4218 London Road | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1888 Extant
David A. Reed was born in Greveland, New York, in 1859, and by 1881 was working as an engineer for the Genesee Valley Canal Railroad before taking a job as supervisor of construction for the Leicester Salt & Mining company of Livingston, New York. There he met Effie Wheelock and fell in love; the pair married in 1883, and they stayed in Leicester until David moved to Duluth in 1887 after accepting a job as the the city’s assistant engineer of streets. By then he and Effie were parents to two daughters, Anna and Mary Louise.
A year after arriving in the Zenith City, the Reeds decided to build themselves a rather modest Victorian home along the lake side of London Road between Forty-Second and Forty-Third Avenues East. Its unknown architect adorned the house with stained-glass windows, including one in the transom over a large window facing London Road, as well as patterned brick chimneys, and iron cresting along the roofline. Ornamental “fish-scale” shingles decorate the front gable and separate the first and second floors.
Two years after the house was complete, the Reeds welcomed a third daughter, Jessie. David served as Duluth’s city engineer from 1892 to 1895, when he entered private practice as a civil engineer and served as president of the city’s Board of Public Works until 1900. He then spent eight years as chief engineer of the Great Northern Power Company, overseeing construction of the Thomson Dam. Reed then went to work for the Soo Line Railroad, engineering the tunnel that brought the railroad from Rice’s Point to downtown Duluth under Point of Rock. He went on to manage the city’s Power and Light Department before becoming manager and director of the Northern Minnesota Power Company. Reed was seventy when he died in 1929. Effie stayed in the house until her own death in 1956 at age ninety-two.
The house still graces Duluth today. While it retains much of its Victorian charm, the house has undergone changes over the years, including a bedroom addition. At some point the front porch was dramatically enlarged and its original turned posts and other decorative stick work was replaced by heavy Ionic columns, making the house today a hybrid of Victorian and Neoclassical designs.