Dudley House

The back of the Dudley House, date unknown. Both photographs on this page by Hugh McKenzie. [Image: Glensheen Historic Estate]

3600 London Road | Architect: H. Shaw Associates | Built: 1930 | Extant

Marjorie Congdon turned twenty-one when her family first moved into their grand estate, Glensheen. Like her sisters, she attended Dana Hall prep school in Wellesley, Massachusetts, but unlike her sisters graduated Miss May’s Finishing School in Florence, Italy, instead of going on to Vassar College. Back in Duluth, she caught the eye of Harry Chittering Dudley, a mining engineer who worked with her father. Dudley, born in Connecticut in 1878, graduated Harvard Engineering School in 1902 and took a job at a Cleveland-Cliffs mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In 1905 he joined the Oliver Iron Mining Company, originally founded by his future father-in-law, eventually rising to superintendent of mining and establishing the Mesabi Range Town of Marble. In 1911 Chester Congdon hired Dudley and sent him to South America in search of more minerals to mine. Just over a year after Chester’s death in 1916, Harry and Marjorie wed at Glensheen just before he went off to war. When he returned in 1920, the Dudleys moved into a home at 3131 East First Street and had two sons.

In 1929 the Dudleys hired Chicago architects Howard Shaw & Associates, founded by Howard Van Doren Shaw, considered a leader of the Craftsman movement. The house would be sited immediately east of Marjorie’s parents’ estate on six acres of land, including four hundred feet of Lake Superior shoreline, gifted to them by Marjorie’s mother. The three-story Tudor Revival home is covered in light-colored rubble stone and includes telltale Tudor half-timbering details along its second level. Capped with red slate, the steep roof includes several gables and a row of hipped dormers protruding from the third-floor level, which contains ten bedrooms. The house is not purely Tudor—its main entrance portico includes a recessed Gothic arch. East of the entrance, an oriel window protrudes between the first and second floors, creating room inside for a grand staircase. In the back, two similarly designed two-story English bay windows provide wonderful views of the lake and, initially, informal grounds designed by noted Danish-American landscape architect Jen Jensen. Inside, twenty-four rooms occupy nearly twenty thousand square feet of space, much of it paneled in oak and carved Swedish pine.

After construction was complete in 1931, the Dudleys lived in the home the rest of their lives. Harry continued to work in mining and later organized oil and gas drilling businesses in Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. Marjorie Dudley enjoyed a busy public life, serving on the local and national boards of the YWCA and belonging to many Duluth civic and charitable organizations, including the Duluth Women’s Club, the Junior League, and the Duluth Art Institute. She also joined the Woman’s Auxiliary of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers. Marjorie died in 1971, three years after Harry’s death. Except for the years 1983 to 2004, when it operated as the Mansion Bed & Breakfast, the home has been a private residence.


The Dudley House, date unknown. [Image: Glensheen Historic Estate]