Hoopes House

The Hoopes House in 1900, photographer unknown. [Image: Duluth Public Library]

2206 Woodland Avenue | Architect: Traphagen & Fitzpatrick | Built: 1892 | Lost: 1938

Townsend Hoopes’s Hunter’s Park home was a classic example of late-Victorian Shingle style architecture, popularized in New England in the late nineteenth century in part as a response to the often extravagantly ornate Queen Anne style. The houses featured little ornamentation and were usually topped with highly sloped roofs, either pitched or gambrel, often with large dormer windows protruding through them. The name comes from the shingles that covered the walls and, sometimes, even porch posts. The Hoopes House included all these features, as well as a porte cochère, two story bay windows topped with balconies, and large open porch.

Hoopes, a native of Chester County, Pennsylvania, spent his early adulthood farming. He settled in Duluth in 1882, when he was twenty-five years old, initially establishing himself as a real estate developer. Working with Luther Mendenhall’s Duluth Street Railway, Hoopes helped plan and construct Duluth’s first streetcar line, a narrow-gauge road which in the 1880s ran from Twenty-First Avenue West to Sixth Avenue East along Superior Street; the streetcar was drawn by a single horse. Hoopes would later oversee the construction of the Fourth Street Line on behalf of the Motor Line Improvement Company, after which he and Mendenhall established a real estate and insurance company eventually named Hoopes-Kohagan Company, from which he retired in 1923.

In 1885 Hoopes married Mayme Harvey, who gave birth to their daughter Ramona while their house was under construction. Mayme died in 1910 after a long illness. Three years later Hoopes married Abbie Goodale Smith, who died unexpectedly in 1920 while the couple was in San Diego. By 1926 he had remarried again, this time to New York native Grace Howard. Townsend passed away in 1937, and the house was demolished the next year. Grace died ten years later.

Townsend W. Hoopes was not Duluth’s only Townsend Hoopes. Townsend W.’s nephew Henry Townsend Hoopes, who became a Great Lakes shipping magnate, named his son Townsend W. Hoopes II when he was born in 1922. In the 1960s Hoopes II served as under secretary of the U.S. Air Force and questioned the Johnson administration’s Vietnam policy. According to biographer David Ouse, Hoopes II helped convince Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford of the wisdom of military de-escalation, and Clifford moved President Johnson, who did not want to be the first president to lose a war, to announce on March 31, 1968, that the U.S. would drastically reduce bombing and propose peace talks. Johnson also announced that he would not seek re-election.