As you can see, the Carriage House attic’s storage room is full. We found a lot up in this attic, from a bicycle built for two, to the personal effects of two young men with no clear connection to the Congdon family that we could find (William Sickels and Stanley Smith), to historic planning documents for building the Glensheen estate. There’s a lot here but it sure is interesting!
Here’s the view when you step into the attic:
It’s actually much darker than what this shows, but I’m using a long exposure to let in more light. We eventually found some work lights to help illuminate things a bit.
Here’s the bicycle built for two. This is actually a composite of two different images, where the Collections Manager was first holding the bike upright by the back wheel [snap], and then she moved around to hold the bike up by the front wheel [snap]. Then I blended the two photos together in Photoshop. If you look closely, you can see where the blend wasn’t perfect. I’m glad we didn’t need to do too much photo magic!
I’m a pretty big fan of bicycles, but I’m unfamiliar with this brand. I think it’s Hollender, and I found a company named Bock & Hollender that was making early motorcycles. Some of the components on this bicycle look similar, so… perhaps?
Tires by Western Auto Supply Co:
Bike chains don’t look like this anymore. These days they are much more closely spaced, with many more cogs on the drive train:
This pedal crank arm is attached in a very unusual manner. You don’t see this anymore!
I could easily imagine my next project being about classic bicycles!
Here’s another piece of gear by Abercrombie and Fitch – this is a khaki wash basin. Khaki is both a color, and a type of fabric:
There were several games squirreled away in the Carriage House attic, including this Parker Brothers Ping-Pong game:
Some old boxing gloves:
I’m not sure on these. Although they bear a resemblance to bowling pins, I also found some similar to these that were described as exercise pins or juggling pins:
Here’s a closer look at the Spalding brand:
I don’t think this was being saved for anything in particular, but I thought the Blue Goose was curious. It turns out that AFG is an industry trade group: American Fruit Growers. An AFG stamp on your product was an indication that you were selling a quality product:
This little label was glued to a box that was used to transport a clock from Liverpool to New York. As you can see, the clock was transported on the steamer Arabic, and was accompanied by James Roper. Roper was employed by the Congdons as a carriage driver, and later as a chauffeur. The Arabic began service in 1903, and was sunk by a German submarine in August of 1915. This means that Roper was most likely accompanying this clock (and other items, surely) back to Duluth while Chester was still alive.
We found this shoe horn from the Wieland Shoe Company. Weiland was in operation in 1911, and were themselves successors to the W & L Shoe Company:
We found this little souvenir cotton bale – “I am from Dixie!”
And a jump rope:
We also found an old yo-yo:
And a bag full of marbles. I didn’t realize that marbles used to be made from clay. As you can see, they had some clay marbles and some glass marbles (glass marbles would have been new-fangled around the turn of the century):
Okay, now we’re getting in to the history of two young Duluth boys whose boyhood treasures ended up in the attic of the Glensheen Carriage House. It seems as though both boys attended Duluth Central High School:
Here is their yearbook from 1928, The Zenith:
Here’s the inside cover page:
Flipping through the book was a real pleasure. I’m including this one for my kids. ‘The Dab’ is apparently nothing new:
William Sickels was one of the boys whose papers, books and boyhood treasures we found:
Here’s a picture of William Sickels from The Zenith (misspelled here) :
William was apparently quite the track athlete, and had a collection of ribbons and certificates:
We also found this flag wrapped up in this cylinder, apparently from their 2nd place finish in the four-person half-mile relay (Wilke, Ario, Maki, Sickels) at the Head of the Lakes Meet at the Tri-State Fairgrounds on May 15, 1926:
48 stars on the flag:
William Sickels was apparently also involved in the Boy Scouts and the YMCA. The triangular pin is from Hi-Y, an organization sponsored by the YMCA. The fleur-de-lis and the ‘be prepared’ scroll are from the Boy Scouts. The pewter arrowhead is from Camp Minnewonka, and the hexagonal pin is from the 400 in the “International Boys Hexathlon”
This is a well-worn patch from the Junior Life Saving Corps of the YMCA:
One of the books we found was Select Orations of Cicero:
At some point, the Board of Education of the City of Duluth changed to the Independent School District No. 709:
I don’t think the City of Duluth even has a Board of Education anymore.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly wrote my name like this:
And then you have to tilt it in order to read it. This book was apparently used by Conrad Reitan:
This is the front of the Sport Section of the Duluth News Tribune from May 16, 1926. I’m sharing this one for two reasons: First, because I just love the art woven into the title, and second, because of how much space they spent on local high school sports. I’m of the opinion that local papers should cover our local athletes first, and national athletes second.
Tom Kelly was an illustrator in the old Duluth News Tribune. Down in the ‘Kellygrams’ section, Kelly spends a fair amount of ink talking about a boxing match between Jack Dempsey and Harry Wills (the bout never occurred).
The Spectator was the Duluth Central High School’s school paper:
It’s charming to read the style of writing from almost 100 years ago:
I’m sure YOU never doodled your name over and over in your English notebook:
We found this surprisingly intact set of drafting tools, and we weren’t sure who they belonged to:
Until we found this set of architectural drawings by William Sickels:
William Sickels penmanship improved over the years, as we can see from his Chemistry homework:
Yes, we also found his savings book. Yes, he was making deposits of one cent:
Perhaps this is where he was spending his money?
Sickels appears to have been a boy of good moral standing.
