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Mark Nicklawske Posts

Interior designer expands into historic Lake Avenue building

Isola Design and Mavis Furniture principal and owner Jill Isola Johnson, holding her dog Pepper, stands with Assistant Designer Mireille Kidd, left, and intern Kyla Schulte in the new office furniture showroom.

An interior designer responsible for cutting-edge urban commercial properties like the Whole Foods Co-op and Canal Park Brewery is opening a new office furniture showroom in a historic Downtown Duluth building.

Old Zelda Theatre gets another makeover

MPPL Financial President Scott Wallschlaeger stands outside 309 W. Superior St., the old Zelda Theatre building.

The NorShor isn’t the only historic theater seeing a new life in downtown Duluth.

MPPL Financial purchased the former Zelda Theatre in December and plans to move its operations from a historic bank building in Proctor to 309 W. Superior St. this summer. Renovations are underway both inside the heavily altered building and outside on Superior Street, where the city of Duluth recently launched a major road reconstruction project.

The building had been home to Peterson Anderson Flowers since the 1980s.

According to the website cinematreasures.org, the Zelda Theatre was constructed in 1914. It was designed by architects Wangenstein and Guliuson for owner W.M. Abrahamson, who named the building after a daughter. A University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library photo shows the building once boasted a marble facade, a grand second story archway and 15-foot high pillars framing the entrance.

“Unfortunately, almost nothing is left of the original building,” said MPPL president Scott Wallschlaeger. “It’s really a shame because the front of the building was amazing.”

According to the Duluth history website zenithcity.com, the theater closed in 1927, becoming the Zelda Inn and later Boyce Drug Store.

First look inside the new Bent Paddle tap room

Bent Paddle principals, from left, Pepin Young, Bryon and Karen Tonnis and Colin and Laura Mullen gather around a table featuring a Boundary Waters Canoe Area map inside the new brewery tap room.

Bent Paddle Brewing will open its new tap room in the former Enger Olson Furniture store at 1832 W. Michigan St. on April 12.

Ursa Minor Brewing will stress variety, quality

The Ursa Minor Brewery team includes, from left, General Manager Andrew Scrignoli, Head Brewer Mark Hugus and Chief of Operations Ben Hugus. The brewery plans to hire 10 employees.

The newest brewery in Lincoln Park will feature a patio, a pizza oven and a plan to create adventurous, small-batch beer in a former cracker factory.

Ursa Minor Brewing announced this week it will open a five-barrel brewing operation, tap room and offices at 2415 W. Superior St. Brothers and co-founders Ben and Mark Hugus said they hope to begin serving thirsty customers by mid-summer.

Donut lovers have hope in Duluth’s Lakeside

Cases were loaded with pastry and shelves decorated with cookie jars at Johnson’s Lakeside Bakery in this 2015 photo.

Eastside donut and cookie lovers will lose a longtime sweet supplier this spring but a potential plan is in the works to install another bakery at the same address which has fed the neighborhood for more than six decades.

Historic downtown Superior building gets detailed restoration

The Empire Block opened in 1892 on Tower Avenue in the heart of downtown Superior. Newly restored apartments will be open for showing in February.

A meticulous, top-to-bottom restoration of a massive 19th Century building in downtown Superior will offer jaw-dropping views for new residents, historic charm for new businesses and a boost to city center redevelopment efforts.

Boutique hotel opening in Lincoln Park this spring

A small and stylish boutique hotel — the first of its kind in Duluth — is set to open this spring in the Lincoln Park craft district.

The husband and wife team of Andy Matson and Chelsy Whittington plan to open the three-suite hotel on the second floor of a historic building they recently purchased at 1923 W. Superior Street. The new accommodations will be called the Hotel Pikku, which means small or odd in Finnish.

Matson and Whittington said travelers who want to experience a trendy, centrally-located neighborhood away from typical Duluth tourist areas will stay at the Pikku Hotel. Clients or patrons of other Lincoln Park businesses are also potential lodgers. The cozy, completely renovated rooms with kitchenettes will rent for between $100 and $150 a night.

Bob Monahan launches Downtown Duluth hostel project

Red Herring Lounge owner Bob Monahan stands outside the former Garon Brothers jewelry store at 217 W. First St. Monahan plans to renovate the building and open a 46-bed hostel.

Visitors to Duluth can soon add a hostel to the growing number of lodging options available in the Twin Ports. Nightclub owner Bob Monahan and an undisclosed partner purchased the former Garon Brothers Jewelry store at 217 W. First St. and plan to open a 46-bed hostel in the space next spring.

North shore photographer finds permanent home downtown

Ryan Tischer, whose work can be compared to noted photographers Jim Brandenburg and Craig Blacklock, will open a gallery at 5 W. Superior St. next month.

