Seeing Glensheen in a different light

Driving down London Road, it’s hard to miss the Glensheen Estate. With seven acres of land and 39 rooms, the place gives off an alluring, grandiose appeal. When you pull into the parking lot, the mansion is just as breathtaking.

As UMD students, we get into Glensheen for free, and it’s something that students should take advantage of. The typical tour that we get is two levels of the home in broad daylight. While it is an incredible sight with sunlight beaming throughout the home, imagine how magical it is at night.

And I got to see just that: Glensheen lit not by the sun, but by the focused beam of a flashlight.

 Glensheen started doing flashlight tours in spring of 2014, according to Glensheen’s marketing director Jane Pederson.

“I think the flashlight tours are unique because the house becomes a totally different place at night,” Pederson said, walking through Glensheen.

She led me on the typical tour that students would take, explaining the history of Glensheen and pointing out what would be different at night.

I was lucky enough to experience the flashlight tour as well. It was interesting to see a piece of Duluth’s history in a different light.

First of all, let me just say that the flashlight tour starts off cooler because you get to see more of the mansion. The tour guides escort you up to the third floor instead of only the first two.

 The guides take their time to show you how different lights in the home offer a different glow and, in some cases, cool side effects.

Each room is themed to fit the particular occupant and, as a viewer, you learn about the rich culture and exactly why the Congdons who lived there chose each of the furnishings.

The mansion features many different things that a person is not likely to have seen in their life. Everything is replicated or preserved to look as close as possible to the original room. Rooms still contain some of the children’s clothes and oriental rugs. There is a room where the ceiling is made out of gold. Plus, if you haven’t seen an early 20th century bathroom, you might want to check it out.

I saw so many interesting details during the flashlight tour that aren’t as visible during the day. The fireplaces all glow and the lights give off pretty effects. While I don’t want to give it all away, my favorite part of the tour was a lampshade that is nothing during the day compared to what it is at night.

Because the flashlight tour is a specialized tour, UMD students do not receive a discount. The cost of the tour is $25.

While it may seem like $25 is expensive, especially for broke college students, Pederson had one response.

“It’s cheaper than a movie and dinner, and you get to see something different,” she said.

Pederson also said that for history buffs it’s great because the tour sizes are smaller, which means “more personal interactions with the tour guide.”

This will be the last time the tours will be held in the winter due to better lighting in the spring and fall. Times will vary by tour guide, but tours will run until the third weekend in March, every Friday and Saturday from 7-9 p.m.


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