Palladio Building (1889)

The Palladio’s ornate entryway. (Image: University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections)

401 – 403 West Superior Street | Architect: Henry Raeder | Built: 1889 | Lost: 1937

The Bay View House hotel stood on the northwest corner of Superior Street and Fourth Avenue West from 1869 to 1888 when it was demolished to make room for the Palladio Building. Designed by Chicago architect Henry Raeder, the brick-and-stone Romanesque Revival office building stood eight stories tall. The first two stories were faced with sandstone and outfitted with decorative entrances on both Superior Street and Fourth Avenue West. Roman-arch windows and a patterned brick frieze beneath the cornice further adorned the building. The Superior Street entry was particularly impressive. Columns on either side of the entry featured carved-stone male figures whose torsos appear to sprout from the stone. The muscled-and-bearded men have their arms crossed above their heads, as if holding up the columns—and the entire building—themselves.

The Palladio was designed to compete with other large office blocks and Raeder promised each office would be larger and more impressive than those within the Duluth National Bank. In fact, Albert Ordean’s Merchants Bank signed on as the Palladio’s first anchor tenant, occupying most of the Superior Street level. The bank’s stay was short lived: within a year it merged with Duluth National Bank, forming Duluth’s First National Bank and moving into the very building the Palladio was built to supercede. Meanwhile, the building’s upper floors were filled by a variety of professional offices. Before the Palladio was razed in 1937, its tenants included lawyers, loan services, realtors, insurance companies, and investment brokers, as well as a barber shop operated by Gust Gagner, the Otis Elevator Company, the Duluth Cemetery Association, and Labor World newspaper.

The Palladio was replaced with the three-story WEBC Radio Building, headquarters of the oldest radio station in the region, which first broadcast in June of 1924. In 1968 the building was renovated and rededicated as the Palladio Building. That structure was demolished in 2015 to make room for the Maurice’s Building.


The Palladio in 1891, photo etching by lithographer F. B. Schuchardt.
[Image: Duluth Public Library]