Salter and Buckingham Terraces

Salter Terrace in 1957, photographer unknown. [Image: Zenith City Press]

301–307 E. Third Street | Architect: Oliver Traphagen | Built: 1887 | Extant

Ten years after graduating Yale seminary school in 1852 and serving as a Union chaplain during the Civil War, Reverend Doctor Charles Cotton Salter of New Haven, Connecticut, became the pastor of Minneapolis’s Plymouth Congregational Church. In late 1870 the founders of Duluth’s Pilgrim Congregational Church recruited the then thirty-nine-year-old Salter to the Zenith City. Salter, his wife Maria, and their growing family came to Duluth in January 1871. The pastor had been plagued by health issues since his time in the Civil War, and his service as the church’s minister ended in 1876, when poor health sent him abroad for a cure. Following a stint with a congregational church in Denver, Salter returned to Duluth and Pilgrim Congregational on May 1, 1881, and was “greeted with a perfect ovation.” He was not here long, resigning that November “under the imperative orders of his physician,” who sent him to Switzerland, Italy, and Florida. When he recovered and returned to Duluth once again, his work turned to running the Duluth Bethel Society, a mission Salter had helped organize in 1873 to minister to unemployed alcoholics. Salter famously refused to take a salary for his work with the Bethel. His parents had been wealthy—his father had developed nearly the entire town of Waverly, Illinois, in the 1830s—and he likely paid for his health-related trips with family money.

In 1887 he had enough money to hire Oliver Traphagen to design a building to house his family which by then consisted of Maria and their five children, the youngest of which was seventeen. Salter chose the northeast corner of Third Avenue West and Third Street in Ashtabula Heights for a townhouse that would be called Salter Terrace. The two-and-a-half-story Romanesque Revival building originally contained four townhouses. Sitting on a brownstone foundation and faced with brick with sandstone trim, the building was designed as two halves facing Superior Street. Each has a cylindrical turret and a central two-door Roman-arch entrance supported by a central polished granite column topped with a foliated capital, above which sits a Juliet balcony with an iron railing. Dormers protrude from the attic level on all four sides, and windows on the second floor are all framed by Roman arches.

When first built, three of the townhouses were occupied by the Salter family. Traphagen moved his family into the fourth, and the architect and his growing family stayed there until they moved into their own home in 1892. Salter and Maria moved out of the building the same year, relocating in Duluth’s Glen Avon neighborhood. Salter’s health issues finally caught up with him on December 19, 1897. His funeral was then the largest Duluth had ever seen. Despite his long ties to Pilgrim Congregational, services were held at the much larger First Methodist Church to accommodate all those paying their respects. Once the church was filled, the line of mourners who did not get in stretched for two blocks. In a highly symbolic gesture, saloon keepers throughout the city closed their businesses during the funeral. In 1909 Duluth dedicated an elementary school in his honor, the C. C. Salter school at 1600 London Road.

By 1930 Salter Terrace had been subdivided into the Archdale Apartments. Today the building is called Eustone Apartments and contains twenty-eight studio and one-bedroom apartments. Traphagen designed another townhouse in 1887 at 18–30 West Third Street. Financed by Luther Mendenhall, the building was called called Buckingham Terrace and it still stands today, looking much as it did when first built.

18–30 W. Third Street | Architect: Oliver Traphagen | Built: 1887 | Extant