Duluth Herald Building (1893)

The 1893 Duluth Herald Building ca. 1905. [Image: Duluth Public Library]

220 West Superior Street | Traphagen & Fitzpatrick | b. 1893

Millie Bunnell was just twenty-one years old when he arrived in Duluth in 1882 and establish the Duluth Evening Herald newspaper. That year his father, Miron, constructed a large two-story trapezoid-shaped Italianate building—along the west side of the Lake Avenue Viaduct—to house the newspaper offices and press room, a steam plant to operate its presses, and several retail spaces, one occupied by the Stanton & Houston Saloon (pictured below). By 1888 the younger Bunnell developed a reputation for drunkenness and erratic behavior. The following year he skipped town with cash and jewels “borrowed” from friends and businesses and attempted to flee to Canada, but was arrested in Grand Forks, North Dakota. By May 1890 he had become managing editor of the Kansas City Globe.

The same year Bunnell started with the Globe, the Evening Herald left the Bunnell Block, relocating in the Chamber of Commerce Building (aka Manhattan Block). Two years later Anton Weiss, the Duluth correspondent for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, became the Evening Herald’s
managing editor. Fire destroyed the Bunnell Block in 1893, claiming five lives (it was replaced by the Metropole Hotel in 1903). By the time the Bunnell Block burned, the newspaper had already moved into a new facility of its own, a three-story Neoclassical building, designed by Traphagen & Fitzpatrick, along the lower 200 block of West Superior Street.

Faced with tan brick, the building features limestone panels, projecting metal cornice modillions, and plenty of delightful stone carvings.Bunnell returned to Duluth in 1896, accepting a job as a reporter for the Evening Herald. Four years earlier his friends Guilford Hartley and Luther Mendenhall, owners of the Duluth Daily News, purchased the Duluth Tribune from James J. Hill and combined the papers to create the Duluth News-Tribune. In 1899 they hired Bunnell to manage the New-Tribune. The Evening Herald operated out of its 1893 building for nine years, moving into a new building on First Street in 1902.

The 1892 Herald Building still stands. In 1897 Joseph Chrudinskey moved his trunk-manufacturing operation into its basement; the business became the Duluth Trunk Factory in 1902 and stayed in the building until 1920. In 1925 the Postal Telegraph Cable Company took over the basement and remained there until 1940. That space has since been home to the Fun House, Karsbar Bar & Grill, Buck Piano & Organ, Dugar Music, the Silver Hammer Cocktail Lounge, the Mirror Lounge, and R. T. Quinlan’s Saloon beginning in 1986. The Superior Street level housed the Duluth Savings Bank from 1905 to 1909. By 1930 it had become home to the Bamboo Inn Café while the upper floors were converted into apartments. Since then a number of restaurants have tried to make a go of it on the Superior Street level, most notably Mr. Nick’s Restaurant—famous for its “charburgers”—from 1970 to 2002. In 1996 the exterior of the Superior Street level was covered in stucco.


The Brunnel Block, aka the Duluth Herald Steam Plant, ca. 1888. (Image: UMD Martin Library)