William Bray

(Image: Duluth Public Library)

William Bray (1868 –1959) began his career as a draftsman for Traphagen and Fitzpatrick in the early 1890s. By 1897 he was listed as an architect. Bray was responsible for a number of architecturally outstanding houses in the East End, alone as well as in partnership with Nystrom. Bray also designed commercial buildings in downtown Duluth including the Commercial Club (1909) at 402 West First Street; the Christie Building (demolished); and a building located at 23-25 E. Superior Street (1912, demolished) as well as many public schools on the Iron Range, including the Hibbing High School erected between 1919-1921. A brief obituary in 1959 documents his retirement and subsequent move to California:

Former Duluth Architect Dies. William T. Bray, 91, retired Duluth architect who designed many schools on the Iron Range, died last Thursday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He designed and supervised construction of schools throughout the Range while practicing here from 1897 to 1925. Largest of the schools he worked on is the Hibbing high school, erected between 1919-21. Mr. Bray was born in New York. He retired in 1925 and moved from Duluth to California in 1937.

James Scott evaluated Bray as being “as adept at fashioning Classical and Georgian mansions as the Minneapolis firm of Colburn and Kees who designed the neo-Renaissance Cotton House in 1906 (on the corner opposite the Bradley and Olcott residences).” Bray was adept at designing much more modest houses such as the McNulty Residence as well, demonstrating that he could work effectively at a smaller scale. Houses attributed solely to Bray include:

  • William & Fannie Olcott Residence at 2316 East First Street, 1904
  • Frank & Minnie House Residence at 2210 E Superior Street,1904
  • Edward & Lucretia Bradley Residence at 2229 East First Street, 1904
  • Ned & Nancy McNulty Residence at 2127 East Second Street, 1906

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Bray & Nystrom

Bray & Nystrom, which was in operation from c. 1903 until 1915. The prolific firm designed many other important residences in Duluth, including 17 other homes in the East End survey area, which are:

  • Thomas & Martha Davis House, 2104 East First Street, 1910
  • Henry & Lucy Myers House, 2502 East First Street, 1910
  • Charles & Ina Duncan House, 2215 East Second Street, 1907
  • Ward & Helen Ames House, 2216 East Second Street, 1908
  • Julia Duncan House, 2221 East Second Street, 1907
  • George & Jessica Spencer House, 2230 East Second Street, 1907
  • Alf & Franc Frick House, 2231 East Second Street, 1907
  • Merrick & Hope Gochey House, 2419 East Second Street, 1907
  • Nathan & Ann Clark House, 2423 East Second Street, 1910
  • John & Alice Elliott House, 2429 East Second Street, 1908
  • William & Katrina Richardson House, 2525 East Second Street, 1909
  • Edward & Emily Hemmenway House, 2115 East Third Street, 1910
  • George & Laura Barnum House, 2211 East Third Street, 1910
  • Henry & Mary Salyards House, 2311 East Third Street, 1908
  • Dwight & Jane Cutler House, 5 North 23rd Avenue East, 1907
  • Isaac & Katherine Moore House, 124 North 23rd Avenue East, 1906
  • Rudolph & Lulu Schlaman House, 302 North 24th Avenue East, 1906

Bray & Nystrom designed many other important residences as well, including:

  • M. G. Goshey Residence at 2521 East Sixth Street (1907)
  • George Cole Residence at 1901 East Third Street (1908)
  • Charles F. Jaky Residence at 2401 East Fifth Street (1908)
  • William J. O’Connor Residence at 2412 East Fifth Street (1908)
  • O. S. Andreson Residence at 2609 East Fifth Street (1908)
  • T. F. Coles Residence at 1617 East Second Street (1909)
  • J. S. Lutes Residence at 2601 East Sixth Street (1909)
  • H. S. Newell Residence at 2431 East Fifth Street (1909)
  • J. E. Lundmark I Residence at 2033 Woodland Avenue (1910)
  • E. G. Townsend Residence at 236 West Lewis Street (1911)
  • J. E. Lundmark II Residence at 2115 Woodland Avenue (1911)

Sources:

  • Larson, Jill. Intensive Survey of Historic Resources in Duluth’s East End (Part 1). City of Duluth, Duluth Heritage Preservation Commission, Duluth, Minn.: August 2007.
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