This photo came from a folder in the News Tribune archives marked “urban renewal” — the photo is labeled “Haunted House.”
The caption reads: The old Hochs home at 230 South 29th Avenue West
There’s no date on the photo — which makes it nearly impossible to find the story it accompanied (the search continues). But here’s what we do know about the photo…
The site where this home stood, at the corner of 29th Avenue West and Helm Street, is now part of the grounds of Duluth main post office, which opened in 1970. That dates the demolition of this house to sometime in the mid- to late 1960s (it probably survived an initial round of demolition in the area, in the early 1960s ahead of the construction of Interstate 35. That round of house-razing largely cleared the neighborhood known as Slab Town).
Here’s what that corner looks like today (Interstate 35 is to the right):
The area bounded by Michigan Street, 26th and 29th avenues West, and Helm Street / Interstate 35 was once home to dozens of homes. Clyde Iron Works and the Duluth Brewing & Malting Co. formed the southwest boundary of the neighborhood.
Today, all those homes are gone, replaced with commercial, industrial and government buildings. An entire street disappeared, too — Huron Street, which once ran in between and parallel to Michigan and Helm Streets.
Here’s an aerial view of the neighborhood from the Minnesota DNR, taken in 1948:
Clyde Iron Works and the Duluth Brewing & Malting Co. are at lower left; the bridge crossing the rail line at right is 27th Avenue West.
Back to the “haunted house” — it clearly had been vacant a long time when the photo was taken. It was listed as vacant in a city directory from 1954.
Here’s a zoomed-in view of that 1948 aerial photo — with a mark identifying what I believe to be the house:
So who were the Hochs? Zenith City Press reports that the Duluth Brewing & Malting Co. — just across the street — was founded by Reiner Hoch in 1895.
The house — even in its derelict state — certainly was grand by the otherwise-modest standards of that neighborhood. Given that, and given its location — it would make sense that it was the home of the owner of the brewery.
If you have any memories or information about the house or the long-vanished neighborhood, please post a comment.