Toy Room

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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:

Hidden Glensheen photograph by Bryan French Photography

Here is the ‘Toy Room’ as it looks today:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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.

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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. 

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

When I saw this large block, I immediately thought of a macabre old children’s song, ‘Who Killed Cock Robin.’

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Their marriage feast:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

And then it all went wrong:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Cock Robin being laid to rest:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Ah, this little character doesn’t seem quite so intimidating (you can see the ‘Who Killed Cock Robin’ blocks behind):

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

We also found quite a few games. I think this was a game where you needed to figure out which title did NOT belong:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Who Is It? A riot of fun tor tonight’s party!

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Here’s your first clue – his portrait:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

And if you can’t get it from his portrait, here are a few more clues:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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.

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Simple!

We found quite a few decks of playing cards, including some from their travels, and some from Yale:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

My absolute favorites were these. I have never seen such beautiful face cards:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

This is a sort of evolution of ping pong paddles:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Some blocks, and a little golf game:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

This is a game where you spin a top, and you score points based on which pegs your top knocks over:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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.”

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

‘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.

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Here are the rules (a bit eaten by bugs):

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

The Congdons also had a Scrabble Lazy Susan:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

A scoring pad holder for bridge:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Jotto looks like it was a sort of a cross between Battleship and Cryptogram:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

I’ve played a game called ‘Dutch Blitz,’ and this looks sort of similar:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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?

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Because it made a good scratch pad:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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?

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Here are the answers:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

And then, how about any of these men?

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Answers below.

Here’s the second page of the men:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Answers below.

And of course, everyone’s favorite category, “Whatizit?” If you’ve been paying attention, you should, at least, get #10:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Answers below.

Can you identify any of these tourist attractions?

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

And here are the answers:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

Off to the side is an old toboggan:

Hidden Glensheen photograph of the Toy Room by Bryan French Photography

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!

Next Room: Carriage House – Garage
Previous Room: Billiards Room

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