William Baird Patton

William Patton. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

William Baird Patton, one of the most popular civil engineers and general business men of Duluth, graduated as a civil engineer from the University of Pennsylvania, with the class of 1880. The following year he came to Duluth in the employment of the Duluth & Winnipeg Railroad, and was made city engineer in 1883, serving until 1886, since which time he has followed municipal and general engineering work, with reappointments to the office of city engineer in 1895, 1896, 1897, 1901, 1902 and 1903, in the meantime designing the municipal water works system and various other important public works. Mr. Patton also served as county surveyor of St. Louis county for three terms from January, 1889, to January, 1895, and has been consulting engineer for nearby cities and towns. He is now manager and owns a half interest in the Duluth Engineering Company, and has perhaps done more for the development of the city’s public works than any other citizen in the county.

He is a man of high intellectual ideas, strictly up to date in all branches of his business and ranks among the leaders of all movements toward the advancement of the city and the general welfare of the people.

Mr. Patton has for many years devoted a great deal of time to the affairs of the Masonic order, having been presiding officer in all the Masonic bodies with which he has been connected.

He was for some years chairman of the board of custodians of the work of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota and is at present the deputy grand master. He is also a member of the Commercial Club of Duluth, and chairman of the municipal and county affairs committee.

He has taken an active interest in religious matters, being a member of the Baptist denomination and filling the office of superintendent of the Sunday school for a period of about twenty years.

Mr. Patton was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on October 14, 1860, the son of William Wagner and Ann Elizabeth (Baird) Patton.

His paternal grandfather, Rev. Walter J. Patton, came from England to America about 1820, while his maternal ancestors were of Revolutionary and colonial stock, one member being Gen. Nicholas Pariset, of the noble Lafayette staff.


  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
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