If you have been following along with Hidden Glensheen, you have seen example after example of how much the Congdons loved to travel. The Amusement Room was where many of the things they brought home ended up.
We have examples of how the Amusement Room looked, from two different eras (three, if you count today).
These first two photos were probably taken at the same time. This first image is from ‘the house’ side, looking West (toward Tischer Creek):
This photo is from the other side of the fireplace (using the same chimney as the fireplace in the Living Room, the Master Bedroom, and the Married Guest Room):
The thing to note about the above photo is the far wall, where there are no bookcases. And now look below, at this photo:
The bear rugs are gone, and there is a huge bookcase.
Here’s another photo from the fireplace side, and you can again see lots of bookcases and no bear rugs:
Obviously, the later photos were taken well after Chester had died. The Amusement Room looks more civilized.
In comparison, today the Amusement Room looks practically sterile:
Here’s the view from the opposite side of the fireplace. You can see the bookcases on the far wall are still in place, but there’s not much else here:
The reason for this is that today, this area is currently used for events, and having so many things out and about wouldn’t be wise.
There are a few interesting tidbits around the room, including this beautifully colored paneling near the entrance:
There’s a door just off the entrance to the Amusement Room that most people pass right on by. It used to be a bathroom, but today it’s used as storage for current Glensheen staff. This is the view looking out toward the hallway:
Most of the books in the Amusement Room are behind plexiglass. Perhaps someday, another photographer will do a project called ‘Behind Plexi,’ or something similar.
Most of the rest of the treasures in this room are contained in two relatively small cabinets. These cabinets are packed with a diverse array of various items. There is no good order to go through things, so we’ll just take them as we found them.
This is a mandolini, or a bowl-backed mandolin:
Based on the label inside, it was probably made in the late 1800s:
And just like he did with his gun and his tennis racquet, Edward etched his name to claim ownership:
These traditional birchbark bowls with dyed porcupine quills:
These look like boots of Spanish leather to me:
The larger rock is a hammer stone. The groove around the middle would have been lashed to a handle:
The smaller stones on the left was an arrowhead, and the one on the right is a Madison point. If you’d like to lose a few hours, you can visit this excellent resource: The Regional Projectile Point Search.
This box says “Alkaline soil from the ‘Great Nevada Desert’ in the vicinity of the Humboldt Lake.”
And yes, there’s this armadillo:
Apparently, the armadillo has been named ‘Fred.’ You can see the place in the middle of the body where it has been separated, and then joined back together with some sort of fabric. Strange.
Here are the lenses from some glasses:
Finding boxes like this make me happy. Most people have probably heard of Cadbury Chocolates. ‘Bournville’ is apparently a style of chocolate named after a town in Birmingham, England:
This is a little souvenir packet of… lath. And when I say little, it was little – only about four or five inches tall:
I had never seen a feather shuttlecock (used in badminton) before. Shuttlecocks typically used about 16 goose feathers that were embedded in a cork base which was covered with leather. The best part is that they only used feathers from the left wing of the goose, to ensure that the shuttlecock rotated in a consistent and predictable manner:
This looks like a tangram puzzle that Chester would have brought back for Robert. The booklet with the kanji was stored with the tangram. Perhaps they are related?
American football as we know it didn’t really start until the 1880s, so of course people would need rules:
This is a seedpod. Here in Duluth, we might find milkweed seed pods. This not milkweed, but it might be a distant relative:
This note says “Petrified wood from stumps near Hettinger, S.D.” Hettinger is actually in North Dakota, but it’s close to the border.
This box says: Fossils (so called by the seller) from Beverly, Wash. 1943 – Flint:
A chicken nutcracker:
This looks to me like a ring-holder, carved from a conch shell:
I’ve done this, and perhaps you have, too. Do you collect sand from beaches you’ve visited? Sand from Florida. Sand from Petra (Petra is in the Middle East):
I just want you to appreciate that someone (Clara? Elisabeth?) took the time and effort to create little tags to describe all of these artifacts. That’s something that many of us think about, but never get around to doing.
This tag says “Acorns stored in bark – squirrels? Tyrone, N.M. I’d guess it was more likely a woodpecker than a squirrel:
This tiny little seahorse was stored in this little box from a business at 325 W. Superior Street:
This is cute – it’s a little perfume brick, which sold for 2.25 lira (prezzo means ‘price’). These were apparently soaked in lavender and then placed in linen drawers to keep them smelling fresh and pleasant:
This is also a brick, although with a much more interesting provenance. The note says “Brick knocked off kitchen chimney – 3300 London Rd – in 1908 or 9 – by stroke of lightning.”
This is a Parker ‘Lucky Curve’ fountain pen:
And on the far other end of the ‘fountain pen spectrum’ was this pen (possibly Arabic):
And just like so many Duluthians, we found a huge number of agates and other stones (this is a very small sample):
I wasn’t kidding. We found LOTS of rocks!
This note was similar to so many things that we found. It reads, “These were given in about 1864 but this box must have had something in it later. Or I may not remember correctly & it might have been 1871.” Who can say what that means?!
I can’t really read this note. What I can read implies that this was a container for collecting sap from maple trees, and came into the Congdon’s possession around 1885:
A little paper packet full of fruticose lichen from Yosemite:
I mentioned the notes earlier. Can you imagine finding lots and lots of notes that weren’t attached to whatever they were originally meant to be associated with?
Kitchi Gammi Club Specials – this was a cigar box, and one of many from the Kitchi Gammi Club that we found around the mansion:
This brass dish is noteworthy especially because of the Japanese design inside:
This dish does not normally sit in the window, and you can’t normally see how translucent it is:
When we were up in the Boy’s Lounge on the 3rd Floor, we talked a bit about Ned and his amateur taxidermy. We don’t know if this Great Horned Owl was a result of Ned’s inexperience, or a results of time. Either way, it has seen better days:
These leaves and birds were characteristic of the Arts & Crafts movement of the early 20th Century, and William French (the primary designer of the house) would surely have been aware of this, and worked to integrate Arts & Crafts features into the design where he could:
We found several very large posters related to the war effort during World War 2:
Corn – The Food of the Nation:
Foods from Corn:
Feed a Fighter:
Eat less wheat, meat, fats and sugar:
There is an old Victrola record player in the Amusement Room. Of the three record players, it’s probably the least spectacular. This isn’t meant to diminish this one – it just points out how fancy all the other record players at Glensheen are! On this one, you can see the little brush that kept the fuzz away from the needle:
When we get to the Billiards Room, you’ll see the best record player of Glensheen.
Lastly, we have this fisherman. Most people never see this painting, since these days, it’s tucked up and behind a doorway:
The Amusement Room was where the Congdons would have shared photos and artifacts of their travels. Hopefully, you’ve been able to enjoy a few of those artifacts.