October 21, 1932: Death of Duluth architect Oliver Traphagen

On this day in 1932, former Duluth resident—and arguably its premier architect from 1886 to 1896—Oliver Green Traphagen died in Alameda, California, where he was living in retirement. Traphagen was born in Tarryton, New York, in 1854 and began his career in Minnesota in the 1870s, when he moved to St. Paul and found work as a carpenter for architect George Wirth, which brought him to Duluth. Beginning in 1886 Traphagen became Duluth’s premier architect. Alone and with partner Francis W. Fitzpatrick he designed many of Duluth’s remarkable Richardsonian Romanesque buildings featuring Lake Superior and Fond du Lac brownstone. In 1896 he moved to Hawaii where he was responsible for at least thirty-five buildings constructed in Honolulu and Hilo between 1898 and 1907. Many of Traphagen’s buildings remain in Duluth today. Read Traphagen’s entire biography, including a list of buildings he  designed in the Zenith City, here.

Oliver G. Traphagen. (Image: Zenith City Press)