Glensheen Mansion

Glensheen Mansion
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A visit to Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN was on my bucket list of summer activities, so I recently combined business with pleasure and took advantage of a one and a half hour tour of this fabulous, historic estate on the shores of Lake Superior.

The mansion was built in 1905 by Chester and Clara Congdon.  Chester and Clara had seven children all of whom married except for their daughter Elizabeth, who inherited the estate. Her home would become the property of the University of Minnesota at the time of her death. Elizabeth never married, but when she was in her mid-thirties she adopted two daughters, Marjorie Congdon Caldwell Hagen and Jennifer Johnson. Elizabeth Congdon was found murdered on June 27, 1977 along with her night nurse, Velma Pietila. Here’s a link to more information on Elizabeth Congdon’s murder. Marjorie Congdon Caldwell was tried and acquitted of the murders but her ex-husband Roger Caldwell, confessed to the murders and served five years until committing suicide. Marjorie was thought to be involved but no one could ever prove it.

The last time I visited Glensheen was 1981 and we weren’t allowed on the second floor where the murders occurred so it was nice to see the entire home on this visit. Of course the group I was touring with had all kinds of questions about the murders but the guides are prohibited from discussing it. Several of us were somewhat versed on the subject so between our own recall and that we could find on Wikipedia, our group created our own who-dun-it theory along the tour.

In addition to the 39 room mansion, there’s seven acres of formal gardens to explore, a tennis court, bowling green, the carriage house and stable. For someone like myself, interested in architecture and design, this home demonstrates impeccable design with attention to detail. From imported tile and mantels to wallpaper and draperies carrying a particular pattern throughout a room.

[shareprints gallery_id=”2694″ gallery_type=”slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_70″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]My favorite room was the breakfast room with green tile on the floor and walls, along with a beautiful view of Lake Superior. I really liked the bathrooms; the style of the sinks and the subway tile walls.

[shareprints gallery_id=”2723″ gallery_type=”slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_70″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]Once the indoor tour was complete we were able to stroll throughout the grounds. You could get a real feel of what the parties were like on the outdoor terrace facing the lake and imagine what their 55 foot boat looked like tied up near the boathouse. The fragrance of the beautiful floral gardens surrounding the home was delightful to breathe in.

[shareprints gallery_id=”2722″ gallery_type=”slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_70″ image_size=”medium” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]By the time the tour was over, I of course had made new friends. An older gentleman who lives in my hometown and a guy with his girlfriend that live about two miles away from where I currently live. It’s a small world, isn’t it.

From Glensheen Mansion, I was off to dinner at Va Bene Caffe with clients where I had the best Italian food I’d ever eaten while enjoying a spectacular view of the lake. Definitely one of the best restaurants in Duluth.

No visit to Duluth is complete without a quick stop at Northern Waters Smokehaus and since my hotel room had a refrigerator, I took home a couple of my favorites…smoked lake trout and smoked white fish. I see a smoked lake trout, goat cheese and chive omelet in my weekend breakfast repertoire.

[shareprints gallery_id=”2697″ gallery_type=”masonry” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_90″ image_size=”large” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]There’s so much to see and do along Minnesota’s north shoreline, whether it be a weeks stay or a day trip, be sure to include Glensheen Mansion and the Duluth waterfront on your list of sights to see.

What travel destinations do you have on your bucket list for this summer?

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4 thoughts on “Glensheen Mansion”

  • Thank you, Laurie. Funny, I do that dinner-lunch thing at the same place quite frequently myself, when you find a good place you have to go back for more!

  • I love VaBene – discovered it on my last trip to Duluth. Had dinner there and ended up going back the next day for lunch! By the way, I really enjoy your blog!

  • I thought of you while I was there knowing how fascinating you find the paranormal stuff. There have been ghost sightings and areas that feel unusually cold. While I didn’t see or feel anything there certainly are areas that feel eery.

  • Wow…this tour is right up my alley, but I just wish they would be able to discuss the murder. I assume that discussion would distract from everything else though (plus legal stuff). Looks beautiful Lynn!

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