Glensheen, the historic Congdon estate, is celebrating its 34th year! In appreciation, a Community Day on Friday, May 24, 2013 includes free standard house tours offered throughout the entire day. The ticket house opens at 9 a.m. and the first tour begins at 9:30 a.m. The last tour is scheduled for 4 p.m.; however, Glensheen’s tour manager recommends arriving early due to the limited number of tickets. Community Day also features kite flying demonstrations and kites for sale in the Glensheen museum shop, as well as book signing by author Joe Kimball who wrote Secrets of the Congdon Mansion. Visitors are welcome to enjoy appetizers in the winter garden showcasing Glensheen’s premier caterers, Savories and Black Woods.
For 71 years, the stately mansion on Duluth’s London Road prompted many to crane their necks, taking in Glensheen until the very last moment when the property slipped out of sight. When the 39-room mansion opened its doors as a museum in 1979, crowds of Duluthians and tourists stood in line for the first tour. This was the first time visitors were allowed inside the Congdon estate. Chester Congdon was the richest man in Minnesota when he died in 1916, after making a fortune in iron ore land speculation, copper mines, and orchards. Throughout the years, citizens have also been riveted by the murders of the mansion’s last resident, Congdon’s daughter Elisabeth and her nurse, Velma Pietila in 1977.
The dark past and family fortune might have created the curiosity that drew crowds of people to the ornate front door of 3300 London Road for the first tours in the late ‘70’s. But, when all is said and done, the majesty of the estate continues to draw people 34 years later. In fact, more than 2-million people have toured Glensheen.
The longevity of the estate’s appeal can be attributed to its authenticity. It’s one of few historic house museums in the country with the original collection intact. From the tiny details including the letters in a desk drawer, to the significant call system that works to this day, Glensheen is an incredible slice of turn-of-the-last century opulence.
More information about the Glensheen Community Day can be found on Glensheen’s website, glensheen.org or by calling (218) 726-8910.