May 26, 1932: Grand opening of Duluth’s Medical Arts Building

On this day in Duluth in 1932, the brand new Medical Arts Building held its grand opening. The building at 324 West Superior Street, designed by Ernest R. Ericson, is considered the Zenith City’s Art Deco masterpiece—indeed it is one of only a few Art Deco buildings ever constructed in Duluth, and by far the largest. By the time of its grand opening the building was 90 percent occupied. Fifty-three physicians moved into the building, including prominent Duluth doctors William Bagley and his daughter Elisabeth, who donated the land that is now Bagley Nature Center on the UMD campus. Thirty-three dentists also took up occupancy at the Medical Arts. Businesses located off that opulent first-floor lobby included Homer Collins & Co. Investments, C. G. Firoved’s barber shop, the La Mode hosiery shop, the Medical Arts Pharmacy, and the Medical Arts Rental Library, through which the building’s tenants could share their bibliographic resources. The anchor tenant was Miller’s Café, Duluth’s oldest restaurant. Click here to learn much more about this historic Duluth landmark.

The Medical Arts Building c. 1950. (Image: University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections)