Myers House

The Meyer House photographed by Hugh McKenzie ca. 1919. [Image: UMD Martin Library]

2505 East 1st Street | Architects: William T. Bray and Carl Nystrom | b. 1910 | Extant

The year after Henry H. Myers and his brothers built Duluth’s remarkable Park Terrace townhouses, he married New York native Lucy Bartlett. They welcomed their only child, Cecil Bartlett Myers, in 1898, and a year later moved out of Park Terrace and into a home at 1034 East First Street. Afterward, Myers began expanding his business interests, including serving as the treasurer of Duluth’s Beltline Railway Company, which operated a funicular or incline railroad between West Duluth and Bayview Heights between 1889 and 1916.

In 1909 the Myers broke ground on a home dreamed up by architects Bray and Nystrom that stands at the northeast corner of Twenty-Fifth Avenue East and First Street. The massive three-story house is not only thought to be the last Richardsonian Romanesque home built in Duluth, but also the city’s finest example of the style. Myers chose to face the building with randomly set courses of black basalt pulled from the excavation of nearby Twenty-Fourth Avenue East, which also gives the house a touch of the Picturesque as it is literally built of the same stone its foundation rests upon. In fact, the house is missing many Romanesque
features: it includes no Roman-arch window or door openings, and its main doorway is set within a Tudor arch, so the building might be better described as Eclectic. But its most prominent feature, a three-story round corner tower capped with a conical roof, is classic Romanesque. Instead of sandstone, yellow-and-white mottled terra-cotta trims the windows and doorways, and battlements top the porte cochère on the eastern side of the house while the sun-room on the western side is topped with an ornate balustrade with a circular motif. The house’s multipitched hipped roof includes heavy gabled ends, rounded on the eastern and northern exposures and triangular along the western and southern facades, all adorned with terra-cotta corner scrolls. The roof, originally covered in clay tile, includes a centrally located skylight. A matching one-and-a-half-story carriage house faced in the same basalt still stands north of the house.
Inside their 7,400-square-foot-home, the Myers allowed designers to be as eclectic with their work as the architects had been creating a mixture of Craftsman, Arts & Crafts, and Beaux Arts influences. The the living-room fireplace is faced in Italian marble, the library ios panelled in Circassian walnut from the Black Sea, ornate molded plaster covers the dining room ceiling, and hand stenciling adorns trim work. Photos indicate much of the original furniture was Beaux Arts.

Henry Myers died in 1931, followed by Lucy seven years later. By then Cecil had married Marian Stearns and they were the parents of two children, four-year-old daughter Lucy and infant son Cecil B. Jr. When Lucy died, Cecil’s family was living in Minneapolis, where he worked as the vice-president of a car dealership. They moved to Duluth and into Cecil’s parents’ house in 1940, after which Cecil and Marian opened Myers Motors Inc., distributors of semitrucks and dump trucks, as well as the Myers Equipment Co., which distributed garage and service station equipment; both businesses operated from 412 East Fourth Street. The Myerses moved out in 1950 and the house has remained a private residence since. A 1997 Duluth News Tribune article about the house reported that “no one had painted over the beamed ceilings or the mahogany, walnut and oak woodwork. Decorative stenciling on the walls and ceilings was—remarkably—still there, as was a third-floor painted mural. Bathrooms were still period, down to the original sinks, tile and marble shower stalls. Most original light fixtures remained.” The house’ s exterior is still incredibly intact as well.

The Henry and Lucy Meyers 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.