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Free presentation on Oliver Traphagen, Duluth’s Quintessential Architect

A sketch of Pastoret Terrace, aka “Pastoret Flats” (better known today as The Kozy) made in 1889. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Zenith City press publisher Tony Dierckins will present on “Oliver Traphagen: Duluth’s Quintessential Architect” Thursday, October 10, at 6:30 p.m. in the Gold Room of the  Duluth Public Library’s main branch in downtown Duluth.

The event is FREE and the first lecture in the library’s new Maryanne Norton Lecture Series. Norton co-authored Lost Duluth—a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award—with Dierckins in 2012. Norton, an educator and historian, spent her retirement volunteering in the library’s Reference Department, helping patrons research history.

Dierckins credits her with inspiring his passion for Duluth history. “I would not be writing about Duluth history—my publishing house wouldn’t even be called Zenith City Press—if not for Maryanne’s profound encouragement and influence,” Dierckins said.

Norton was a big fan of Traphagen’s work and often gave presentations on the architect, who designed over thirty Romanesque buildings in Duluth, known for their use of brick and brownstone. A few example remain today, including Duluth’s 1889 City Hall, 1890 Police Headquarters & Jail, 1891 First Presbyterian Church, and the 1889 Pastoret Terrace, known today as the notorious Kozy Bar and apartments.

Traphagen also designed dozens of homes, the most famous—known today as the Redstone—was built at 1511 East Superior Street in 1892 to house his family. The family moved to Hawaii in 1896, and there Traphagen—as in Duluth—became Honolulu’s preeminent architect. They sold the house to Chester and Clara Congdon, who lived in it until Glensheen was completed in 1909.

You can learn more about Traphagen here—and of course you can learn even more at the event on October 10.

Oliver G. Traphagen. (Image: Zenith City Press)

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