Amusement Room

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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):

Historic Photo of Glensheen in Hidden Glensheen by Bryan French Photography

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):

Historic Photo of Glensheen in Hidden Glensheen by Bryan French Photography

The thing to note about the above photo is the far wall, where there are no bookcases. And now look below, at this photo:

Historic Photo of Glensheen in Hidden Glensheen by Bryan French Photography

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:

Historic Photo of Glensheen in Hidden Glensheen by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

Based on the label inside, it was probably made in the late 1800s:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

And just like he did with his gun and his tennis racquet, Edward etched his name to claim ownership:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

These traditional birchbark bowls with dyed porcupine quills:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

These look like boots of Spanish leather to me:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

The larger rock is a hammer stone. The groove around the middle would have been lashed to a handle:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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.”

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

And yes, there’s this armadillo:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

This is a little souvenir packet of… lath. And when I say little, it was little – only about four or five inches tall:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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?

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

American football as we know it didn’t really start until the 1880s, so of course people would need rules:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

This is a seedpod. Here in Duluth, we might find milkweed seed pods. This not milkweed, but it might be a distant relative:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

This note says “Petrified wood from stumps near Hettinger, S.D.” Hettinger is actually in North Dakota, but it’s close to the border.

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

This box says: Fossils (so called by the seller) from Beverly, Wash. 1943 – Flint:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

A chicken nutcracker:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

This looks to me like a ring-holder, carved from a conch shell:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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):

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

This tiny little seahorse was stored in this little box from a business at 325 W. Superior Street:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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.”

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

This is a Parker ‘Lucky Curve’ fountain pen:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

And on the far other end of the ‘fountain pen spectrum’ was this pen (possibly Arabic):

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

And just like so many Duluthians, we found a huge number of agates and other stones (this is a very small sample):

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

I wasn’t kidding. We found LOTS of rocks!

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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?!

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

The note on this sap collecting bucket says “Maple sugar came in this & in large cases like them from Indians of Minn, 1885:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

A little paper packet full of fruticose lichen from Yosemite:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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?

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

Kitchi Gammi Club Specials – this was a cigar box, and one of many from the Kitchi Gammi Club that we found around the mansion:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

This brass dish is noteworthy especially because of the Japanese design inside:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

This dish does not normally sit in the window, and you can’t normally see how translucent it is:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

We found several very large posters related to the war effort during World War 2:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

Corn – The Food of the Nation:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

Foods from Corn:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

Feed a Fighter:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

Eat less wheat, meat, fats and sugar:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen Photo of the Amusement Room by Bryan French Photography

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.

Next Room: Billiards Room
Previous Room: Boiler Room

2 Comments

  1. I was able to possibly make out the note on the tag you name “maple sap collecting bucket”. I believe it says “Maple sugar came in this & in large cases like them-from Indians of Minn (1885). Hope this helps, I Love going through all your pictures and stories!!

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