March 9, 1872: Birth of Duluth architect I. Vernon Hill

On this day in 1872, future Duluth architect I. Vernon Hill was born in in Stanton under Board in Leicestershire, England. He migrated to the U.S. in 1888 and In 1892 moved from Detroit to Duluth to take the position of company bookkeeper and clerk for the Lakeside Land Co., developers of Lakeside and Lester Park. He soon began working as the company’s draftsman and in 1895 left to form architectural partnership with Wallace Welbanks and later worked with noted Duluth architect’s Gerhard Tenbusch and William T. Bray. Much of Hill’s work can still be seen in Duluth, including the 1900 Arthur P. Cook house at 501 West Skyline Parkway, also known as the “House of Rock” and once the most photographed home in the Zenith City. He also designed the 1889 Duluth & Iron Range Railroad’s Endion Station and the Crosby House at 2029 East Superior Street (shown below), which many consider his masterpiece example of his own “Ornamental Cube” style, which embellishes a square or rectangular box with flared dormers, gables, and classical detailing. Others contend that his own house, built in 1902 at 2220 East Superior Street, is the finest example of his work. But never saw the extent of Hill’s potential. He was just thirty-one years old when he died of pneumonia on February 25, 1904.

The Crosby House at 2019 E. Superior Street, considered the master work of Duluth architect I. Vernon Hill.