Monday, January 7, 2008

Visions of Grandeur


My house

Actually, this is the view from the back of my house. I didn't feel like making the quarter mile trek around to the front.

My reflection pool

Looks like my poolman's slacking off on the job. Look at all those leaves on the water. Tsk, tsk.

View off my back veranda
~Care for a mint julep, anyone?



My flower gardens

Someone should really sweep the walkway. Just what am I paying the gardener for, anyway?
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Okay, so I told a teenie weenie white lie. It's not really my house. I'm betting you guessed that, though. Or maybe you thought you'd stumbled onto someone with great wealth. Um, yeah, that's why I'm using a free blogging service. Not that I'm saying anything against Blogger. I'm just sayin'.

The truth about the house? It's Glensheen in Duluth, Minnesota, also known as the Congdon Mansion. My husband and I took an awesome tour there back in the fall. My good friend, Vicki (who's blogless) is a tour guide there. She and I met on the Swap about ten years ago. We met in person last October. It was akin to meeting a long lost twin separated at birth and adopted out to a different family thousands of miles away. We even look identical. She's tall, slender, and beautiful. I'm not quite tall, not exactly slender (okay, I'm not even close) and not quite beautiful, but other than that, we're mirror images!

Vicki took us on an extended tour of the mansion. She's a walking Glensheen encyclopedia. If you've got a question about Glensheen, I promise you, Vicki can answer it. Those who've heard of it may also have heard of the notorious murders that took place there back in the 70's. Vicki has read everything that's been published and available on the subject. She's a natural as a tour guide. She not only held us all in rapt attention but had us in stitches with laughter as well. Yes, she's funny and beautiful. Like I said, identical twins.

It wasn't that long ago that tour guides weren't even allowed to discuss the murders at Glensheen. Though they still can't bring up the subject of the murders, they can now answer questions if asked, so we discreetly asked Vicki if those were blood stains we saw on the wall and floor in a particular location. They were. They weren't really gruesome to look at so much as gruesome in knowing what the stains were and how they got there.

The 39 room mansion was unlike anything I'd ever imagined. Talk about wealth (which we were), a phenominal amount of money was spent to build the house early in the 20th century. The Congdon couple who had the house built were neither one born with silver spoons in their mouths, either. I could go on and on and on with many fascinating facts about this family, about the mansion, and about the murders. I won't, though. I am not well enough informed to do the story justice. If you're interested in that sort of thing, do some research. I assure you, it's all quite fascinating.


There is a book about the murders which my friend Vicki highly recommends, titled "Will to Murder: The True Story Behind the Crimes & Trials Surrounding the Glensheen Killings". She loaned me the book. She sent it all the way from Duluth, Minnesota down to Texas so her good friend and long lost twin could read it before going on the tour, but I never got around to reading it. I have no excuse. Fortunately Vicki is forgiving. After all, she is my twin.

It goes without saying that the murders were a tragedy (though I'm saying it), and I don't know if the house would be as famous otherwise, but I think it would definitely draw people in to see it's beauty on it's own merit. It's a marvelous structure which was way ahead of it's time in the modern conveniences it contained, and it is positively gorgeous, like my friend, Vicki.
I wish it were my house.

5 comments:

Wool Winder said...

I can't imagine living in a house that big. I'd probably get lost.

Amy said...

You had me going there, girl! I was about to go pack my bags to come visit for a month...Or two...Or three...

Next time I am in Duluth, I'm having Vicki take me on the tour. I don't think she was doing them last time I was there, though she pointed it out when we drove by.

Renna said...

Wool Winder, as I told my dh, the only way I'd want to live in a house that big is if I had plenty of maids!

Amy, come on anyway. I can put you up in our travel trailer. It's a tad smaller than Glensheen, though, but we do have a pool. It's the dog's wading pool, but they'd share. ;-Þ

Marilyn@Mixed Bouquet said...

A very neat house! I've seen pics of your yard and you didn't have reflection pool, so I was reading for the punch line.

Very funny! You and Vicki are twins, right?

Renna said...

Marilyn said,

"You and Vicki are twins, right?"

Right, only she's older. ;-)