Bagley Hosue

The Bagley House photographed ca. 1919 by Hugh McKenzie. [Image: UMD Martin Library]

2431 E. First Street | Architect: Frederick Perkins | Built: 1914 | Extant

Tipton, Iowa, native Cassius H. Bagley made his way to Duluth in 1890 when he was twenty-one years old and immediately went to work for F. D. Day & Co. Jewelers at 315 West Superior Street as a clerk and watchmaker. In 1895 he married Walworth, Wisconsin, native Minnie Church and the next year Day & Co. began mentioning in advertisements that Bagley was a trained optician, having graduated the Chicago Opthalmic College. The Bagleys had a daughter, Charlene, in 1898. After founder F. D. Day died in 1900, Bagley took over as the store’s president and treasurer; in 1908 the business changed its name to Bagley & Co. Jewelers and became an institution, remaining at the same location until 2016.

The Bagleys were living at 1929 East Superior Street in 1913 when they chose Frederick Perkins to draw them a new home to stand at at the northwest corner of Twenty-Fifth Avenue West and First Street. Perkins created a rarity for Duluth, a two-story stucco-clad Mediterranean Revival home with a low hipped roof covered in red tile and an
eyebrow dormer peeking out of the southern façade. Tall, Roman arch windows dress the first floor while rectangular, shuttered windows run along the second along the front, Twenty-Fourth Avenue East façade, which includes an asymmetrical entrance portico with a shed-roof canopy. A semicircle balcony protrudes from the second floor north of the entry, accessed by French doors topped with an arched fanlight transom, coordinating with the first floor windows.

Another balcony extends from the southern façade in front of a triptych of narrow Roman arch windows. The house is adorned with various elements containing a vase-and-flower motif, including the door surround and the pierced kneewalls of both balconies. The house also includes elements not typically found in Spanish or Italian houses, such as exposed rafters, curved cross braces, medallions, and cartouches. Inside, the five thousand-square foot house includes five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and a sun room.

Cassius and Minnie stayed in the house until 1933, when they moved in to a new Colonial Revival home at 2424 East Second Street designed by Harold St. Clair Starin. Cassius Bagley, who also helped found Duluth’s Community Fund and worked with Duluth’s Family Welfare Society, died in 1947, and Minnie followed him just a year later.