Hidden Glensheen

Hidden Glensheen – Chester’s Room

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Chester Congdon had an additional, separate bedroom installed for himself. He traveled a lot for work, both when he owned mines, and later when he was part of the Minnesota State Legislature. His thinking was that, when he got home late at night, he wouldn’t disturb Clara. As you can see here, his room could access the Master Bathroom (which we have already seen):

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

This is a detail from the privacy screen in the corner. I find it a curious piece to have in a married’s man ‘consideration room,’ but perhaps there’s more of a story that I wasn’t able to uncover.

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

This is just weird, and kind of fun. On the seat of the rocking chair at the foot of the bed is a faded fabric cover. In the few places not exposed to the sun, there are still a few details showing, like this man and his goat. Is the man on the ground feeding the goat or being trampled by it? And how does this fabric get selected to cover a chair??

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

There’s a beautiful old clock on the wall opposite the bed. This clock was made by master clockmaker Chauncey Ives, probably between 1815 and 1837:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

When you look very closely, the details leap out. Look at the little gold stars at each hour mark. Or the hand painted letters. Or the little tiny cotter pin holding the hands of the clock in place:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

This is at the bottom corner of the clock, and it shows the detail of some of the stenciling on the clock. To me, this looks like airbrushing, although ‘airbrushing’ as we know it wasn’t patented until 1876.

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

This is a little side table with one of Chester’s hats and a few books as props. The striking thing in this photograph (and in much of the room) is the flamed mahogany. 

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

In going through the drawers, we found this interesting red glass bottle and stopper:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

This is kind of funny – we found a bundle of tissue paper in a drawer, so as usual, we slowly and carefully unwrapped it, only to find – a wax candle carved and painted to look like a fisherman:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

As we continue around the room, we enter Chester’s walk-in closet, where we found his top hat (for special occasions!) and its traveling case:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

Hanging in the closet was this unique, hand-carved cane, and the wardrobe was full of the various accoutrements a well-dressed man would need:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

Here, you can see all of his bow ties, starched collars and cuffs (back then, collars and cuffs were not part of the shirt itself):

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

And here you can see several of his formal suits, and how they hung (see the pants hanging in back?). The nearest suit was created by the Duncan Guiney company, which apparently operated out of the Knickerbocker Trust Building in New York. This doesn’t actually make sense, since the Knickerbocker Trust Building was a bank (and one that Congdon’s business partner, J.P. Morgan helped bail out after the Panic of 1907). Whatever the connection, Guiney obviously made some good looking suits:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

This light fixture shows the dual-use plan for Glensheen’s lighting. The bottom was wired for electricity, and the top is a gas jet. Electric lights were pretty new when Glensheen was built, but they hadn’t stood the test of time. So Chester had electric/gas lights installed. As you tour the mansion, you can find them in many places. Not everywhere, but once you start looking, they keep turning up:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

Also, did you note the artichoke finial on the post by the mirror?

And lastly, this is often missed, but there is a little light bulb up by the ceiling:

Hidden Glensheen photo from Chester Congdon's Room by Bryan French Photography

This was apparently part of the home security system. There are a number of these little lights throughout the house, and they were all wired to a common circuit, so if there were some emergency, a single switch would illuminate them all simultaneously.

Next room: Single Female Guest Room

Previous room: Clara’s Changing Room

 

 

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