The Hartley Office Building is remarkable for taking advantage of its narrow thirty-foot lot at the eastern edge of downtown Duluth near the shore of Lake Superior. Situated between Superior Street and the railroad tracks thirty feet below, the Hartley building appears to be only two-and-a-half stories on the city side while rising to four stories on the lake side. It is built out to the front lot line with a stair hall projecting about two feet over the sidewalk along Superior Street.
Designed by architect Bertram Goodhue for prominent Duluth businessman, Guilford G. Hartley, the office building was completed in 1914 in a Tudor Revival style at a cost of $60,000. In addition to its elaborate casement windows and end chimneys, one of the building’s notable exterior features is the graduated slate roof. The slates at the ridge line are approximately one-fourth-inch thick, six to eight inches wide, with five to seven inches to the weather. The size of the slate increases so that at the lower edge of the roof they are an inch-and-a-half thick and about twelve to fourteen inches exposed.
The most interesting interior features are several “walk-in” fireplaces that serve as focal points of major rooms. Although similar in style to Goodhue’s nearby Kitchi Gammi Club, with a steep gabled roof and groups of leaded glass windows, strict adherence to the English precedent of the Kitchi Gammi Club was set aside to solve a site problem. The building still houses the Hartley Trust offices although remaining spaces are leased to other businesses.
The Hartley Office Building has been carefully preserved and maintained since its construction in 1914. In 2009 the original slate roof was replaced using new slates from the same quarry that supplied the original ones.
Scott, James A. Duluth’s Legacy, Vol. 1: Architecture.Duluth: City of Duluth Department of Research and Planning, 1974.
Sommer, Lawrence J. “Landmark Structures of Duluth: Their History and Architecture.” Master’s thesis, University of Minnesota, 1971.
Wyllie, Romy. Bertram Goodhue: His Life and Residential Architecture.New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2007.