Hartley Building

The Hartley Building photographed ca. 1970 by Guilford G. Hartley. [Image: Guilford G. Hartley]

740 E. Superior St. | Architect: Bertram Goodhue | Built: 1914 | Extant

After working with architect Bertram Goodhue on the 1912 Kitchi Gammi Club and the 1913 St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Guilford Hartley chose to hire Goodhue for a couple of his own projects, including an office building almost directly across the street from his beloved private club. Goodhue again employed the Neo-Gothic style for the office building, which stands two-and-half stories above Superior Street at the foot of Eighth Avenue East and four stories above a stone wall that rises along the former tracks of the Northern Pacific Railroad, used today by the North Shore Scenic Railroad. Faced with brick trimmed with Bedford limestone, the building sits on a foundation of dark red brick and features prominent, protruding chimneys at either end and a central doorway surrounded by heavy stone quoins and topped with a frieze that holds the date “1914” spaced on either side of Hartley’s stylized initials: Two capital G’s facing one another beneath a large capital H. Just west of the entryway a three-sided oriel window protrudes from the second story and breaks through the roofline. On the building’s northwest corner a wooden gate and brick pier enclose a brick stairway descending to the rear. Balancing the stairway on the northeast corner is a small brick wall with an arched oak door leading to a basement stairway.

The interior is superbly finished in stone and oak. The vestibule’s basalt flooring leads to a hallway outfitted with a Ludowici tile floor, marble baseboards, and paneled oak doors. The entire second floor was originally used as the Hartley Office complex. Guilford Hartley’s office, now a conference room, was outfitted with carved oak furniture. Ornamental plaster work with floral motifs adorns ceiling beams and moldings. A brick walk-in fireplace dominates the room, and plaster work above it depicts four figures representing hunting, fishing, logging and agriculture—Hartley’s primary recreational and business interests.

While the building held the Hartley Offices until recently, it had many other tenants along the way. The first floor has housed attorneys, realtors, and mining companies, and for several years Bergetta Moe operated her restaurant within the building. Duluth author Margaret Culkin Banning used one of the top-floor apartments as her writing studio for many years. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, the building continues to serve Duluth today.


The back of the Hartley Building, date unknown. [Image: Phil Sneve]