McKay Hotel

The McKay Hotel. (Image: Zenith City Press)

430 West 1st Street | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1901 | Lost: ca. 1965

The hotel W. A. McKay built on First Street was a rather simple affair: a three-story brick building — four stories along the avenue — with brownstone entryways on the street and avenue and brownstone trim on the second-floor windows. The McKay’s lodge-like lobby, filled with pillars and wooden rocking chairs, was dominated by a grand brick fireplace and decorated for sportsmen, with mounted trophies of north woods game adorning the walls. A few years after the McKay opened, historian Dwight Woodbridge called it “a most comfortable and attractive lounging place at any season of the year.”

The hotel offered a Turkish bath, something the NFL’s Duluth Eskimo’s took advantage of in preparation for their notorious 1926 season. The Eskimos practiced at a gas-lit field across the street from the hotel (where City Hall stands today), and the McKay served as the team’s clubhouse, training quarters, and dressing room. The McKay became apartments in 1957, but was vacant by 1964 and demolished as part of the Gateway Urban Renewal Project. The Duluth News-Tribune Building now occupies the lot.