F. A. Patrick

F. A. Patrick. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Frederick A. Patrick came from a family whose prominence had been established for generations in the “western” town of Marengo, Illinois.  His father was a leader in many lines of business; banking, manufacturing, general merchandising, and also owned extensive acreage.  It was reported that Patrick, brought up in this atmosphere, had built a reputation of his own as a business man of exceptional attainments for one in his early thirties by the time he arrived in Duluth in 1891.  He was treasurer of the Stone-Ordean-Wells company for ten years, and in 1901, in partnership with J. E. Granger, formed the Patrick-Granger Drygoods company.  Another venture soon followed when Patrick established the F. A. Patrick company, which became one of the leading manufacturing establishments in Duluth and Northern Minnesota and one of the top in Minnesota as a whole.  Under Patrick’s guidance the company flourished and expanded, with a mill at Mankato that manufactured materials for the Duluth plant.  For a considerable time, the company owned and operated the Glass Block department store, and only shortly before his death did Patrick retire as chairman of the board of that institution.  Patrick was also the avowed father and first president of the Duluth Commercial Club, which in 1902 revived and renamed the dormant Chamber of Commerce, transforming it into an active, aggressive body of business men.  (The Duluth Commercial Club later reclaimed its first name, becoming once again the Chamber of Commerce.)  In addition to his business acumen he was recognized for his altruism in his dealings with his numerous employees, namely establishing various recreational facilities for them, including a summer place at Lake Nebagamon, where they could pass their vacations and weekends with their families at minimum expense and maximum benefit.

Patrick appears to have raised a family of three daughters with his first wife Louise.  It was with his much younger second wife, Katherine (20 years old in 1901) that he hired I. Vernon Hill to design their 1901 home at 2306 East Superior Street where they lived with her mother and two servants until his unexpected death in 1931 at age 74.

Frederick A. Patrick, a prominent businessman in Duluth during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, founding the F. A. Patrick Co., which became one of the nation’s foremost woolen manufacturers.  His 1931 obituary documents his contributions to the community:

F.A. Patrick Dies Suddenly, Heart Attack.  Civic, Business Leader for Years Succumbs Unexpectedly.  Father of Chamber.  Founded One of City’s Largest Manufacturing Establishments.  Following an illness of two weeks, as a result of an automobile accident in which he was involved, Fred A. Patrick, civic and business leader in Duluth for many years, died unexpectedly of a heart attack at his residence, 2306 East Superior street.  He was 74 years of age.  It is not believed that the accident was the cause of death.   Mr. Patrick had been a resident of Duluth since 1891.  He came here as treasurer of the Stone-Ordean-Wells Grocery company at that time, from his birthplace, Marengo, Ill., where his family had been prominent for generations.  His father was a leader in many lines of business; banking, manufacturing, general merchandising, and also was owner of extensive acreage.   The younger Patrick had been brought up in this atmosphere, had developed a reputation of his own in business, and came to Duluth recognized as a business man of exceptional attainments for one in his early thirties.   Creates Own Business.  He remained as treasurer of the Stone-Ordean-Wells company for ten years, and in 1901, in partnership with J. E. Granger, formed the Patrick-Granger Drygoods company, which handled varied lines and prospered.  Some time after that Mr. Patrick formed the F. A. Patrick company, which became one of the leading manufacturing establishments in Duluth and Northern Minnesota, as well as being far from one of the lesser in the state.  For years the company flourished and expanded, owning a mill at Mankato at one time, manufacturing materials for the Duluth plant.  During that time the altruistic tendencies long shown by Mr. Patrick were given full play in his dealings with his numerous employees.  He established various facilities for them, among them being a summer place at Lake Nebagamon, where they could pass their vacations and week-ends with their families at minimum expense and maximum benefit.   Once Owned Glass Block.  At one time, for a considerable period, the company owned and operated the Glass Block store, and only recently Mr. Patrick retired as chairman of the board of that institution.   Mr. Patrick was the father of the movement that rejuvenated the old Chamber of Commerce in 1902, which existed as far back as fifty years ago, mostly in a dormant state, and reformed it into the Duluth Commercial club, an active, aggressive body of business men.  He was its first president and had always been regarded as its actual founder.  Since then its name has been changed back to Chamber of  Commerce.  For many years he had been one of the most prominent leaders in civic and business affairs of Duluth…

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Fred Albert Patrick, head of one of the largest wholesale dry goods houses in the northwest, is a native of Marengo, Ill.

He was born November 8, 1857, a son of Richard Montgomery and Emma (Page) Patrick.

After leaving the public schools he was graduated from the high school at Ann Arbor, Mich., and then for two years was a student at the University of Michigan. In 1880 when in his twenty-third year, he began his active business career in the dry goods trade, as junior member of the firm of H. E. and F. A. Patrick, in his native town. This relation continued till 1886, when the firm name changed to F. A. Patrick and Company, and so continued until 1891. Closing his business affairs in Marengo, Mr. Patrick moved to Duluth, and during the next ten years until 1901, was treasurer and manager of the wholesale grocery house of Stone-Ordean-Wells Company. In 1900 he organized the wholesale dry goods house of Patrick and Granger Company, which was succeeded July 1, 1901, by the present concern of F. A. Patrick and Company, of which he is president. Aside from this Mr. Patrick is identified with numerous business enterprises, being a director of the First National Bank of Duluth and of the Great Northern Power Company, and the Duluth Terminal Railway Company and other corporations. While living in Marengo he served as mayor of that city, also as a director of the Elgin Board of Trade, and as president of the McHenry County Butter Company.

Mr. Patrick is pre-eminently a man of affairs and is ready to aid in all that pertains to the betterment of his city and community. He is now a member of the Duluth park commission, has been a member of the Duluth charter commission, and was president of the Duluth Civic Federation. He holds membership in the Masonic order, and the B. and P. Order of Elks; is actively identified with the Kitchi Gammi, the Northland Country, the Duluth Boat and the Duluth Yacht clubs, and was  the first president of the Commercial Club of Duluth, having 1,000 members.

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.
  • Woodbridge, Dwight and John Pardee, eds. History of Duluth and St. Louis County Past and Present Vols. 1 – 2. C. F. Cooper & Company, Chicago: 1922.
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