Glass Block

This Month's Lost Landmark

Our Lost Landmark for March is the Glass Block Store, billed as “The Shopping Center  of Duluth” around 1920. The store started in 1887 as Patton & Watson. The firm built a new home for the store at 128 West Superior Street in 1892. By 1902 the business had become Patton & White and had added three more floors to the building; it reopened as the Patton & White Glass Block Store. F. A. Patrick bought out Patton & White in 1911, and the store became known simply as Glass Block. Read more about it here, in the Zenith City History archives.

This Month's Lost Landmark

8 Responses to Glass Block

  1. During my young years our shopping trips to Duluth centered downtown – when it was a real downtown. I’ll always remember Agnes Goff, the basement restaurant hostess. She always looked immaculate, well dressed, professional and attentive. I know things change but I really miss the downtown Duluth of yesteryear with the hustle bustle, busy sidewalks and heavy traffic. It made for an exciting urban experience. Now, everybody’s in a mad rush to get to the cookie cutter malls.

  2. Great store. my father, Herman Litman was the manager of the shoe departments for many years up to around 1962.

  3. Ah yes, the Glass Block with it’s wonderful revolving door. The best pumpkin pie and the best hot turkey sandwiches ever.(Thanks Mom for taking me there.) My aunt Tina Burud was the person who added color, with the use of colored pencils, to the black and white portraits taken in the photography department. I worked my way through UMD selling ladies shoes at Glass Block, and when I graduated I stayed on with the company and was transferred to wonderful Colorado with the organization. Thanks Glass Block! Any other Glass Block alumni out there? Denny Claveau

  4. It had a wonderful lunch counter on the basement level, the enticing food odors of which wafted through the lower floors. The lunch room was always packed when I went there as a child with my mother, and customers lined up at the entrance waiting to be admitted. I also recall sitting in a darkened lounge on an upper floor. It was a room full of couches and stuffed chairs, and kept perpetually dark with only limited lamp lighting, which was exciting to me as a child when it was bright outside. We’ll never see its like in Duluth again. Macy’s in New York City and Harrod’s in London always made me think of the Glass Block.

  5. When I was a teenager we didn’t do much shopping (1940’s)but when we did the Glass Block was one of the favorites. Also my Mom used to take me to see Santa there sometimes. I haven’t lived in Duluth since 1951 but have many fond memories of Glass Block, Orecks, etc.
    Sorry it is no longer there.

  6. I remember taking the bus downtown to the Glass Block store – my Mom took me there for a lunch of tomato soup and ice cream! After that we went to all of the Shirley Temple movies – yes, that goes way back. I am just a couple of years older than Shirley Temple. We did most of our shopping at the Glass Block and I still have fond memories of that store.

  7. Finally! I know why that fine store was called the Glass Block. As a teen in the 50s and 60s, the best Saturday afternoon imaginable was to ride a bus downtown with my best friends. We loved the time we could wander through those fine old department stores. Our favorite stop was the Glass Block candy counter. Ahhh. I can still smell the chocolate and taste the Hot Air confection melting in my mouth.

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