Peter Olsen

Peter Olsen (1883 – 1977) was the son of Norwegian immigrants to Rice Lake, St. Louis County, Minnesota.  He began his architectural career as a draftsman for William Bray, and was working with him at the time the Bradley House was designed.  By 1910 Olsen was practicing on his own.  Two residences in the East End are known to be designed by Peter Olsen: the Cyril and Ednah Smith house, located at 2429 East Third Street (1909) and the George W. and Susan Martin Residence, located at 2125 East Third Street (1921).

But his architectural activities were far more extensive than that, as indicated by his 1977 obituary:

Peter Martin Olsen, 94, a Duluth architect who designed many of the older homes in the East End and taught design and architecture for many years at the former Salter vocational school, died Sunday in a Duluth hospital.  In recent years he lived in St. Ann’s Residence. A Duluth resident for 84 years, he was born in Menomonie, Wis. Mr. Olsen retired several times, always to become engaged in fresh pursuits. He retired in 1952 as a private architect. One of the homes he designed at 4131 E. Superior St., is listed in the Duluth Legacy of Architecture.  Following his retirement, he taught architecture at the Duluth Area Vocational-Technical Institute until 1962 and after that continued as a consultant for many persons.  He was a charter member of Northland Country Club, a member of the Duluth Congregational Church, the American Institute of Architects, Lakeside Masonic Lodge, of which he was the oldest member; the Valley of Duluth Scottish Rite, Duluth Teachers Retirement Association, and the Duluth Senior Citizens group.


  • 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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