Spina Building

2-8 West 1st Street | Architect: Anthony Puck | Built: 1912 | Extant (DSGW Architect)

Peter Spina of Stephenson, MN commissioned Anthony Puck to design this large, two-story cream brick and terra cotta commercial building sited on a 100’ x 60’ sloping rectangular site at the intersection of 1st Street and Lake Avenue. The second floor of the building was specifically designed for use of H. L. Coffin’s Dance Academy, and later became the home of Dreamland Ballroom.

The primary façade on the north face is broken into three bays, with the two smaller, outer bays projecting slightly beyond the face of the larger central bay. The first floor has a total of eight cast iron columns across the storefront stamped with the mark of “National Iron Co., Duluth.” Larger flat columns support the corners at the outer bays and more slender columns are spaced across the central portions. The original windows, bulkheads and transoms were replaced in 2000 with new aluminum frame fixed windows and entry doors, false divided light prism panels in the transom, and a painted concrete bulkhead. A narrow continuous band of white terra cotta forms the head of the storefront windows, and a wide continuous string course of terra cotta molding demarcates the base of the second floor, wrapping around the east façade as well.

The two projecting outer bays of the second floor each contain one single-hung vinyl clad window with false divided lights in a 9/9 pattern. A terra cotta sill sits below the window, and the head is formed by a continuous string course of white terra cotta that wraps around the north façade and the northeast corner. Above the string course the cream brick is decorated with a rectangular panel formed from soldier and stacked stretchers, with green glazed square tiles at each corner. A small vinyl-clad ocular window framed with a ring of soldier bricks is situated in the center of the brick panel. The upper edge of the circular brick frame touches the bottom of a continuous projecting terra cotta cornice decorated with large pendant dentils, which sits below a low brick parapet topped by a terra cotta coping tiles. The wide central bay has eight large, single hung vinyl clad windows with false divided lights in a 15/15 pattern. Each window is set in a slightly recessed bay composed of a frame of brick stretchers with a terra cotta sill. A continuous terra cotta string course forms the head for all of the windows, and separates them from eight half round fixed vinyl clad windows with false divided lights in a fan light pattern.

The half round windows also are set in a recessed bay of brick stretchers and soldiers, which is decorated with a terra cotta bracket as a keystone.

The east façade includes a lower service level as a result of the sloping site with two access doors at the southern end. At the first and second floors the façade is broken into three bays, with the outer two projecting slightly as on the north façade. The northern bay is a continuation of the storefront system on the north façade, while the two southern bays are cream brick pierced by four small fixed vinyl clad windows set high in the wall. Each window has a terra cotta sill and a continuous band of terra cotta molding as the window heads. The second floor is nearly identical to the arrangement seen on the north façade, with the number of windows in the central bay reduced from eight to three. Another divergence is the presence of a steeply pitched pediment over the central bay at the parapet level, which is supported at each end by pairs of terra cotta brackets joined by garlands. The pediment frames a central red-and-white striped shield, set within a low terra cotta arch that rests on two more pairs of brackets with garlands. Two low, wide inset terra cotta panels span between the bracket pairs.

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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