Astoria Hotel

102-108 East Superior Street | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1905 | Extant

This is a two-story painted brick commercial building sited on the southeast corner of the intersection of Superior Street and First Avenue East. The building has a rectangular footprint with its primary façade on Superior Street and a secondary façade facing First Avenue. Four cast iron columns from the original storefront system are visible at the first floor level, but much of the north storefront has been altered from its original appearance through the insertion of new aluminum frame storefront windows and doors, new bulkheads, and new canopies and plywood panels with signage that cover the transoms. A continuous series of pressed metal panels was attached to the brick above the transom level, providing a visual separation between the first and second floors.

The second floor of the main façade is divided into three bays, two smaller outer bays articulated by brick quoins and a much larger center bay that is characterized by six slightly recessed individual bays. The two outer bays have two window openings each of which holds a new fixed aluminum frame window with a cut stone sill and a large flat brick arch with a thin stone keystone. A small rectangular brick recess is positioned immediately above each window, with a cut stone sill and a series of four horizontal corbels at the head. Two small elliptical recesses flank the rectangular panels, with frames formed from brick headers and a narrow stone keystone mirrored at the top and bottom of the frame. Each recess in the central bay contains a new fixed aluminum frame window sitting on a cut stone sill that extends the full width of the recess. The head is made up of a flat brick arch with a narrow stone keystone that extends through the center of a projecting segmental arch resting on the flat arch. A row of six vertical brick corbels finish the top of the recess, which steps out to a flat brick panel that is capped by a serrated profile below a projecting metal cornice. There is no clearly defined parapet (the result of a fire in 1929 that destroyed the parapet), and the wall is simply terminated with a thin metal coping.

The west façade slopes down to incorporate a third story at the rear or south end of the building, but this is largely hidden by a large pedestrian ramp placed immediately adjacent to the building. The façade is roughly divided into three bays, with the northernmost bay representing a continuation of the north façade onto the west. The northernmost bay is a compilation of features found on the front façade, with aluminum storefront windows and canopies at the first floor, and brick quoins defining the edges of the second floor bay. A single new fixed aluminum frame window has a cut stone sill and a large flat brick arch with a narrow stone keystone. A row of brick corbels sits below the same serrated profile and metal cornice seen on the front façade. The same treatment is repeated at the southernmost bay at the second story level. The first floor is largely unarticulated, with five fixed aluminum frame windows piercing the wall in the five southern bays. The central portion of the second floor contains nine window openings with cut stone sills and brick flat arches with stone keystones. The openings are filled by a mix of materials, including new aluminum frame fixed windows, plywood sheeting and smaller fixed window units surrounded by plywood infill. Three horizontal brick corbels lead up to a long parged strip at the top of the brick wall, most likely resulting from the removal of the pressed metal cornice in 1971.

Sources:

  • Koop, Michael. “National Register of Historic Places Registration for the Duluth Commercial Historic District.” Minnesota State Office of Historic Preservation, St. Paul: 2005.