Kathy Cargill’s Ashland Roots, And Bob Dylan’s Connections To Superior

Kathy Cargill (then Kathy Pospychalla) in her 1976 Ashland High School graduation picture, left, and as a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden in Spooner in 2009, courtesy Wisconsin DNR.

In hundreds of social media posts in the Twin Ports in recent weeks, Kathy Cargill has been cast as an evil outsider to Duluth’s picturesque Park Point neighborhood. A member of the billionaire Cargill family, she quietly purchased 20 homes on the sandbar jutting into Lake Superior, tearing down many and saying little about her plans except to call the houses “crap” and derogatorily castigate Duluth’s mayor for asking about her intentions.

Yet the depiction of Cargill as an overprivileged billionaire with little connection to the area is inaccurate. Rather, her roots are in working-class Ashland, Wisconsin, where she grew up as the daughter of the local tow truck company operator. She also maintains ties to her hometown — a lakeside town similar to Duluth’s Park Point — where locals praise her for quietly giving back to the community and helping those in need.

“Simply Superior” host Robin Washington visits Ashland and traces Kathy Cargill’s background, meeting those who have long known her as well as a long-time Park Point resident who sold his house to Cargill and others who say despite her crass language, the stereotypes about her are unwarranted —- and dangerous.

Also: When Bob Dylan signed with New York record producer John Hammond in 1961, neither man may have known they were reconnecting their families’ roots in Superior. University of Wisconsin alum and synagogue cantor Dan Singer join music faculty from the school band to present “Crossroad of the North,” a narrated concert on April 9 featuring the music of Dylan and other Hammond artists interlaced with the history of Superior. Singer and UWS Professor Erin Aldridge join Washington to talk about the show and the Superior connections.

Featured in this Episode

Episode Credits

  • Robin Washington Host
  • Erin Aldridge Guest

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