July 1, 1963: Duluth’s 1889 Spalding Hotel closes

On this day in Duluth in 1963, the 1889 Spalding Hotel at 424 West Superior Street closed after 74 years of operation; it was demolished a few months later. The brick, terra cotta, and brownstone building stood seven stories above Superior Street—eight above Michigan Street. When it opened, the Spalding was described as an “artistic blending of Gothic, Corinthian, and Egyptian styles.” The interior walls were paneled and trimmed with quarter-sawn oak. For decades the Spalding served as Duluth’s most grand hotel and also acted as a business center—most of the land that is now the western portion of Duluth was sold in the hotel’s lobby. By the time it was set to be demolished in September 1963 as part of Duluth’s Gateway Urban Renewal Project, it had become a residential hotel. Prior to demolition one of the Spalding’s grand wooden doorway arches was salvaged and  installed in O’Gara’s restaurant in St. Paul. The Ordean Building now stands on the Spalding site. Read a much more complete history of the Spalding here, a biography of namesake William W. Spalding here, and Mr. Spalding’s remarkable house, which has lived two lives and still stands in Duluth, here and here.

The Spalding Hotel photographed in the 1890s. (Image: Duluth Public Library)spalding

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