Moose Hall/Frerker Block

The Frerker Block ca. 1925. [Image: UMD Martin Library]

418–420 West Superior Street | Architect: Unknown | Built: 1903 | Lost: 1963

Thomas and Frank Frerker were operating their wholesale liquor business at 19 West Superior Street in 1901 when the brothers decided to expand their business and construct a new building to house it. After leasing lots along the lower 400 block of West Superior Street immediately east of the Spalding Hotel, they built a five-story brick-and-brownstone office block with Neoclassical details, including windows topped with both Roman arches and pedimental hoods along the fifth floor, heavy quoins and keystones, and corbels supporting an ornate cornice.

The Frerkers ran their wholesale business from the Michigan Street level and opened their California Wine Shop in one of the building’s two Superior Street storefronts while the other was leased as a café. The second and third floors each contained five apartments and the Duluth Commercial Club, a reorganization of the Chamber of Commerce, rented its two top floors and stayed until 1909. The Frerker brothers were forced to close their liquor businesses when Duluth went dry in 1917. In 1928 Duluth’s Loyal Order of Moose No. 55 moved into the top two floors, and thereafter the building was known as Moose Hall. The Moose Lodge was a popular group, boasting over five hundred members six months after it first organized in 1911.

A February 1941 fire destroyed much of the building. Despite heavy damage, including the collapse of the roof and thrid floor, the building was reconstructed. It was demolished in 1963 as part of the Gateway Urban Renewal Program.