Guilford Hartley

Guilford G. Hartley. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Guilford Hartley (1853–1922) grew up in New Brunswick, Canada. He moved to Brainerd, Minnesota, when he was still a teenager and found work in the timber industry before establishing his own logging business. In 1885 he and his wife Caroline moved to Duluth, where Hartley expanded his investments and ensconced himself within Duluth society. He continued to invest in logging and branched out into real estate, wholesale foods and dry goods, shoe manufacturing—nearly every industry in Duluth. He also tried his luck with mining, helping to develop the western Masabi Range along the way as he platted the range towns of Bovey, Cass Lake, Sparta, Grand Rapids, and Nashwauk. He was a major investor in the Duluth Street Railway Company, owned the Duluth News Tribune, and it is said his efforts to promote the produce grown at his Allendale Farm (today’s Hartley Nature Center) helped popularize celery throughout the U. S. His Island Farm, about 80 miles northwest of Duluth, raised prize-winning Guernsey cows, and he had another cattle ranch in North Dakota. Socially, Hartley helped establish the Northland Country Club and built Duluth’s Orpheum Theatre. His office building still stands at 740 East Superior Street. When he died at age 63 his estate was worth $3 million, about $40 million today. After Minnesota’s most famous tycoon, James J. Hill, died in 1916, Minnesota Governor Jacob Preus said, “G. G. Hartley [now] stands as the man of the broadest vision, most indomitable energy and greatest accomplishment of the citizens of Minnesota.”

 

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