Ruins: Michael & Emily Chambers House

The ruins of the Chambers House, c. 1900. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Michael and Emily Chambers began building their home near his Fond du Lac quarry in 1870 and finished in 1872. The two-story mansion was constructed with brownstone from his own quarry. It included more than twenty rooms with deep stone walls and tall, narrow arched windows. The house stood on high ground overlooking the St. Louis River and attracted sightseers who traveled to Fond du Lac for a view of the mansion. Chambers and his wife often entertained in the house’s large second-floor drawing room, which housed a grand piano. They covered the floors with Brussels carpeting, which they in turn covered with burlap for dances. (Newspaper reports indicate the house may have operated as a hotel in the mid 1870s.)

The house was destroyed in an arson fire in 1891. The mansion was never rebuilt. Michael Chambers died in 1895, but the ruins of his home were not removed until 1912. Before Emily Chambers’ death in 1926, the City of Duluth purchased 577 acres from her. Ten of those acres east of the quarry and the home site were developed into Duluth’s Chambers Grove Park. Remnants of the home remain