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 Glensheen Celebrates 100 Years

Special Tours Highlight Hidden Secrets

In 1968, the mansion was willed by the Chester and Clara Congdon estate to UMD. Since then, over two million people have toured Glensheen.

... why was Glensheen built with steel beams and concrete floors? (more like a commercial building than a home)

...what was the day-to-day life of an upstairs maid like. Why was the butler in charge of vacuuming at Glensheen?

...why don't the bathtubs on the estate have faucets and why do the toilets in the house use warm water to flush?


This summer Glensheen is taking visitors beyond the velvet ropes and into Centennial Specialty Tours. Every Thursday night through August 14 at 5 p.m. they will explore special topics including the artwork, transportation, and Congdon pets, and more.

Glensheen mansion, a landmark estate and tourist attraction, is celebrating its 100th year in Duluth.The Congdon family moved into the London Road mansion in November 1908. It took two years to plan and three years to build and cost just over $850,000.

As part of the centennial celebration, never displayed before artifacts are now available for viewing. Some of those include the original diary of Clara Congdon, original watercolor paintings by daughter Elisabeth, and a hat box and top–hat formally worn by Chester Congdon.

Specialty Tour Topics:

July 3: WHAT TO DO? Learn how the Congdon's passed the time. See 1908-style radios, victrolas, slides, and games. Learn about books, sewing, sports, and painting. $13

July 10, August 21
BY LAND OR BY SEA. Take an authentic look at how the Congdons traveled– from carriages to cars— from yachts to a sleigh. $5.

July 17, August 28
A DOG’S LIFE. This tour features the Congdon pets, farm animals, and wildlife, and, in the spirit of the Congdon family’s love of animals, Animal Allies’ will show off their adoptable pets.$5.

July 24
THE INNER WORKINGS. Learn about the intrigue of innovation. Find out how the phone system worked and how the home was heated. They had a central vacuum in 1908! Learn how they got water from the reservoir to the home and why the humidifier was a flop. $13

July 31
CONSTRUCTION JUNCTION– HOW DID THEY FUNCTION? Glensheen was built to withstand an earthquake— learn about the materials, methods, and the men who made it happen. $13

August 14
ART AND THE ARTIST. From Duluth to Japan, and around the world— the art collection at Glensheen is extraordinary. This is a rare opportunity to focus on this prominent collection. $13

August 7
THE CONGDON LEGACY, A Special Symposium at the Tweed Museum of Art. This event explores how the community, the state, and the United States felt the impact of the Congdon legacy. The symposium is followed by tour of Glensheen exhibits at the Tweed.

Tickets for the Special Tours are sold in advance and at the door. For more information see or call (218) 726-8910. Glensheen is located at 3300 London Road in Duluth.

The Festival of Fine Art and Craft will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday August 16. The region’s finest artists participate in the show and sale. It has been named a “best bet” by the Duluth News Tribune and is attended by thousands every year.

Glensheen is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through October 19; first tour begins at 9:30 a.m., and last tour begins at 4 p.m. For information e-mail or call 218-726-8910.


UMD home page editor, Cheryl Reitan,
NEW RELEASES, UMD media contact, Susan Latto,, 218-726-8830

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