If these houses could talk

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The Duluth Preservation Alliance (DPA), which advocates for the preservation of Duluth's historic architecture, is hosting its 36th Annual Historic House Tour on Sunday, Sept. 18, featuring six homes designed around the turn of the last century by nationally known architects. The tour, which is self-directed and set at your own pace, is a highlight of DPA's events and always filled with information about the homes, their architecture and their history. The tour will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at duluthpreservation.org or at Fitger's starting at 10 a.m. on the day of the tour.

The houses on this year's tour include:

Edward and Lucretia Bradley House

This magnificent Colonial Revival home was built by timber and mining executive Edward Bradley and his wife, Lucretia, in 1904. The home was designed by William T. Bray, a former draftsman for Oliver Traphagen. Bray was also responsible for a number of other significant homes in the area and many commercial buildings both in Duluth and on the Iron Range. Outstanding features of the Bradley home, now owned by David Latourneau, include a large and gracious foyer and a huge living room with woodworking. This home somewhat resembles the Olcott House kitty corner from it and the Cotton Mansion, which were all under construction at the same time.

John and Elizabeth Watterworth House

Built in 1903, architects German and Lignell decorated the Watterworth's American Four Square home with hipped dormers sporting flared eaves, modillions and pilasters setting off its three attic windows. John Watterworth — a contractor and partner in the firm of Watterworth & Fee — used his own firm to build the house. Three years later he moved his family into an almost identical home his company built. It cost him $1,000 more than the first. The current owners, Wayne H. Jarvis and Debra Waites, enjoy the rich history of their home and other homes recognized by the DPA.

Henry and Mary Salyards House

This gorgeous prairie style home with craftsman details was originally built for one of Duluth's pioneer families, Henry and Mary Salyards. The Salyards built this home with the assistance of architects Bray and Nystrom. Salyards was the President of the Duluth Board of Trade, a director of First National Bank and President of Salyards Grain Company. The census for 1910 lists two live-in staff members at this address. This home is in excellent condition and nearly fully intact from original construction.

Rollo and Mildred Chaffee House

This Arts and Crafts style house, built by Richard Hanson in 1913 with designs from architect Abraham Holstead, remains an example of eclecticism in architecture at the beginning of the 20th century. The entry, which features a small foyer leading to a grand vista overlooking Lake Superior, takes a note from designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. Original owners Rollo and Mildred Chaffee lived in the house for more than 50 years. Rollo was a local attorney from New York instrumental in the preservation of land now part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Superior National Forest. His wife, Mildred, served as director of the Duluth Girl Scouts Council and the Fannie Bailey Olcott Girl Scout Camp in Half Moon Lake, Minn. The owners today, Chad Conrad and Amy DeLong, maintain the home.

Herbert and Nellie Moore House

Built in 1911 as a surprise wedding gift, the house was constructed by hourly wage labor. Solid woodwork, sturdy floors and ceiling beams, plus a large fireplace are featured in this warm, modest home. This two-story Craftsman designed by architect P.M. Olsen has decorative half-timbering, eave brackets, porch columns resting on square brick piers, and a full-width porch. According to the Historic Resources Survey conducted as part of the East End Residential Area-Phase III discovery completed by the city of Duluth, it "embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, and it represents the work of a master architect in Duluth."

North Shore Cabin

This log cabin was built in 1935 by Edward C. Snyder, a locomotive engineer for the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Railroad, and his wife, Mary. It is a kit home, one of dozens of ready-to-assemble models offered by the Page and Hill Co. of Minneapolis. This specific cabin is pictured in the company's 1930s catalogs, presented as the "North Shore" model. Page and Hill cabins were designed by Minnesota architect Chilson D. Aldrich, who had written a popular book, The Real Log Cabin, in 1928. The book was reprinted many times, including a 1994 version with commentary by Harry Drabik, who still owns Aldrich's original North Shore cabin. The current owners have kept the original portions of the cabin virtually intact. The kitchen cabinetry is original, as are all the windows. Originally built with one bedroom and one bathroom, the current owners have added a sunroom and a rear addition with two bedrooms and bathrooms on two levels.