Panton/Sellwood House

The Panton/Sellwood house photographed ca. 1910 by Hugh McKenzie. [Image: UMD Martin Library]

1931 East Second Street | Architect: Kees & Colburn | Built: 1903 | Extant

John Panton, founder of Duluth’s Panton & Watson (later Panton & White) department store, and his wife Sophia built themselves a magnificent Neoclassical Style home in 1903 at the northwest corner of Nineteenth Avenue East and Second Street. They chose Minneapolis architects Cobourn & Kees to design the two-and-a-half-story yellow brick house featuring a massive wrap-round front porch supported by Ionic columns that extend to the second floor, where its balustrade-wrapped roof and that of the porte cochère function as a veranda. A massive two-story centralized entrance pavilion supported by four Ionic columns and two square pilasters stands over the porch, its roof lined with an urn-shaped balustrade that creates a third-floor balcony. Other Neoclassical elements include corner quoins; modillions and dentils between the second floor and attic level; and segmental, Roman, and scalloped dormers protruding from the roof. Several dormers carry Roman-arch windows with fanlights, and the scalloped dormers include swan-neck embellishments. Inside, the house held twenty-one rooms for the Pantons and their three children, and a tunnel led from the main house to the basement of the matching carriage house, which originally housed the furnace room.

After Frederick A. Patrick purchased Panton’s store and renamed it Glass Block in 1911, the Pantons left Duluth for Seattle. John Panton died in 1932 in Hollywood, California; Sophia passed way seven years later in Oregon. Richard Sellwood, son of Joseph and Ophelia Sellwood, purchased the house for himself and his wife, the former Ella Fitzgerald, whom he married in 1899; Ella’s father was Robert F. Fitzgerald, president of the Duluth Shoe Company. By then the Sellwoods had three children of their own. Richard Sellwood had been educated at Cornell and followed his father into the banking and mining industries. He passed way in 1940, and Ella remained in the house until her own death in 1954.Two years later their sons, Joseph and Richard M. Sellwood Jr., and daughter Francis, gifted the home to the Benedictine Sisters of Duluth in memory of their parents—Ella Sellwood had been a devout Catholic and a member of Duluth’s Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Parish. Renamed Sellwood Hall, the home was used to house boarding students of Stanbrook Hall High School and host functions by the alumni of the College of St. Scholastica until 1967, when it became a student residence hall. In 1970, young scholars moved out and Benedictine sisters moved in, staying until 1983. The house has long served as a group home for people with developmental disabilities and today is called Carlson Hall.


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.