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November 24, 1887: The Duluth National Bank moves into its new building

On this day in Duluth in 1887, the Duluth National Bank moved into its new building at 229–231 West Superior Street, essentially where the western portion of the Holiday Center stands today. Designed by renowned Duluth architect Oliver Traphagen, the massive brick six-story building was another fine example of the Romanesque Revival style, but it featured more decorative details than the nearby Exchange Bank. Its first floor featured an arched entrance with carved columns of Fond du Lac sandstone and a splendid square corner tower with turrets. The bank was first established in 1882 by two giants of Duluth’s early financial history, Luther Mendenhall and Frederic W. Paine, and as Duluth began to boom in the mid 1880s, so did the bank. The 1887 bank was constructed directly across Superior Street from Hamilton M. Peyton’s American Exchange Bank building, which was also designed by Traphagen and built that same year. Peyton’s bank had been around even longer than Mendenhall’s, as it was organized in 1879 out of the failing Duluth Saving’s Bank. The two banks merged in 1929, just months before the crash of the stock market. In 1955 Peyton’s building was demolished. Today Duluth’s Wells Fargo building stands in its place.

The Duluth National Bank photographed in 1887. (Image: Duluth Public Library)