2229 E. First Street | Architect: I. William T. Bray | Built: 1904 | Extant
Brothers Edward and Alva Bradley grew up in Bay City, Michigan, where their father Henry’s sawmill helped turn the Saginaw Bay region into a lumber center. Henry Bradley even helped organize Bay City’s Methodist church and its school system. But when Bradley’s mill went bust in 1877, Henry headed to northeastern Minnesota to work as a timber cruiser and iron ore speculator while his family stayed in Michigan. By 1880 he had teamed up with Heber H. Hanford to form the Bradley-Hanford Lumber Company, a lumber wholesaler. Edward and Alva moved to Duluth in 1882 to operate the firm, and Henry retired to Bay City a year later. The senior Bradley would return to the Zenith City in 1890, after his investment in the Vermilion Iron Range’s Chandler Mine had made him increasingly wealthy.
When Edward Bradley got to Duluth he was twenty-two years old and already married to fellow Michigander Lucretia Pringle. In Duluth the Bradleys began a family that would eventually include three sons and a daughter, and in 1887 they built an opulent Queen Anne Victorian home at 701 West Second Street (demolished in 1971). When the house was complete, Edward resigned from Bradley-Hanford Lumber and worked by himself until 1898, when he organized the Duluth Log Company.
After the century turned, the Bradleys felt it was time for a change, so they hired William Bray to draw up plans for a two-story Neoclassical home faced in red-orange brick to stand on the northwest corner of Twenty-Third Avenue East and First Street. Like the Olcott house across the street, the building features a massive two-story gabled entrance pavilion. Supported by four Corinthian columns and two Corinthian pilasters, the temple-like entrance pavilion is topped with a roof whose gable carries a bull-seye window divided by tracery. Beyond the pavilion the front entrance portico supports a second-floor balcony. Three gabled dormers protrude from the house’s gambrel roof, one in the back and two in the front, each with Roman-arch windows also divided by tracery. The house’s eastern-façade porte cochère is supported by Ionic columns and pilasters, and the eaves of its flat roof, like the roof of the house itself, is adorned with modillions and dentils. Edward and Lucretia remained in the house the rest of their lives. Lucretia died in 1944 and Edward followed her four years later. The house has remained a private residence throughout its life.