Miles Block

The Miles Block. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

19 West Superior Street | Architect: George Wirth | Built: 1884 | Lost: ca. 1910

Alexander Miles’ 1884 business block was another George Wirth design, three stories of brick and brownstone with stone carvings of faces, floral designs, columns, and the building’s name decorating the second and third floors. The first floor was used as retail space. The Miles Block was demolished about 1910 and Kelly Furniture was built on the site in 1912 in a design that duplicated the 1905 Stack Company Dry Goods building at 21 West Superior Street. In 1993 both of those buildings were joined visually with a new brick façade. Another Wirth Building, the 1883 Haug Brothers Block at 15 West Superior Street (between the Miles Block and the Wirth Block) was demolished in 1995; its lot is now empty. Miles himself was far more interesting than his building: At one time considered the wealthiest black man in the “Northwest,” Miles invented a safety device for elevators.