Duluth's Kitchi Gammi Club
DULUTH - As you drive down on Superior Street, it might be worth your time to stop and take a look at this century-old building known as the Kitchi Gammi Club.
“The club itself is 130 years old," Historian Tony Dierckins said. "This is its third home and it was built in 1912 with the building committee, Guilford Hartley who we all know contributed greatly to this city."
Designed by Burtram Goodhue, the clubs building used a certain kind of architecture to make it stand out from the rest.
“He was an expert in what they call Jacobean Architecture which was the architecture popular in about the 17th century during the reign of King James in England so it has English influences," Dierckins said.
It is the windows, the arch doorways and the steeply pitched roof that resemble this type of century old architecture.
But the name “Kitchi Gammi” comes from something even earlier in time.
“The group’s name comes from the song of Hiawatha," Dierckins said. "Published in 1855 by the shores of the Big Lake Gitchi Gummi, well they made it a little more correct with the Ojibwe and made it "Kitchi Gammi."
Cameras typically are not allowed inside the club but those who have been inside describe it as unique and incredibly detailed.
“Like Glensheen as well, the interior was more arts and crafts," Dierckins said.
"If you go inside you will see all sorts of built in cabinetry and other fantastic tiled work on the fireplaces and just marvelous influences”.
Back in the early 1870’s, Duluth fell into a period of depression and it was not until the early 1880’s when the grain trade pulled the city out of that.
“A lot of pioneers that stuck around developed a fortune and they decided in 1883 to form this club where the men could both socialize and conduct business," Dierckins said.
The building cost $270,000 when it was completed in 1910, which would be about $6.5 million today.
“Today in 2013 the club is more social," Dierckins said. "Beginning in 1986 women were allowed to join as members”.
People now can host a wedding at the Kitchi Gammi Club, social groups can meet and other forms of gatherings are also able to use the building.
“So it serves the community to this day. Not just as a social club for the elite but a place to get things done." Dierckins said.
You can read more about the history of the building on zenithcity.com or by visit our "links" tab.