.

Duluth standoff

Duluth PD standoff ends with officers learning suspect wasn't home

The suspect is currently booked at the St. Louis County Jail pending charges.

tornado

Tornado warnings issued as severe storms hit Minnesota

A tornado watch is in effect for an area that includes the Twin Cities until 10 p.m.

Cane's

Raising Cane's hiring 250 ahead of opening its 2 newest MN locations

The newest locations in Lakeville & Roseville bring the total number of Raising Cane's restaurants in MN to 17.

storm, severe weather

Next round of storms could bring tornadoes, very large hail

It could be a rocky afternoon and evening in eastern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Jennifer Lynn Matter. Goodhue County Jail.

Mother arrested for death of baby found in Lake Pepin in 2003

The mother has also been identified as the mother of the baby found in the Mississippi River in 1999.

South St. Paul Police

17-year-old boy killed in South St. Paul shooting

The teen was found laying in the road at about 10:45 p.m. Sunday.

Bison

Bison could soon be roaming land near Shakopee again

Viewing areas are being planned in Scott County along county highways 16 and 87.

Related