Bridgeman-Russell Building

10-16 West 1st Street | Architect: John J. Wangenstein | Built: 1905 and 1907 | Extant 

Built as the offices of Duluth’s  Bridgeman-Russell Creamery, this three-story, reddish-brown brick Renaissance Revival commercial building has a roughly square footprint with common brick sidewalls, and a palimpsest of historic painted signage is still visible at top of the west side wall. The block is composed of two nearly identical buildings constructed in two phases with matching materials and detailing. The earliest phase was a two-story, 50’-wide structure built in 1905, with a second 50’-wide structure in 1907 that included the addition of a third story on the existing building. The first floor has been significantly altered through the addition of new brick infill, aluminum doors and fixed windows, a plywood paneling at the transoms on the western half, while the eastern half appears to have its cast iron and red sandstone storefront largely intact underneath large plywood sheets that hide the storefront windows, doors and transoms. At the second and third floors the facades are separated into three bays by flat brick piers. The second floor piers take the form of tightly spaced brick quoins, while the third floor has brick pilasters with red sandstone bases and capitals.

Narrow outer bays at the second floor contain a single double hung wood frame 1/1 window. A large red sandstone block spanning the width of the bay functions as a sill, and the head is composed of a flat arch of stepped red sandstone voussoirs flanking a long, narrow keystone. Five double hung 1/1 wood frame windows fill the central bay, with the outer two windows slightly wider than the center three that are arranged as a grouping separated by square brick Doric pillars with red sandstone capitals. Massive flat-faced red sandstone blocks are used to create a continuous band for the window heads, and smaller blocks make up the band for the sills.

Three recessed brick panels decorate the spandrel between the second and third floors. Two smaller inset panels frame a larger central dedication panel reading “Bridgeman & Russell.” The second floor windows on the western half appear to be slightly different from those used elsewhere in the building, including a large transom above the 1/1 double hung unit.

Fenestration at the third floor follows a pattern similar to that on the second floor, differing only in its detailing. Narrow red sandstone sills are supported by a row of decorative brick dentils in the center bay, and a series of six vertical brick corbels at the outer bays. Oversized blocks of red sandstone are used for the heads, with the addition of a sinuous arched molding over the heads of the outer bays. A row of decorative brick corbels finishes the third floor immediately below a pressed metal cornice and a small brick parapet capped with thin red sandstone coping stones.

Sources:

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