November 10, 1909: fire damages businesses in West Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1909, fire ravaged several building along the 300 block of Central Avenue in West Duluth. One of the buildings damaged in the conflagration was the Traphagen Block, designed by noted Duluth architect Oliver Traphagen and home today to Gannucci’s Italian Market. The building, home to Dr. David Graham’s hospital, was completely gutted; its loss was estimated at $17,000, about $400,000 today. Graham had the hospital rebuilt quickly and it reopened January 31, 1910, with a new name: Duluth Hospital. It took Duluth firefighters from stations 2 and 8 several hours to contain the fire. One firefighter, pipeman Thomas H. Miller, was seriously injured when he fell 30 feet while climbing off the roof of the Getty-Smith Building. The fire, discovered at 5:45 in the evening, also destroyed the Reliance Pharmacy, the Getty-Smith building (including Warner’s restaurant), and businesses including a millinery, a pool room, a tailor’s shop, and a clothier. Citizens helped firefighters move patients out of the hospital and into a physicians office in the nearby Kriedler Building. The fire was thought to have started in two separate locations. Defective furnace pipes were blamed for the blaze that started in the Getty-Smith building, and the cause of the hospital fire was not determined. Didn’t know there was a hospital in West Duluth? Actually, there were several of them, and you can read about them here.

West Duluth’s Traphagen Block, photographed ca. 1908. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

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