Duluth Press Building

An 1894 sketch of the Duluth Press Building,artist unknown. [Image: Paul Lundgren]

1915 W. Superior St. | Architects: Radcliffe & Willoughby | Built: 1894 | Extant

Missouri native Hugh Wetmore spent much of the 1880s working as a reporter for the St. Paul Dispatch before moving to Superior in 1890 to write for the Superior Evening Telegram. The next year he established a newspaper in Duluth’s West End called The Union Workman: The People’s Press. According to Duluth journalist Paul Lundgren, the paper was the official organ of the Duluth Trades and Labor Assembly. The following year Wetmore began courting Helen Cody, sister of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Hugh and Helen wed in July 1893, the same month Helen took over as the paper’s business manager. That September the paper’s name was changed to the Duluth Press. By then Buffalo Bill owned half of the business and financed the construction of a building to house it along the upper 1900 block of West Superior Street. Designed by Edwin Radcliffe and Charles Willoughby, the modest four-story building (included here for its cultural significance) was faced in tan brick and included few elements to help classify its architectural style. In fact, the carvings shown on the sketch at left likely never graced the structure. After the building opened in January 1894, Helen hired her daughter Mary Jester as its city editor and organized the Zenith Press Club, consisting solely of women. The next year she advertised the publication as “The Women’s Paper of the Great Northwest.” The periodical didn’t last long, publishing its final issue on August 29, 1896. The following year the building was home to Star Publishing. Its Superior Street level has housed various businesses throughout the years and the upper floors have long served as apartments.