Weber Building (aka “Schobes Bakery”)

J. C. Schober’s Bon Ton Bakery photographed some time between 1902 and 1922. [Image: UMD Martin Library]

740 E. Superior St. | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1914 | Extant

Research has yet to uncover exactly who commissioned this building’s construction, but it was very likely its original tenant—L. B. Weber & Co., dealers in crockery and glassware—which first opened its doors on October 26, 1894. Designed by Wangenstein & Baillie, the two-story Romanesque Revival building is faced in orange brick and limestone and crowned with a triangular pediment carrying a cartouche topped with a Roman-arch arcade and framed by urn-shaped balustrades. A pair of windows in the central pier are adorned with keystone-topped lunettes carved in a shell motif. The first floor held the retail space and the second was originally used as living quarters. In 1895 Weber closed his store to accept the position of president of Costello Hardware. Steve Hart’s Saratoga Restaurant, offering “Deep Sea Specialties,” moved in next. By 1897 the building was home to J. C. Schober & Co. Confectionery, operated by Louis Schober, his wife Florence, and his brother Charles. The firm briefly called itself Schober Brothers until 1902, when they changed its name to the Bon Ton Bakery and Kandy Kitchen. (The Duluth Commercial Historic District lists the building as the “Schobes [sic] Bakery.”) The bakery operated until 1922, after which a Kinney’s Shoe Store took over the Superior Street level and a photographer and dentist moved in upstairs. In 1941 Oreck’s Department store purchased the building for use as its fur department. The building became home to the Global Village retail store in 1978. The business relocated in 2016, and in 2021 the building was for sale.