Before our trip to Duluth, we did plenty of research. We are residents of West Central Wisconsin and I personally love the Duluth/Superior area. One of the places we found was Glensheen Mansion. I am a huge fan of old homes, and obviously this one has some intriguing history behind it. (The Congdon Murders.)
I just have to say, the complaints about the price are pathetic. It was $24 per person to view the entire mansion and grounds and I would be willing to pay that price again for a second tour. The tour guides are extremely helpful and knowledgable. Granted, they don't know the answer to everything, but they will tell you that right away. They are also incredibly hospitable. The grounds and the mansion are kept up very well. I think this is one thing people forget about when they are paying the tour fees, this is a HIUGE mansion on over 7 acres that the college has to pay for. All upkeep, heating, etc. There are some areas throughout the mansion that desperately need some repairs, but that does not take away from the overall grandeur by any means.
Almost all of the antiques in the home are original, including Rookwood tile, the kitchen table in the dining area, Chester's library has all the original books including some first editions, the original dining area IS a replica but only because they still use the dining room for dinners and obviously do not want people trampling all over a century's old, sensitive rug. The china in the cabinets are all original, and the bedrooms have almost all original antiques. There were some changes to the home by the last owner, Elisabeth Congdon, to keep the home up with the times and styles, but only very minor ones.
My biggest complaint about the tour would be that the tour is only about an hour long, I would suggest trying to stretch it out as long as you can by asking a lot of questions. You cannot go back through once your tour guide leaves you and you cannot take inside photos. As a photography lover, it was incredibly depressing not to be able to take photos and to not be able to take my time. My suggestion to the college, would be to staff each room with a student and then allow guests to roam at their will after the tour is over and take photos. Maybe not allow photos on the tour, but for a little extra and a different colored tag, allow those who would like photographs to go back through. I would have been willing to pay a little additional.
This home is a MUST-SEE for any Duluth trip. Do NOT miss out, because this is a culture and history rich tour that I will be repeating on my next trip to the Duluth area.
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