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Duluth Mystery Photo #20: Who was F. W. Miller?

F. W. Miller Residence on Park Point

He had a house on Park Point. That’s all we know.

14 Comments

hbh1

about 5 years ago

Just as a starter:

Frank W. Miller, house located at 3330 Minnesota Avenue. He owned a "buffet" called F.W. Miller and Co. which stocked Ron Fernandez Cigars.

Circa 1910, he owned the Kaiserhoff Saloon, located at 1 East Superior. 

He and his wife had a lodge at Bowstring Lake, MN they called "The Elmhurst." 

They were friends with a guy named Freddie Coleman, of Detroit, MI, who played clarinet for the Gollmar Brothers circus band.  (circa 1912) 

He may have been president of the Ashland Brewing Company.

Paul Lundgren

about 5 years ago

3330 Minnesota Avenue
That address appears to be a match, according to Google Maps!

hbh1

about 5 years ago

He and his wife were fairly adventurous as a couple. In August 1910 they went on a ten-day canoe trip in "upper St. Louis County" -- probably what is now the BWCA? And in May 1912, he and his wife went on a month-long fishing trip.

In October 1909, they had a party at their lodge at Bowstring Lake, and their houseboat (or party boat, sounds more like) capsized in a storm, and scared the crap out of a bunch of their guests, who had a cold trip back home to Duluth, and probably spoke of the Miller crazy weekend for many whiskies to come. 

The Millers moved to Park Point circa 1910, and lived at 209 S. 17th Avenue East before that. 

Frank's dad and mum came to visit them from New Richmond, Wis., in November 1910, probably to see the new digs. 

In May 1910 there was some dispute between him and some aldermen, and they delayed granting him his saloon license.

markryan

about 5 years ago

I have no evidence of this but maybe Miller Trunk Highway was named after him, and therefore the Miller Hill Mall. Maybe not.

Tom

about 5 years ago

I assumed Miller Trunk Highway was  named for Miller Creek. I was wrong. The creek is named for Robert P. Miller. The road is named for Charles Goodell Miller. A detailed, confusing history from Zenith City is here.

hbh1

about 5 years ago

A little more: He was born in 1870 in Wisconsin, the son of a Canadian sawmill worker named Phillip. His mum was Irish, and named—perhaps of course—Maggie. 

He and his so-far-unnamed wife never had any children.

hbh1

about 5 years ago

And here's one tragic little news item, which leads me to think the Kaiserhoff was not a very fun place, at least for a cat: 

Duluth News-Tribune. Dateline August 10, 1910:

"Smutt," Kaiserhoff Cat, While Despondent, Commits Suicide": "Smutt," the Kaiserhoff cat, committed suicide yesterday and there was sorrow in the minds of all frequenters of the place last night and many a silent cup was passed to the memory of "Smutt." In the front part of the establishment there is a stairway which leads to the basement. Smutt played about the store all the afternoon and then, of a sudden, stopped and in a minute ran to the top of the stairs. She then gave a weak "Meow," looked about the place and jumped. She struck halfway down and was found dead at the bottom of the flight with a broken neck.

Kodiak

about 5 years ago

Those tall pines in the historical photo are just beautiful.  Can anyone identify the variety or sub-genus?

pats

about 5 years ago

I believe the restaurant in the Medical Arts Building; now How Sweet It Is cakes, was called Millers Cafeteria until it became the Captain's Table probably around the late 1940s.  Could that have been Mr. Miller's business too?

Tony D.

about 5 years ago

Pats, I have it in Lost Duluth that Miller Cafeteria in the Med. Arts building was run by the family of A. W. Miller, who first opened a cafe in Duluth in 1883. It indeed became the Captain's Table in 1959; that closed in 1972. That's not to say A. W. and F. W. weren't related, or that perhaps  even one source or another (or even the postcard) may have a wrong first initial and we are indeed talking about the same guy.

BadCat!

about 5 years ago

Torrey Building 1894
Here's a photo of Miller's Cafeteria ("for ladies and gentlemen") in the basement of the Torrey building.

hbh1

about 5 years ago

There are so many Millers! Three pages of them!  In 1913, for instance, there are around ten Frank Millers in the directory. There is also another Frank W. Miller, who is not Frank W. Miller who lives on Park Point. 

So, I would say that based a half-hour's glance through the city directories, the Millers of the Miller Cafeteria are definitively different people: In 1913, I find Frank A. Miller, living in Woodland and acting as manager of the Miller Cafeteria in the Torrey building. The owner is listed as A.S. Miller. (In later editions, it says A.W. Miller). There are at least a few other male Millers who appear to work at the Miller Cafeteria (which is associated with the Miller Hotel). So, probably/possibly related to one another. 

Meanwhile, Frank W.  is still living on Park Point, but it doesn't say anything about his business in 1913. The Kaiserhoff Saloon isn't listed. By 1914, the Millers are gone from Park Point, and they appear to have left Duluth. If I were to continue to look for them and were motivated, I'd try to trace them through their lodge in Bowstring Lake (though if they had financial trouble, they probably sold that too) or through their other relatives in Wisconsin. (Frank had parents and other siblings in various places in Wisconsin.)

hbh1

about 5 years ago

Here's the listing, for the Miller Hotel and Cafeteria in 1915: 

Miller Hotel: proprietors European Hotel and Cafeteria 224 West Superior

Miller Hotel Co. J W Miller pres and treas; R H Rathbun vice pres; W. A. Miller St. Paul Minn secretary; proprietors Millers Hotel and Cafeteria 714 Torrey Building.

hbh1

about 5 years ago

Whether or not the Miller Cafeteria (and Miller Hotel)  in the Torrey Building circa 1915 is an earlier incarnation of the Miller Cafeteria in the Medical Arts building is an open question. (Probably?)

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