129–131 East 1st Street | Architect: Oliver G. Traphagen | Built: 1887 | Extant, uninhabitable
Oliver Traphagen designed the six townhouses that made up Pastoret Terrace in his trademark Richardsonian Romanesque Revival style. Built by Michael Pastoret, the two-and-a-half-story brick building featured brownstone-trimmed windows, wrought-iron cresting on the roof, small entry porches crowned with balustrades, and a round corner tower capped with a lemon-shaped dome and a tall finial. Several of the roof ridges were topped with iron cresting, and more balustrade ran along the top of the cornice. When construction finished, Pastoret advertised his new townhouse as “costly” to appeal to wealthy professionals, the very type of people looking for upscale downtown living in a city that was in the middle of its biggest population boom.
By 1924 downtown living had lost its appeal to the wealthy and most of the building’s luxury units became rental apartments. That same year new owners extended the first floor on both East First Street and Second Avenue East, added a restaurant, and removed the tower roof. When Prohibition ended in 1933, the restaurant became a tavern operated by Ignace George Koziarek. The six townhouses were subdivided into forty units known as the Kennelworth Apartments. By the time Koziarek sold the building in 1959, and the following year the tavern was first listed in directories as the Kozy Bar, likely an existing nickname honoring Koziarek.
When the Gateway Urban Renewal Project eliminated Duluth’s Bowery in the 1960s, many of its socially marginalized inhabitants found other places to live—and drink. With extremely low rents and the Kozy Bar right downstairs (and other low-rent taverns nearby), Pastoret Flats became a magnet for many former Bowery residents with little or no income, many of whom suffered from alcoholism, drug abuse, or mental illness. For many years an overwhelming number of Duluth’s police calls were made in response to incidents at the Kozy Bar and Apartments or just outside its doors. For decades the entire building was known simply—and notoriously—as the Kozy.
The building was eventually purchased by pysician Eric Ringsred, who was once a prominent figure in Duluth’s preservation movement, but his questionable stewardship of his own historic properties has sullied that reputation. Ringsred’s plans for the building went up in flames on November 15, 2010, when a fire started in Unit 32. Unfortunately, Rinsgred only had liability insurance for the building. He then failed to pay property taxes on the property. St. Louis County then took possession of the building and sold it to the city of Duluth, which intended to demolish it. Since the 2010 fire several other conflagrations have further damaged the building, rendering it a burned-out ruin.
Restoration seems unlikely for structural, safety, financial, and political reasons. While at one point the city was given permission to destroy the building, lawsuits brought by Ringsred and an anonymous group called “Respect Starts Here” have delayed demolition. As of March 2021 the building still stands.