January 2, 1914: The new Kitchi Gammi Club opens

The Kitchi Gammi Club, photographed by Duluth’s L. Perry Gallagher Sr. shortly after it opened in 1913. (Image: Duluth Public Library

On this day in Duluth in 1914, the new Kitchi Gammi Club at 831 East Superior Street opened with a gala new year’s ball. The building was designed by renowned architect Betram Goodhue in the Jacobean style. Bertram was hired by his friend Guilford Hartley, head of the Kitch’s building committee. The Kitchi Gammi Club was one of four buildings Goodhue was commissioned to design in Duluth that year, and the other three also had strong Hartley connections: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where the family worshiped, the Hartley Building at 740 East Superior Street, where the Hartley men conducted business, and Cavour Hartley’s home at 3800 Superior Street, across from Northland Country Club, which Cavour and Guilford helped establish. Hartley and the building committee spent just $270,000 for the four-story building that takes up over half of a city block, just over $6.5 million in today’s dollars. That included not only construction, but furnishings for the more than 80 rooms that are housed within the building’s walls. Hartley chose the Jacobean style after visiting his friend Chester Congdon’s Glensheen estate, a Jacobean Revival building with a primarily Arts & Crafts interior; Glensheen was also similar in style to other clubs Hartley had visited. Common exterior elements include brick and stone, large rectangular windows, bay windows, triangular gables, and steeply pitched roofs. These elements in the Kitchi Gammi Club are accented by the stone carvings of Duluth’s O. George Thrana. Read a more complete history of the Kitchi Gammi Club—and its 1912 clubhouse—here.

3 Responses to January 2, 1914: The new Kitchi Gammi Club opens

  1. My grandfather, Paul Grin, was employed at the Kitch as a chef. Is there any records that remain about employees?

  2. Ron, you are part right. The Kitch was indeed exclusive to men for most of its history, and until the mid 1980s women guests were only allowed to enter through a separate entrance: they were not allowed to walk through the front door. But you didn’t have to be a millionaire to join the Club, just have enough to pay the dues and have fellow member vouch for you. The Kitch got its start in 1883, so there were no millionaire members at all when it began. And that thing about Duluth have “more millionaires per capita…”? Well, between 1900 and 1910 about a dozen communities across the U.S. made the same claim. You can read a much more complete history of the Kitch here.

  3. As I understand it, the Kitch was built as a “Mens Club”, with a separate entrance for Women.Original membership required one to be a millionaire to be a member, and at the time Duluth had the largest per-ca pita of millionaires of any other city in the state. Are those facts true, or have I been mislead?

Leave a reply