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The Lenox Hotel - Remembering One of Duluth's Lost Hotels

By Andrew Krueger, Duluth News Tribune, Minn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

September 01, 2010 --News Tribune Attic

Odd, obscure, historic, humorous, random and/or relevant items from the archives of the Duluth News Tribune

The Lenox Hotel (also known as the Hotel Lenox -- the building's signs refer to it both ways), stood in downtown Duluth on the corner of Superior Street and Sixth Avenue West, where the Incline Station bowling alley is today. The photo above is dated December 1957, although it doesn't look like winter; apparently the hotel was getting a delivery of Coca-Cola at that moment.

The hotel was built in 1904 by the Ribenack brothers -- Henry, Albert and Edward. Edward Ribenack went on to have a long career in the Minnesota Legislature, representing Duluth first in the House and then for many years in the Senate.

According to the text of a Senate memorial service held for Ribenack after he died in 1957, just before his 88th birthday, the Ribenack brothers owned and operated the Lenox until 1947.

Here's an excerpt about the Lenox Hotel from the 1910 "History of Duluth and St. Louis County":

The Lenox Hotel, while a comparatively new house, having been built in 1905, has already taken a leading rank among the city's hotels. It was built by the Ribenack brothers, Henry C, Edward R. and Albert O., who are associated in its management. The Ribenacks are no tyros in hotel management, their father having for many years been a hotel proprietor in Wisconsin.

When the brothers first came to Duluth they entered the restaurant business, but finding this field too restricted for their activities they decided to enter the hotel business. When the hotel was first built it was but four stories high, but in a little more than a year after it was opened they found themselves cramped for room and were compelled to add two additional stories. At the same time they enlarged the dining room and lobby, and added many other improvements. There is telephone connection between every room and the office.

The hotel contains 230 rooms, and ever since it was completed its popularity has been unquestioned. It has been filled to its capacity winter and summer, and during the rush season it has been necessary to turn guests away almost every day in the week. The hotel is run on the American and European plans, and about half the rooms are furnished with private baths, while there are public bath rooms and lavatories on every floor. The hotel and furnishings represent an investment of about $250,000. Its location on Superior street, directly opposite the "Soo" railroad depot, makes it most convenient for the traveling public, and the excellence of its table appeals to the most fastidious appetite.

As noted in the excerpt, the hotel was located across the street from the Soo Line railroad depot, and you can see a corner of the depot in this photo, which was taken earlier than the one above:

The Lenox was located in the heart of Duluth's "Bowery" district -- and you can see the hotel in the distance in the photo with this earlier post on the Bowery.

Obviously, the Lenox was torn down at some point in the 1950s, 1960s or early 1970s. The present-day Lenox Place apartment complex, located a bit west of where the hotel was located, carries on the Lenox name.

Now, I'll rely on you to fill in the gaps about just when the Lenox Hotel was torn down. Share any information and stories you have by going to the News Tribune Attic and posting a comment.


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