Thomas Feigh Hospital

A sketch of the Thomas Feigh Hospital ca. 1915, likely drawn by one of its architects. [Image: Zenith City Press]

504 N. 15th Ave. E. | Architects: Palmer & Hunt | Built: 1904 | Extant

In 1913 newspapers announced that mining magnate Thomas Feigh had donated funds to build a hospital to “alleviate the sufferings and mitigate the burdens of crippled and tubercular children.” Feigh, an Irish immigrant born in 1826 with a club foot, was a lifelong bachelor who made a fortune investing in the Cuyuna Iron Range. While the facility would be run by Bishop McGolrick and the Sisters of St. Benedict, Feigh insisted it “receive for treatment children of any nationality or creed.” For the building site, McGolrick donated the original Calvary Cemetery, established in 1881 on eleven acres between Eighth and Ninth Avenues East along Plum Street. Bodies buried there had been moved to Calvary Cemetery, adjacent to Rice Lake Township, in 1892.

Designed by William Bray and Carl Nystrom, the three-story English Revival building, faced in light gray brick and trimmed in limestone, sits on a raised foundation of native stone. An elaborate two-sided staircase leads to a first-floor entrance portico supported by six Doric columns. Above the portico sat a balcony, and two verandas were built off the building’s western end, in the crux between its west wing and the main building; all were surrounded by judicial balustrades. While the architect’s sketch pictured below shows rectangular windows, the windows that were ultimately installed have segmental arches. Its most elaborate adornments are Celtic crosses—no doubt honoring Feigh’s and McGolrick’s Irish heritage—placed at the peaks of each gable and the corners of the roof along the front façade.

Unfortunately Feigh’s donation didn’t establish an endowment, and while construction was complete in 1916, its opening was delayed because there was no money to furnish or operate it. By the time the facility opened in 1918, its mission had changed to serve all children under twelve years old—and McGolrick had died. While the bishop’s death rallied fundraising efforts for the facility’s operation—enough to purchase forty-two beds and eighteen cribs—in December 1919 the diocese announced it had abandoned the hospital because it was “impractical of maintenance in the winter.”

In early 1920 Bishop John McNicholas, McGolrick’s replacement, offered the building for a city hospital during the third wave of the Spanish flu epidemic. He then invited an order of Dominican Tertiaries—a congregation of Catholic women who offered social services—based in Leicester, England, to come to Duluth and establish an order at the Feigh Hospital. The building reopened later that year as a home for “wayward girls” called the Corpus Christ House. Over the years city directories have listed it as Corpus Christi Carmel Convent, the Mary Magdelene School for Girls, and the Carmel Heights Girls Home. It closed in 1970.

The building served as the Montessori School of Duluth (also called Lakeview Montessori) from 1973 to 1980 and from 1981 to 1994 as Lakeview Christian Academy, operated by Twin Ports Bible Fellowship. Since 1994, the 1916 building has been the home of Summit School, an independent nonprofit daycare and elementary school. The building has seen several additions since it was first built, and its baclony and verandas have been removed or enclosed.