The original blueprints show this room as the ‘West Guest Room,’ but everyone knows it as the ‘Married Guest Room.’ Here was the room shortly after it was completed:
And here is what it looks like today. Much of the wicker furniture is original, as is the bedspread, although today it is considerably more faded:
This guy is probably one of the most striking things in this room. There’s a story, probably apocryphal, that this fisherman’s gaze was so penetrating and unnerving that maids would cover the painting with a cloth, so they wouldn’t have him looking at them when they were cleaning in the room:
This watercolor is called “Sorrento Fisherman,” painted by Augusto Moriani. Moriani was an Italian who lived in Sorrento, which is close to Naples. Moriani is famous for his portraits of the working people around the Bay of Naples.
Here’s another fantastic example of Pietra dura on a wall hanging called ‘Gideon’s Trumpet.’ This is where finely carved pieces of stone are pieced together to create works of art. Pretty amazing that this is all stone, isn’t it?!
This is just a fun little piece of embroidery with Clara’s monogram:
There’s a blotter in the Married Guest Room with a stack of stationary. 3300 London Road is Glensheen’s address, but I had never seen “Duluth 5 Minnesota” before. After finding it in a few other places, my guess is that it’s a precursor to a ZIP code:
This clutch is pretty amazing, when you think that every bead was hand-sewn:
Here’s another top hat with what looks like beaver fur on top:
I’ve been holding back. I find highly decorated radiators pretty darn cool. Since most of the radiators at Glensheen are tucked into the walls, you don’t see many of them. In the Married Guest Room, this radiator is right next to the bed, so you can’t miss it. It’s surprisingly plain, with the exception of the stylized ‘D’ on the nut head:
This tea pot has some pretty amazing dragon detail:
The Married Guest Room has his and hers closets, which today are locked. They’re locked because there are all sorts of treasures is full of all sorts of things, including the Congdon’s collection of rifles and shotguns:
A few of these are quite plain, and hardly worth a second glance, but several are rare pieces of art! You might need to click on this to view it larger, but there’s an etching of deer (making odd faces, in fact) on this shotgun:
This double barrel shotgun was made by Parker Brothers (not the board game company), which was the preferred brand of a number of sharpshooters, including Annie Oakley!
The gun is highly detailed in all aspects. The wood is gorgeous:
Here’s the top of the same gun:
All the tooling and detail is pretty astounding! I also like the safety:
Here’s another shotgun, made by the Lefever Arms Co. Can you see the woodcock?
And on the other side is some kind of duck. Maybe a ring-necked?
And finally – this is kind of fun – this was the rifle Edward Congdon’s used when he was young. You can see where he carved his initials into the stock:
Continuing in the closets, we found a ‘Detecto ‘Low Boy’ Scale’:
This wasn’t unusual – finding a vial of various things with hand-written labels. In this case, it’s “Prepared Powdered chalk”:
This type of chalk was typically used as an early version of ‘Tums,’ to ease stomach acid symptoms.
This little sculpture is of a boy (missing most of his arm), pulling a splinter from his foot:
I think I actually laughed out loud when we found this. Even 100 years ago, cat pictures were a thing:
I’m not sure what this was intended to be, but I’m guessing it’s a gourd (with frog decoration) to be used as a bud vase:
I really like this subtle urn with the swan patterns;
When you look at these, you would be forgiven if you thought ‘what’s the big deal here? This looks pretty rustic and not very exciting.’
Although at first glance, these pots may not look like much, in fact this is a pair of Markham pots:
A bit about Markham Pottery (this is from the December 1905 issue of “The Sketchbook”):
One of my favorite lines: “… the story of one man, his love of nature and the beautiful in everything…”
Also in the closet, we found a receipt for ‘1 piece Cut Velvet wall hanging: “Fuji from Shoji Lake”:
We found a Vassar songbook:
Elisabeth attended Vassar, but dropped out after Chester died to care for Clara. The songbook includes this curious song:
The song describes how it used to be called ‘Vassar Female College,’ but when it was, the women were unhappy. When a gust of wind tore the part of the sign that said ‘female’ down, that was when the faculty finally “progressed in wisdom and in knowledge.” Curious.
It gave me a warm smile to find this book on the shelves:
You can hardly read the cover of this, “Wilson’s Juvenile American History”:
Isn’t it interesting that inside the book, it’s not ‘Juvenile American History,’ but ‘Primary American History”:
Inside the book we found some doodles that must have been Chester’s. It looks like the letters ‘H’ and ‘P.’
I only ever knew “Brester’s Millions” as a comedy with Richard Pryor. Richard Greaves was a pseudonym for George Barr McCutcheon, the actual author of this book. Shortly after it was published, it was adapted to the stage, and has been re-adapted for the stage at least ten times, including twice in India!
Inside another book we found this:
Perhaps a childhood friend?
Flipping through this book, it’s kind of amazing too think about how math used to be taught, especially compared to how it’s taught today.
This photo was loosely rolled up in a drawer, and we had to carefully flatten it to see what it held. This is an old photo of cormorant fishermen from China. Fisherman would tie a line around a train cormorant’s neck, and they would hold the line while the bird dove and caught fish. It couldn’t swallow the fish because of the line around its neck, but it was trained to bring the fish back to the fisherman, who would take the fish and feed the cormorant little pieces for reward:
Today, cormorant fishing is a dying practice, and there are only a few of these fisherman left in the world.
This delicate glass bell was tucked into a box with tissue paper
This is an ivory letter opener, and the detail is pretty astounding. Look at the tips along the spine of the dragon, and the petals of the flowers:
We also found a number of very detailed and complex wicker baskets, like this one:
This was definitely a fun find – this old L. C. Smith typewriter. Lyman C. Smith had been making rifles and shotguns when one of his engineers convinced him to try making typewriters. In 1926, Smith joined his company with the Corona company to form Smith Corona. This typewriter was probably originally built by the LC Smith company (prior to their merger with Corona), but it bears the name ‘Corona’ because apparently when you sent your typewriter in for servicing after the merger, the new Smith Corona company would replace the nameplate:
Here’s a better view of the keys:
Also in the closet we found this little bassinet with extending legs, so you could carry it or stand it up:
This pendant is a little hard to read, but it says: “Iron ore first discovered in Upper Peninsula of Michigan at Negaunee in roots of this stump in 1844”:
Coming from a family so invested in mines, finding this trinket is unsurprising, even if its original purpose is unclear.
We also found a trove of straight razors! These are beautiful instruments:
Here’s a leather strop from the Herfarth Brothers from New Orleans. I like how the tiger’s mouth says ‘Hot Stuff’:
Here’s a detail of one of the razors, this one made by the German company J.A. Henckels, Solingen. Note the ivory handle and the two figures:
The Married Guest Room turned out to have much more going on than expected, which of course made it all the more fun, as we kept finding new treasures.