Hotel Florman

310-312 East Superior Street | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1900 | Extant (Lake Superior Magazine)

This is a two-story Romanesque Revival commercial building originally constructed as a hotel, but converted to commercial/retail operation in 1903. The façade is composed of rusticated ashlar blocks of a light pink sandstone, with the first floor arranged in a three-bay storefront configuration divided by four square stone pillars made up of alternating large rusticated blocks and thin smooth faced blocks. Each pillar is finished by an ornate carved stone Corinthian capital with unusual flourishes, including garland swags that span the volutes and arabesques in places of the more traditional acanthus leaves. The central entranceway providing access to the second floor is demarcated by two pillars, with identical storefront openings on either side. The original storefront glazing, transoms, and bulkheads, and the entryway door and transom, were replaced in 1919, and have again been altered by the insertion of new aluminum frame windows, doors and 3-light fixed transoms with new wood bulkheads and transom panel as part of a renovation completed at an unknown date.

The second floor is arranged into four bays, each containing a pair of half-round arched window openings. New aluminum frame single hung window units with fixed half-round transoms have replaced the original wood 1/1 double hung windows. Each window pair is joined by header arches constructed of small rusticated stone voussoirs that spring from a continuous narrow dentil band, and all of the windows rest on a continuous projecting stone sill. A series of five projecting half-round, partial-height engaged pilaster separate each bay, with each pilaster projecting downward from a string course at the top of the second floor like a decorative pendant. A small conical ornament covered in foliate carvings terminates each pendant pilaster just below the dentil banding that forms the spring point for the window arches. Each bay is finished at the top by two rows of dentils, the lower one approximately half the size of the upper. These are topped by two plain projecting bands of stone that form the base for the parapet. A large, low pediment spans the width of the two central bays, decorated by a row of blocky stone dentils below the architrave. The flanking flat parapet elements contain a decorative rectangular inset constructed from small vertical blocks and narrow horizontal bands of stone set in different planes to create an effect similar to basketwork. A thin stone coping completes the parapet.

Sources:

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