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Officials say fire at historic Duluth pavilion was arson

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Duluth officials are asking for the public's help to find the person or people behind a fire they say was intentionally set.

Crews responded to a fire at a portable toilet in Duluth's Lincoln Park just after midnight Saturday, but by the time they arrived it had spread to the roof of the adjacent stone pavilion, WDIO reports.

Officials extinguished the fire, but it caused about $75,000 of damage to the historic 1930s-era building, the Duluth News Tribune reports. Parts of the roof, soffit and fascia at the rear of the pavilion were charred and a door was also damaged, the newspaper notes.

By Saturday afternoon, arson signs were posted at the scene, offering a reward for tips on who started the fire, Northland News Center reports.

The pavilion, which is located near Miller Creek, was built by federal Works Progress Administration crews in the 1930s, replacing a wooden structure that had burned down. It was used for concerts, plays and political campaign speeches, among other events, according to the city's website.

After years of deterioration, a neighborhood group initiated repair and restoration of the pavilion. In 2002, the pavilion, also called the band stand, got a new roof, windows and doors, as part of the restoration projects – the project received a Duluth Preservation Alliance award in 2003, the Duluth News Tribune says.

Now the pavilion is available to rent for weddings, picnics and other events. It's not known how the fire will affect future events, but the Rock Hill Church still held its worship in the park series near the pavilion Sunday, according to the Lincoln Park Citizen Patrol Facebook page.

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