|Looking up the shoreline|
As you leave downtown Duluth driving along Minnesota Highway 61, the first thing you will see is about 4 miles of beachfront property where the industrialists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries spent their exorbitant excesses of money on elegant mansions to flaunt their wealth. The flauntiest of the lot is a little place called Glensheen, the former home of the Congdon family. Chester Congdon was a lawyer working for the Minnesota iron mining interests. Part of his job was to buy properties with high grade iron ore for them, which he conscientiously did. While he was at it, he also bought up some less high-grade ore deposits for himself. Twenty years later, when all the high-grade deposits had been mined out, he turned around and sold his second rate iron deposits to his former employers at about 20 times what he paid for them. Neat trick.
The Congdons had five children, the last of which was a spinster named Elizabeth who gave the entire property, including furnishings, to the University of Minnesota on the condition that she could continue living there for the rest of her life. That lasted until 1977, when Elizabeth's adopted daughter and her husband got tired of waiting for their inheritance and bumped the old lady off, creating a local sensation. Now the University gives tours of the property about every half-hour six days a week at $15 a head. The tour guides are University students who help finance their education this way.
|The dining table had 16 removable leaves|
|The front "front door"|
|The master bedroom, hers|
|The nine head shower.|
The house had a staff of about 10 servants. We saw the women's quarters and they looked pretty nice. The men bunked in a dormitory on the second floor of the carriage house. Their rooms are now used for administrative offices. The gardener, who was responsible for the 7.5 acres of grounds, got a separate cottage about the size of a two-bedroom house. The original gardener's son inherited the job when dad died. Part of the deal when Elizabeth gave the house to the University was that he got to stay in the gardener's cottage for the rest of his life as well, which ended up lasting until 2004. He lived on the estate for over 80 years, longer than most of the Congdons.
|The gardener's cottage|
|A real smokehouse|
|Antique tug at Two Harbors|
|The Two Harbors lighthouse|
|Split Rock lighthouse|
Next week we will be staying in Grand Marais for a few days, which is another 60 miles up the shoreline. So while we are there we will see the rest of the North Shore up to the Canadian border.
|Train on display at the old Two Harbors station|
|The eldest Congdon daughter's room|
|One of the 16 fireplaces, all for show. The house had central heating.|
|The carriage house|
|Two of the six conveyances in the carriage house, which included two sleighs.|