Traphagen House aka The Redstone

The Traphagen House shown in an 1892 photo etching by lithographer F. B. Schuchardt. [Image: Duluth Public Library]

1511 East Superior Street | Architect: Oliver G. Traphagen | b. 1892 | Extant

Oliver G. Traphagen spent much of the late 1880s designing homes for the families of wealthy Duluthians, and by the time he married St. Paulite Amelia “Emily” Regelsberger in 1891, he had enough money to build them a home of their own. He chose a lot along the 1500 block of East Superior Street and drew up plans for a side-by-side Romanesque Revival duplex.

The Traphagen’s stunning four-story home features many of the same trademark elements he employed in other Duluth homes, including a large round tower with a finial-crowned conical cap, a two-story rounded bay with curved glass windows topped with a dormer supported by columns, and several Roman-arch window openings. But what draws most eyes to this house is its façade of rough-hewn red sandstone quarried at Iron River, Wisconsin, much of which is elaborately carved. When first constructed, each half of the house had its own privates entrances. The first floors were each outfitted with a parlor, sitting room, library, dining room, and kitchen, while family bedrooms were located on the second floor and servants’ quarters on the third.

In 1896 the Traphagens moved to Hawaii where Oliver was responsible for at least thirty-five buildings constructed in Honolulu and Hilo between 1898 and 1907. He relocated to San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and fire to take part in the city’s reconstruction, but designed only one building there before retiring. Traphagen died in Alameda, California, in 1932, six months after Emily passed away.

Chester and Clara Congdon purchased the home after the Traphagens left, and their family resided there until the construction of their estate, Glensheen, was completed in 1909. In 1919 Clara Congdon had the house subdivided into multiple housing units, after which it became known as the Redstone Apartments; today people refer to it simply as the Redstone.

Howard Klatsky lovingly renovated the house in the 1980s for use as the offices of his advertising agency, Klatsky & Associates. In August 2014 an arson fire severely damaged the house, and it sat empty until 2016 when it underwent an extensive interior remodeling project that turned the duplex into twelve loft-style apartments.

The Traphagen House, aka “The Redstone,” photographed by Dennis O’Hara in 2009. (Image: Northern Images)

To see modern exterior and interior photographs of this house and learn more about its architecture, visit Twin Ports Past’s post about the house HERE.