Patrick House

The Patrick House ca. 1920s, photographer unknown. [Image: UMD Martin Library]

2306 E. Superior Street | Architect: I. Vernon Hill | Built: 1900 | Extant

Isaac Vernon Hill spent just ten years of his short life in Duluth, but made a remarkable impact on its architecture, including the Patrick House along Superior Street near the foot of Twenty-Fourth Avenue East. Hill emigrated from Leicestershire, England, in 1888 and came to Duluth in 1893 when he was twenty-one years old to work as a draftsman for the Lakeside Land Company. He was just hitting his stride in 1904 after designing the Patrick, Cook, and Crosby houses as well as his own remarkable Tudor Revival home at 2220 East Superior Street when he died of pneumonia while visiting Los Angeles. He was thirty-one.

For Fred and Louise Patrick, Hill designed one of Duluth’s few Picturesque Style homes, which combines natural and designed elements so that a structure feels closley connected to its surrounding landscape. Duluth architectural historian James Scott, who considered the Patrick building “Hill’s masterpiece,” described the house’s strongest features: “Two towering gables, one split like an inverted ‘W,’ cut across each other to form a two-story transept fixed on a native stone first-story foundation. The steep roofs [sweep] past broad gabled surfaces over which carpenters and plasterers spread out their half-timbering talents.” That half-timbering adds a Tudor Revival element to the house, while its rustic stone pillars and chimney further accentuate the Picturesque. The home’s western façade is particularly striking. Double-stacked bowed windows extend to the second floor; above it on the attic level rests a recessed balcony with a bowed kneewall supported by large corbels. Above the balcony sits a round, stained glass window. (The unfocused photo below shows details later hidden by foliage.)

Born in 1857, Frederick A. Patrick came to Duluth in 1891 from his hometown of Marengo, Illinois, working as the treasurer of Stone-Ordean-Wells grocery wholesalers until 1901, when he and J. E. Granger formed Patrick-Granger Drygoods. The firm became the F. A. Patrick Company in 1904 when it began manufacturing clothing. By 1924 the company owned several mills throughout Minnesota and nationally distributed a wide range of garments. Its most popular product was the Mackinaw jacket. Patrick had wed Louise Cook in 1881, and together they had three daughters. Louise Cook never got a chance to see her remarkable home, as she died in 1901. In 1906 Fred married New Yorker Katherine “Kate” Wholforth, an actress twenty-four years his junior who had realized some success on Broadway. Kate later served as the first president of the Duluth’s Women’s Club, and the group rented the Patrick home’s first floor as their meeting space from 1929 until they moved next door to the Hartman House at 2400 East Superior Street in 1936. Fred Patrick died in 1931 from injuries suffered in an automobile accident. Kate returned to New York in 1939.

The Patrick House ca. 1901, photographer unknown. [Image: Duluth Public Library]