A trip to the historic cities of Duluth and Superior is not truly complete without a visit to two of the area’s most historic and celebrated homes.
Perched along the shore of Lake Superior, Duluth’s illustrious Glensheen Mansion is a must-see for those who love exploring old homes or just want to learn more about a city and estate that are both rife with history. Completed in 1908 for the Congdon family, at a cost of $845,000, the Glensheen has remained relatively unchanged over the past century, and still houses the same furniture and décor that filled the home over 100 years ago.
Chester Congdon moved to Duluth from St. Paul in 1892, becoming a member of the law firm of Billson & Congdon. He became a prominent figure in connection with the development of the iron and copper mining resources and at the same time his advice and assistance were sought by many business and financial institutions.
Made famous as the setting of the 1972 thriller “You’ll like my Mother,” the Glensheen Mansion holds a place on the National Register of Historic Places, and is often found on lists of supposedly haunted locations in Minnesota. With 39 rooms, 27,000 square feet and nearly eight acres of forest and lush gardens, there is much to explore at this enchanting property.
Another historic home, the Fairlawn Mansion, sits on the other side of the lake in the city of Superior. Constructed for lumber and mining mogul Martin Pattison in 1890, this stately mansion served as an orphanage for 42 years beginning in 1920, and was home to roughly 2,000 children during that time. Just a stone’s throw away from beautiful Lake Superior, Fairlawn boasts 42 rooms and a distinctive four-story turret overlooking the water. A quintessential Victorian home, Fairlawn Mansion has been restored into a museum in recent years and is a landmark site in the Twin Ports.
The next time you’re in the Northland, come bask in the elegance of these vestigial mansions and discover the storied past of Duluth and Superior with a tour you’ll never forget.