May 5, 1905: Ground broken for the building of Glensheen

On this day in Duluth in 1905, ground was broken to build an estate at 3300 London Road, where Tischer Creek empties into Lake Superior, commissioned by Clara and Chester Congdon. Their home would be called “Glensheen,” reportedly after Chester’s ancestral village of Sheen in Surrey, England or—as one family story goes—for the way the sun shone on the waters of Tischer Creek. Designed by renowned Minnesota architect Clarence Johnston, the 22-acre estate—complete with carriage house, gardener’s cottage, four green houses, and the 39-room Jacobean-Revival mansion—took four years to complete at a cost of about $22 million in today’s dollars. You can read more about the history of the estate here, and discover how Chester Congdon made the fortune it took to pay for  the estate here.

A view of Glensheen from the Lake Superior shore photographed by Dennis O’Hara in 2015. (Image: Northern Images)

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