A new art gallery showcasing the natural beauty of the region has found a permanent home just off the busiest corner in Downtown Duluth.

Photographer Ryan Tischer and his wife Aimee secured a lease at 5 W. Superior St. and will open a gallery and workshop in the space Nov. 16. Tischer works full time as a photographer based in Duluth’s Smithville neighborhood. In the past 10 years he has built a portfolio centered on iconic Lake Superior landscapes.

Historic home tour offers rare look into original Tweed Museum

Duluth Preservation Alliance boardmember Dennis Lamkin, left, and homeowner Leslie Broadway stand along a newly installed garden outside the Tweed House in Chester Park. The home is part of the Duluth Preservation Alliance Historic Properties Tour Sept. 17.

The largest art museum in Duluth started on the first floor of a Chester Park home but the glamorous history was hardly recognizable when Jared and Leslie Broadway purchased the property six years ago.

“It was just a room you passed through to get upstairs,” said Leslie, as she led visitors into the 103-year-old Tweed House at 2531 E. Seventh St. “Jared had his exercise equipment down here.”

Working with Duluth preservationist Dennis Lamkin and a stable of contractors, the couple transformed the dreary ground floor basement back into a place for treasured art and lively social gatherings. The public will get a rare look at the historic gallery during the 32nd annual Duluth Preservation Alliance Historic Properties Tour on Sunday, Sept. 17.

Huge antique collection unearthed before building sale

Scott Davis, left, and antique dealer Andrea Blesener stand outside the historic E.F. Burg Hotel Supply store at 20 W. First Street. Davis has placed the 1896 building up for sale and Blesener is selling the huge antique collection stored inside.

A local woman is scrambling to organize and price a horde of antiques, including a massive mid-20th-century electronics collection, stored in a former downtown Duluth trophy shop before owners sell the historic property.

Antique dealer Andrea Blesener will hold the second in a series of estate sales at the E.F. Burg Hotel Supply building, 20 W. First St., beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 4-6. The sale will include a variety of old and unusual items collected and stored by former building owner Hugh Morris, who saved everything from his two generations of ancestors.

Downtown Duluth lands big museum-style art gallery

Joe Nease will open a gallery space in the 101-year-old building at 23 W. First St. in October.

A fire-damaged former formal-wear store in a historic downtown building is being remodeled and will open this fall as one of the largest art gallery spaces in Duluth.

Joseph Nease purchased the former Arthur’s Formal Wear building at 23 W. First St. in December and has launched a major renovation of the two-story, nearly 10,000-square-foot property. A contemporary visual art gallery will open on street level in October.

Lost incline stairway pushed as historic trail

A group of history hikers follow the old incline railway stairs down Observation Hill.

A hidden stairway, once connected to a long-gone incline rail service between Downtown Duluth and its hilltop neighborhoods, is being celebrated by an organization that would like to see it designated a historic walking trail.

The Duluth Preservation Alliance led an Observation Hill history walk on May 31 over remnants of the 126-year-old incline stairs. More than 50 people attended the event and made the steep, downhill jaunt from Skyline Drive to Superior Street.

Accordion repair school plans return to Duluth

The world’s largest accordion museum and education center has started plans to restore and reopen a building that served as its home more than a decade ago in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

A World of Accordions Museum Director Helmi Harrington said earlier this week the organization will relocate an accordion repair school from current museum headquarters in Superior to its former site at 2801 W. First Street in Duluth. Harrington recently repurchased the historic church building and its adjacent parsonage out of St. Louis County foreclosure and started a tax payment plan for the property.

“Anyone who has visited our museum in Superior knows it’s crowded and our spacious building is no longer spacious,” said Harrington. “The idea for moving just the repair school to Duluth is not inexpensive, but it’s something we need to explore.”

A World of Accordions Museum is located in the Harrington Arts Center and features more than 1,300 instruments, an extensive recording library and art collection and thousands of accordion-related artifacts. Its nine-month accordion repair program accepts about 20 students annually from all over the world.

Developer plans tech village, jazz club in historic jewelry store

Bagley and Company, 315 W. Superior St., was operated by the same Duluth family for 131 years before closing last summer.

Bagley and Company, 315 W. Superior St., was operated by the same Duluth family for 131 years before closing last summer.

A long-time downtown jewelry store has been purchased by a Texas-based developer with Hermantown roots who plans to turn the building into office space for Internet professionals and create a food and music venue where diamond display cases once stood.

The Bagley & Company Jewelers building, 315 W. Superior Street, was purchased earlier this month by Titan Premier Investments of Houston, Texas. The property includes three historic retail buildings, approximately 19,000-square-feet of space, several skyway storefronts and a turn-of-the-century tea room hidden in the middle of it all.