Northland Uncovered: Turning the Traphagen House into a Home

Northland Uncovered: A Duluth home passed through the hands of architect Oliver G. Traphagen and the Congdon's will now be rented out as modern apartments

DULUTH, Minn.- Turning the old into the new, that’s what one property owner wanted to do with a well known home in the Northland.

“If you can’t preserve and protect, reconstruct with the heritage in mind,” contractor Austin Aili said.

Oliver G. Traphagen left a legacy as an architect with hands on several buildings in Duluth, including Fire Station No. 1 and the Fitger’s boiler house.

“This was his residence that he lived in,” Aili said.

In 1892 he built a Victorian duplex on Superior Street that later became the family home of mining millionaire Chester Congdon.

“At that point the Congden family lived in here while they were building the Glensheen,” Aili said.

After the Congdon’s left, it passed through different owners, including businessman Howard Klatzy who took ownership in 1986. Under Klatzy there was an arson in the home.

“The interior structure was completely burned. The exterior was pretty well preserved,” Heirloom Properties owner Michael Scraepfer said.

That’s when the redstone building fell into the hands of its current owners who had a plan to make the Traphagen House a home again.

“”Wherever we could we took re purposed materials from the structure and used them elsewhere as finishes,” Aili said.

They tried to maintain the historic building as much as possible, but it was difficult since the brick was one of the only things salvaged from the fire.

After years of work, the Traphagen House, now on the Registry of Historic Places, was turned into the Redstone Lofts-11 one and two bedroom units across four stories, awaiting new residents to come in march of 2019.

“I’d like to think that Mr. Traphagen would like people to use his buildings,” Aili said.

For more information on the Redstone Lofts, click here.

Categories: News, News – Latest News, Northland Uncovered