Norris-MacDougall Block

5-7 West Superior Street | Architect: Charles McMillen and E. S. Stebbins | Built: 1886 | Extant (Ragstock)

Sited on a rectangular lot with its primary façade fronting Superior Street, this modest two-story variegated reddish-brown brick commercial building replaced a much grander 1886 Renaissance Revival structure designed by the local architecture firm of McMillen and Stebbins. The current building façade was remodeled in 1927, 1940 and 1957. Little of the original façade survives in the current configuration, with the storefront altered through the insertion of new aluminum frame and hollow metal doors, aluminum frame fixed windows, and brick faced bulkheads. The transom area and the brick frame surrounding the storefront opening have been obscured behind heavy layers of paint and black Cararra glass (now damaged), which in turn have been covered by subsequent layers of vertical and plain plywood siding under printed and backlit plastic signage. The second floor is dominated by three large window openings, formed by an extremely attenuated framework of brick header and soldier courses accented with buff bands of glazed brick. Metal panels now fill the bulk of these openings, with new undersized aluminum frame casement windows inserted into the center of the infill panels. A continuous thin band of limestone functions as the window sill, while a continuous soldier course of face brick provides the window head. Two more soldier courses and horizontal bands of glazed brick separate the window heads from the parapet, which is divided into nine panels by brick frames of soldier and stretcher bricks cut to create the appearance of “mitered” corners. The panels are filled with a simple square of face brick laid in common bond, and a limestone coping stone completes the façade.

Sources:

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