Edwin S. Radcliffe

Edwin S. Radcliff caricatured by the Duluth News Tribune. (Image: Duluth Public library)

=Edwin S. Radcliffe was one of the earliest architects working in Duluth.  He was born June 2, 1851 in Elmira, New York.  The family moved first to Indiana then to Minneapolis.  His father, Abraham Maby Radcliffe, was a master builder/architect whose offices (first in Minneapolis, then St. Paul) served as training ground for some of the Twin Cities’ most notable architects.   Son Edwin attended Minneapolis public schools, then the University of Minnesota from 1869 – 72.  He received subsequent technical education at the Art Institute in New York City in 1874.  From 1875 to 1886 Radcliffe worked as draftsman in his father’s St. Paul office, succeeding his father in the last year as head architect.  He continued there until 1889 when he moved to Duluth and formed a partnership with Charles McMillan.  That partnership continued until 1893.  Radcliffe then partnered with Charles E. Willoughby under firm name of Radcliffe & Willoughby until 1900.  He practiced alone from 1901 to Jan. 1, 197, when he formed new partnership with Vernon J. Price under firm name of Radcliffe & Price.

Radcliffe is credited with designing and overseeing the construction of some of the finest buildings in St. Paul and Minneapolis, along with the design of several Duluth buildings:

  • Burrows Building
  • Panton & White Building
  • Jefferson School at 916 East Third Street
  • The Armory at 201 Second Ave East
  • First Methodist Church at 215 North Third Avenue West (1892)
  • The Matthew Burrows House at 1632 East First Street (1890)

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Elmira, New York, native Edwin S. Radcliffe (1861–1935, shown in sketch) moved to St. Paul in 1858 and practiced at his father Abraham’s firm until moving to Duluth in 1889, where he practiced with Charles McMillen until 1892. Together they designed the Spalding House, the Burrows Block, Whittier School, the 1893 First Methodist Church and the Howe/Glencoe Building and Glass Block After splitting from McMillen, Radcliffe partnered with Charles E. Willoughby until 1900. He practiced alone until 1907, when he formed a new partnership with Vernon J. Price. Several of Radcliffe’s designs still grace Duluth: the 1893 Jefferson School (916 East 3rd Street, now apartments), the 1910 George and Irene Fay House at 2032 East Superior Street), and the 1886 Duluth Armory at 201-207 East First Street, which became the Shrine Auditorium in 1917 (it is now a youth center).

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.
  • Dierckins, Tony and Maryanne C. Norton. Lost Duluth: Landmarks, Industries, Buildings, Homes, and the Neighborhoods in Which They Stood. Zenith City Press, Duluth, Minnesota: 2012.
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