Carlson House

The Carlson House photographed ca. 1940 by L. Perry Gallagher. [Image: American Swedish Institute]

202 24th Avenue East | Architect: A. Werner Lignell | b. 1910; | Extant

Gust Carlson immigrated to the U.S. from Åmål, Västra Götaland, Sweden, at age eighteen. He settled in Hibbing, Minnesota, in 1893 when he was twenty-four years old, starting off in the banking business but soon pivoting his interest to mining after recognizing the need for diamond drills in ore exploration. His Carlson Exploration Co. introduced technological innovations that would improve the efficiency, and therefore economics, of mining. He would eventually own mines in several states and later became involved in the early development of taconite. He married eighteen-year-old Hanna Forsman not long after she arrived from her native Finland in 1896 and they had five kids between 1898 and 1913, when Carlson was knighted by King Gustav V of Sweden.

By then the Carlsons had settled into the home at the northeast corner of Twenty-Fourth Avenue East and Second Street they had designed by A. Verner Lignell, another Swedish immigrant thriving in Duluth and working with Frederick German at the time he designed the three-story Carlson House. Rumored to be inspired by a castle in Sweden, the house is clad in light tan brick, stucco, and limestone and topped with a red-slate gabled roof. The design includes several scalloped gables, and at first glance one might consider the light-colored house an example of Mission or Spanish Revival styles, and to others the gables may indicate a Jacobean Revival design. But the house’s wide variety of architectural elements render it Eclectic, and its scalloped gables are also a sign of Flemish Renaissance Revival, which was popular in Scandinavian countries including Sweden. Tiered, projecting piers rise along the house’s asymmetrical front facade along Twenty-Fourth Avenue East, topped with those scalloped gables and featuring a two-story, balcony-topped bay positioned adjacent to the house’s corner entry porch. Its northern end features a one-and-a-half-story wing with a jerkinhead roof and dormer while the southern end contains a two-story central bay topped with a balcony accessed through a Roman-arch-topped French door flanked by two matching Roman-arch windows separated by Tuscan columns. Inside, the nine-thousand-square-foot house contains eight bedrooms, five bathrooms, and five fireplaces.

By 1940 most of the Carlson kids had moved out of the house, but daughter Oregon and her husband Merritt Peterson had moved in permanently. Gust passed away in 1956 and Hanna died seven years later. Oregon stayed in the house until she sold it in 1991, leaving it relatively untouched since her parents first had it built. She died in 1999. Today it remains a private residence.

The Gust and Hanna Carlson House photographed by Dennis O’Hara in 2009. (Image: Northern Images)

To see modern exterior and interior photographs of this house and learn more about its architecture, visit Twin Ports Past’s post about the house HERE.