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December 2, 1880: Birth of Duluth architect Clyde Wetmore Kelly

On this day in 1880, future Duluthian Clyde Wetmore Kelly was born in Chicago. His family then moved to St. Paul, where he spent most of his childhood. He first studied architecture working as a draftsman for the treasury department’s supervising architect in Washington, DC, while taking night classes at George Washington University. He worked for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad before coming to Duluth in 1906. He began his Duluth career working for other architects including John J. Wangenstein, Frederick German, and A. Werner Lignell. He started his own practice in 1907, but was joined by Lignell in 1911 after the firm of German & Lignell disbanded. By 1917 Kelly was with Thomas J. Shefchik, practicing under the name Kelly & Shefchik. Kelly’s work focused on public or semipublic structures, designing many schools and other public buildings, including Morgan Park School in Duluth and Cloquet’s 1912 Carlton County Courthouse and 1920 Shaw Memorial Library, home of the Carlton County History Museum since 1987. Both Cloquet buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Kelly, also a licensed master ship pilot, belonged to Duluth’s Naval Militia. In 1918 was called to duty as America entered the war in Europe, and commanded the U.S.S. Massachusetts until 1919.

Clyde Wetmore Kelly. (Image: Duluth Public Library)