The Toy Room was one of those discoveries that surprised me. I knew that there were a few toys at the bottom of the main stairway, but I didn’t realize the trove of toys it held!
The original blueprints just described this as ‘Hall’ and room #4 in the basement:
Here is the ‘Toy Room’ as it looks today:
Really, it’s a wide place at the base of the main stairway. In fact, being a ‘toy room’ is really a pretty good use for this space.
Before we get too far, look up in the hallway and appreciate this intricate, wonderful light fixture:
Moving down to the play area, we find a little toy Pullman train car. The Playskool Pullman was only manufactured for about a year before the Great Depression ended its production.
In the Toy Room, you can find lots of blocks, toys, and games. Most of it is clearly for children, but certainly not all. When Chester was alive, Robert would have been of an age to enjoy such an area and take advantage of it.
When I saw this large block, I immediately thought of a macabre old children’s song, ‘Who Killed Cock Robin.’
And sure enough, that’s what it was. The Congdons had a whole series of toy blocks, where each face of each wooden block told a different part of the ‘Who Killed Cock Robin’ story. Here is the story of Cock Robin and Jenny Wren’s marriage:
Their marriage feast:
And then it all went wrong:
Cock Robin being laid to rest:
The story of ‘Who Killed Cock Robin’ goes back hundreds of years. There’s a story that goes back to 1508, called ‘Phyllyp Sparowe,’ which has many similarities. Or you could go back another 500 years to the death of King William II. Whatever the provenance of the story, it has been a story for the ages, and one of my personal favorite retellings has been when Greg Brown put the lyrics to song. Please enjoy:
I have never had any particular phobia or dislike of clowns, but then I never saw or read Stephen King’s IT, so perhaps that’s what spared me. So even though clowns don’t really concern me, I do recognize that these clowns are just a little creepy, from the claw hands to their rather nasty grins:
Ah, this little character doesn’t seem quite so intimidating (you can see the ‘Who Killed Cock Robin’ blocks behind):
We also found quite a few games. I think this was a game where you needed to figure out which title did NOT belong:
Who Is It? A riot of fun tor tonight’s party!
Here’s your first clue – his portrait:
And if you can’t get it from his portrait, here are a few more clues:
Do you give up? It’s Walt Whitman!
Here was another game, called The Mayflower, from 1897. The rules were simple:
An Historical card game which features episodes in the life of the Pilgrim Fathers on their arrival in the ‘New World’. The cards are divided into 4 suits of 13 cards and numbered A through D.
All 52 cards are dealt completely out to any amount of players. The player to the left of the dealer goes first and must begin by placing a card numbered either 1 or 13. If the player cannot set a card of that number down then he or she receives a penalty point places a counter in the Pool) and play moves on to the next person. This player can lay a 1 or 13 card down of any letter or may lay a 2 on a 1 or a 12 on a 13 on a matching letter, if the first person was able to set a card down.
Players continue to set cards down by the sequence of numbers on matching letters going forward or backward. If any players are unable then penalty points are given and play moves on. Once the Lettered series gets to 1-6 and 8-13, the 7 is placed to complete the series (only once the 6 and 8 are both played can the 7 be placed across).
The first player to get rid of all their cards, wins the round and scores one point for every card held in all the opponent’s hands. The first player to get 15 points, wins the game.
We found quite a few decks of playing cards, including some from their travels, and some from Yale:
My absolute favorites were these. I have never seen such beautiful face cards:
This is a sort of evolution of ping pong paddles:
Some blocks, and a little golf game:
This is a game where you spin a top, and you score points based on which pegs your top knocks over:
The blocks are here for size reference. You can’t read it very well, but the faint purple printing on this paddle says ‘Jiggers Co.,’ and below that it says “Rand McNally, Chicago , Ill.”
‘Jiggers’ was apparently a popular dog story in the Rand McNally Junior Elf books. I couldn’t find any connection with this paddle.
The Wikipedia entry for ‘cornhole’ describes it as a game that originated from people finishing their corn on the cob and throwing it into a garbage can. I’m not convinced. This seems like the sort of game that’s been around for centuries.
The Skee-Ball that we know today has concentric rings into which you roll a ball. This looks a bit like a mix of cornhole and skee-ball:
Here are the rules (a bit eaten by bugs):
The Congdons also had a Scrabble Lazy Susan:
A scoring pad holder for bridge:
I’m not what this game was. It looks a bit like a cross between some version of Monopoly and an old version of The Game of Life:
Jotto looks like it was a sort of a cross between Battleship and Cryptogram:
I’ve played a game called ‘Dutch Blitz,’ and this looks sort of similar:
These contract bridge scoring sheets were interesting to me in their covers. I’m a birdwatcher, and seeing ruddy ducks, wood ducks and rails was a happy surprise:
Usually when you see ducks, you see mallards, if not domesticated ducks.
This paper bag from Neumode Hosiery was also in the toy room. Why?
Because it made a good scratch pad:
Although most of Glensheen is in excellent condition, insects have certainly done their share of damage in a few places. We found this autobridge (a method for teaching bridge) sheet that was in pretty rough condition:
Any time Glensheen staff discover insects, they call in the pest control folks.
We found another game called ‘Snap Judgement,’ that was sort of a test of your ‘pop culture knowledge’ in a variety of different categories. Can you identify either of these child prodigies?
Here are the answers:
And then, how about any of these men?
Here’s the second page of the men:
And of course, everyone’s favorite category, “Whatizit?” If you’ve been paying attention, you should, at least, get #10:
Can you identify any of these tourist attractions?
And here are the answers:
Off to the side is an old toboggan:
And with that, we have finished the Hidden Glensheen inside the mansion. However, we still have several stops before we’re done. Starting tomorrow – The Carriage House!