Superior is situated on the south side of a superb natural harbor at the west end of Lake Superior, across from Duluth, Minnesota. A trading post was established in the area around 1679 by a Frenchman, Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut. A North West Fur Company post, established around 1787, was replaced in 1816 by one of the American Fur Company.
As a result of a government survey in 1852, a syndicate bought up land and platted a town which they named Superior. Village government was established in 1887 and Superior received a city charter in 1889. Its population included large numbers of Finns and Scandinavians.
Superior developed economically primarily as a result of its excellent port. It has some of the largest facilities in the world for the shipping of ore and grains. It was from Superior that the ore vessel Edmund Fitzgerald sailed to meet its destruction in a terrible storm on the morning of November 10, 1975 with the loss of all 29 men on ship. The event was immortalized by folk singer Gordon Lightfoot.
Phrenology is a "science" that claims to be able to gauge a person's character by the conformation of his skull. Henry Lavery, a native of Superior, spent more than two decades developing the Psychograph, based on the principles of phrenology. Along with a partner, he started a company in 1931 to put the device into production and a number of the machines were sold and distributed nationwide. One of the original Psychographs is on display at the Fairlawn Museum^ in Superior.