Glensheen Mansion was constructed in 1905 by the Lake Superior in Duluth, It was the brainchild of then wealthiest man in Minnesota, Chester Adgate Congdon. Chester Adgate Congdon and his wife Clara has come to their fortune through mining and land investment. The mansion consist of 30 rooms and 15 fireplaces. The Congdon celebrated many family event in this property, in fact two of the daughters weddings was held here. The Congdon was a closeknit families and though they were rich beyond words, they never forget their roots. The servants were treated like families, and even the same food served for the families were also given to the household staffs. I have wonderful time while exploring their vast properties. Yet most intriguing about the mansion was the double murders that occur in the house itself.
It is sad to see how a dynasty ended in this mansion. Elisabeth Mannering Congdon was murdered in her bedroom on the second floor while her nurse was found murdered brutally on the staircase landing to the bedrooms floor. Elizabeth has never married however through the kindness of her heart, she adopted two daughters. One of the daughters , Marjorie Mannering Congdon has been considered the black sheep in the family, she has always been in financial difficulties through her excessive spending habit. She has married numerous times and it was her 2nd husband, Roger Caldwell that was convicted of the murder of Elisabeth in 1977. It was told that Marjorie has asked her husband to plead for more money from her mother and when Elisabeth who was partially paralysed refused, he decided to kill her, knowing through her death, he and his wife will inherited millions of dollars in the will. The nurse was murdered too so there wouldn't be any witness of that hideous crime. When the murder case was finally uncovered, both Roger and Marjorie was aprehended, however Roger admitted to the double murder and he was only sentenced to 5 years in prison, however, he commited suicide few years after his released. Marjorie has been acquitted of the murder charge, however she has since been charged with many crimes in span of 30 years after the murder.
The magnificent view at the lake
But when you look at Glensheen mansion now, it seems that the time stood still, you walked back to the past, when the Glensheen mansion was in it grandeur. How the congdon entertained their guests, conduct business and host many parties in their huge mansion. As I walked through and just marvel at the beautiful architecture inside, it gives you the wonderful feeling of being back in time, and imagine how the Congdon lived their lives in this beautiful mansion. We were not allow to take photos inside the mansion, as University wanted to preserve the original painting, concern that flashing of camera may ruin the painted work on the walls. However we are free to take as much photos of the mansion ground. There are two type of tours you can take, the extensive tour and normal tour. We took normal tour which lasted about less than an hour. They shows us a number of rooms, the girl bedrooms, master bed room, kitchen, dining room, billiard room, sun room, boiler room, laundry room and sitting room. We didn't get to see the boys room and the attic as that was only covered in the extensive tour but my next visit, it's a must see.
Here are just a fraction of photos we took at the mansion. It was a calming and peaceful place, it very difficult to envision that a murder ever took place here, yet it happened. If walls could talk, there's probably some interesting story to tell about Glensheen mansion.
More lake view
More lake view
|The gardener bungalow|
In Aug 2011, we went for another visit of the Glensheen, we were hoping to go for the extended tour. But we wanted to beat the traffic and get out of Duluth early so we skip the tour and opt for ground tour instead. We have the opportunity to take the tour of the Carriage house this time around. It was close last year so it is somewhat comforting that the place is fully restored now. The Carriage house was were the horses stable and cows shed were kept. There were also numerous carriage which was considered luxurious transportation before automobile was invented.
Summer time was also a great time to see how the Glensheen residence used to stock up the vegetable garden and how wonderful the garden look this time of the year.