Superior’s Gilded Past: A look inside The Roosevelt Terrace townhomes

Superior’s Gilded Past: A look inside The Roosevelt Terrace Townhomes
Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 10:06 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2023 at 12:52 AM CST
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SUPERIOR, WI. (Northern News Now) - Historic buildings dot the landscapes of many cities across our region.

In Superior, a row of stately brick townhomes just off Tower Avenue has caught the curiosity of many.

Saturday the general public got their chance to tour Roosevelt Terrace for the first time in 20 years.

Sitting across the street from McDonald’s and Walgreens, Roosevelt Terrace may look like a snapshot of a bygone era.

That’s one reason many people are fascinated by it.

“When you’re at McDonald’s you always look at this building. It’s a jewel, but nobody knows anything about it,” said Joan Cordts, a Superior native.

The bank of 11 townhomes was constructed in 1890 and was financed and originally owned by James Roosevelt, father of FDR.

“I was raised in Superior and I’ve looked at this building all my life. I always wondered what the inside was like,” Cordts said.

Saturday Joan Cordts and more than 100 people got their chance to see inside.

The owners of several units opened them up to the public for a special tour.

Brian Finstad bought his in 2016 and has been fixing it up ever since.

“It was a distressed forecloser. The roof was leaking from the third floor all the way to the first. Every pipe and the whole place was burst,” said Finstad.

Long before they fell into disrepair, Roosevelt Terrace was home to many prominent people in Superior.

“Our house was the house of William D. Banks. Banks Avenue is named for him, and he was the founder of the First National Bank of Superior,” Finstad said.

Though he’s proud of his home, it was his niece Callie Augesen who’d spent summers living with him who led the effort to invite the public in.

It was part of her high school DECA project.

The tour sold out well before Saturday and raised more than $2200 as a fundraiser for the Douglas County Historical Society.

“It was just amazing to be able to see something that really came to fruition,” Augesen said.

Finstad is excited to bring his home into the future while honoring its past.

“The buildings of the city really embody the stories of that city,” Finstad said.

Three different townhomes opened up to the public.

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