He also attended Camp Miller! Camp Miller had the ‘Wantonoit Club’ (get it?), and William was able to name two and a half hundred natural objects:
William was apparently required to do a bit of remedial work during his time at Camp Chippewa:
We already saw a little pewter lapel pin from Camp Minne Wonka. Here’s the camp memory book from the year he attended:
The Voyage of Monsieur Perrichon was a moderately well-known French play:
But our story at this point moves from William Sickels to Stanley Smith:
Here you can see some of his notes, as he was translating for himself:
Stanley Smith was apparently a fan of French literature:
And he was a bit creative, too:
Here is some of his chemistry homework. Were Sickels and Smith classmates? Perhaps.
We are coming to the end of the Sickels/Smith story, but before we go, we have what appear to be a bunch of senior grad photos, probably of one of the boys:
I looked through the names here a few times, and I didn’t find Sickels or Smith, but I could have missed them. And if this isn’t stored in the attic because of them, then who is on this poster that has a connection to Duluth?
Someone was an NRA Junior Rifle Corps Marksman:
And this U.S. lapel pin probably has a story, but I don’t know it:
In with the Sickels and Smith memorabilia were all of these chewing gum wrappers, including several names I had never heard of!
And with that, we leave the mystery of William Sickels and Stanley Smith.
This woman’s portrait may be part of their story. Or it may not:
Now, we get to some of Chester Congdon’s memorabilia. Some of what we found was rather curious, including this inventory of Chester’s grandfather (on his mother’s side), Chester V. Adgate. “A true and perfect inventory of all the goods, chattles and credits of Chester V. Adgate, late of the town of Milo, in the County of Yates, deceased. Chester V. Adgate died in 1833, so this would have been an accounting of his possessions, at the time of his death:
Here’s a bit closer of a look:
Here’s where it gets interesting – it wasn’t in Chester Congdon’s possession, originally. In 1900, he received this letter from George Sheppard, who found the inventory in a chest in his attic:
We found a couple of promissory notes. This one, curiously, is from the Traphagens, whose house on Superior Street the Congdons purchased and lived in, prior to building Glensheen:
And this was a promissory note that Chester took out in 1897, from Q. W. Wellington:
Eight percent interest!
We also found a few books that Chester would likely have been quite interested in:
There was a brief but intense flurry of copper mining on Isle Royale. By 1928, Chester would have been long dead, but his sons were variously involved in mining interests, and so this would likely have been a topic they were aware of and followed:
The title of this is almost enough to put you to sleep, but I do enjoy the subtitle:
We found a deed for property from William McQuade to Chester Congdon:
The next several images are maps that show the gradual development of the property that was to become Glensheen.
This map shows the platting that was established, but no houses are shown yet:
This map shows the neighborhoods surrounding Glensheen. If you zoom in, you see that there are a few structures on the property that was to become Glensheen, but neither the mansion, the boathouse or the pier are shown:
Another interesting note is that on this map, Tischer Creek was named “Tischer’s Creek.” The historical record shows that the name Tischer’s Creek (named after Urs Tischer and his family) continued to be the standard name at least until the 1920s.
Two creeks run through Glensheen. Bent Creek is the smaller, more intermittent creek, and Tischer Creek is the much more famous of the two. At the turn of the century, Tischer Creek was used as a toilet, and by the time its waters flowed past Glensheen, they would not have been clean or aromatic. So Chester did what any multimillionaire would do, and he bought up the property along the creek and turned it back over to the city to create Congdon Park. He also installed a rather elaborate pressurized watering system for his greenhouses.
This map shows how a portion of Tischer Creek would be diverted into a concrete reservoir:
The reservoir would then direct water through a 10″ iron pipe down to the mansion:
You should also note the street names on the above map. Dingwall Street was changed by ordinance in 1905 to Greysolon Road. And for some reason, East of the intersection at Hawthorne Road, Branch Street took on a new name: Greysolon Place. 1905 was a pretty big year in Duluth for changing street names, with the city council making dozens of changes and corrections to how streets in Duluth were named.
This map is interesting because it shows the amount of property that was, at one time, owned by the Northland Country Club:
Today, their property line stays above Superior Street.
This map shows the mansion, the boathouse and the pier as they are today. One other interesting note about this map is that there was at one time, a very short road below this part of London Road, called Lake Street:
Okay, enough playing with maps.
This was a full-scale rendering of the planned architectural pendant
Here you can see where the pendants were placed during the construction of the carriage house:
Here is a rendering of the stairway in the stables, leading up to the attic:
And here is what that looks like today – you can see that the balustrade changed from wood to the enameled brick:
This rendering is interesting because it shows the state of the shoreline at Glensheen in 1979, and you can see that the boat house would have been completely landbound by washed up rocks:
Most people don’t have their own embosser, let alone nine of them. In fact, this is just a sampling of some of the Congdon estate’s collection of embossers:
If you zoom in, you can read some of the names, including Graham Iron Co, Volunteer Ore Co, Marengo Development, Polaris Iron Co, The Hockley Gypsum Co, and Eidco, Inc:
Surprisingly, we found a picture of current Glensheen Director, Dan Hartman:
This looks like a stool that might be used at a piano, with its rotating seat that brings it up or down:
Here’s a close up view of the claw and ball foot:
And we’ll end with this book that we found by Ralph Gordon:
Ralph apparently knew Elisabeth Congdon, since he personalized the inside cover for her:
As you can see, the attic of the Carriage House was packed. This is only a small example of some of the things we found.