September 29, 1881: The marriage of Chester Congdon and Clara Hesperia Bannister

On this day in 1881, future Duluthians Chester Adgate Congdon and Clara Hesperia Bannister  were married in Syracuse, New York, in a ceremony performed by Reverend Charles W. Bennet. Clara was a native of San Francisco, and both had Methodist ministers for fathers. The couple had met as students at the University of Syracuse, and both graduated in the class of 1875. Clara—a Phi Beta Kappa—was also one of the first women to graduate from the college. Chester Congdon first found work as a schoolteacher in Wisconsin before moving on to St. Paul, finding work as a lawyer with William Billson, a former Duluthian. The Congdons did not move to Duluth until 1892, and did so at Billson’s urging; he had relocated to the Zenith City and needed Congdon’s help with his growing client list of mining executives. The Congdons took up residence in architect Oliver Traphagen’s duplex at 1530 East Superior Street, known to many Duluthians as “The Redstone.” Their two youngest children, Elisabeth and Robert, were born in Duluth while the family lived at the Redstone. They would not move into their London Road estate, Glensheen, until its construction was completed in 1909. Read more about the Congdon family here, and about their remarkable home here.

Chester and Clara COngdon. (Image: Glensheen Historic Estate)