John J. Wangenstein

John J. Wangenstein. (Image: D. Davis)

John J. Wangenstein was born in Valdres, Norway in 1858 and studied in Trondheim before coming to Duluth in the early 1880s.  Wangenstein had a prolific career designing numerous commercial, residential and religious buildings in Duluth and across St. Louis County, beginning in the late nineteenth century and extending into the 1930s.  From 1892 to about 1895 Wangenstein worked in partnership with William E. Baillie, establishing the firm of Wangenstein and Baillee.  Buildings in Duluth designed by Wangenstein include the Wolvin Building (1901) at 225-31 W. 1st St.; the Masonic Temple (1904) at 4 W. 2nd St.; and the DeWitt-Seitz Building (1911) in Canal Park along with numerous other commercial buildings throughout the downtown.  His 1942 obituary documents other architectural contributions he made to the community:

Veteran Architect Dies Here.  John J. Wangenstein, 83 years old, 121 West St. Marie street, Duluth architect and a resident here for 59 years, died last night at a local hospital following a lingering illness.  Mr. Wangenstein was architect for numerous buildings and residences in Duluth and on the Mesaba range, including the Duluth Masonic temple, Duluth Boat clubhouse… Born in Valders, Norway, in 1858, he came to Duluth in 1883.  He was a life member of the Duluth Boat Club, charter member of the Kitchi Gammi club, and belonged to the old Duluth Commercial club, American Association of Architects and Engineers, and Glen Avon Presbyterian church.  He was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason.  He retired from his business several years ago…

Wangenstein designed houses for other East End residents, including:

Charles & Mary Britts, 2201 East Superior Street, 1892 (with William E. Baillie)

Gorham & Gertrude Taylor, 2325 East 2nd Street, 1896

John & Hildegarde Hunt, 2132 East First Street, 1902

Marcus & Sarah Fay, 2105 East Superior Street,1902

James & Selina Pearce, 2109-11 East Superior Street,1903

Daniel & Alice Waite, 2510 East Superior Street, 1904

Morris & Bessie Cook, 211 North 24th Ave East, 1924

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Architect John J. Wangenstein (1858–1942) was born in Valdres, Norway, in 1858 and studied in Trondheim before coming to Duluth in 1883 where he established a private architectural firm six years later. He partnered with William E. Baillie from 1892 to 1895, but for the most part worked independently. During his prolific career Wangenstein designed numerous commercial, residential, and religious buildings throughout Duluth and St. Louis County. Buildings in Duluth designed by Wangenstein include the Loeb House (1900), the Wolvin Building (1901, now the Missabe Building), the second Boat Club (1903), the second Masonic Temple (1904), the Bridgeman-Russell Building (1907), and the DeWitt Seitz Building (1911). Wangenstein also designed a number of Duluth’s East End residences, including the Gorham and Gertrude Taylor House (2325 East Second Street, 1896), the John and Hildegarde Hunt House (2132 East First Street, 1902), the Marcus and Sarah Fay House (2105 East Superior Street,1902), the James and Selina Pearce House (2109–11 East Superior Street, 1903), the Daniel and Alice Waite House (2510 East Superior Street, 1904), the William and Helen Eklund House (224 North Twenty-Fourth Avenue East, 1908), and the Morris and Bessie Cook House (211 NorthTwenty-Fourth Avenue East, 1924).

Wangenstein stopped practicing in about 1935, retiring to his home at 121 West Marie Street. He died in a Duluth hospital in 1942 at age eighty-three. His obituary pointed out that Wangenstein was “a life member of the Duluth Boat Club, charter member of the Kitchi Gammi club, and belonged to the old Duluth Commercial club, American Association of Architects and Engineers, and Glen Avon Presbyterian church.

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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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