3 separate construction projects is the answer

You may have noticed. There is a lot construction going on at Glensheen.

So what is it?

There are three projects — Water and Sewer line repairs, Tennis Court restoration and the restoration of the Gardener’s Cottage.

Project 1 — Tennis Court Restoration

A couple of years ago, there was a heavy rain event that caused significant damage to the Tennis Courts and especially the brick retaining wall that held up the court.

Now we have taken down the broken wall and have begun restoring the wall. In this photo you can see where the foundation is being re-poured. After the wall is completed they will begin resetting the Tennis Court poles and fence, and also the clay court as well. In order to match the original clay they have tested the old clay to make sure they put down the same material as was there before. We are not able to use the original clay because with time a large amount of plant life has grown in the clay, plus it was very thin in certain areas and much thicker in others. These two factors made it nearly impossible to remove and replace the original clay.

But it will be amazing to see the court back in use next summer.

Project 2. — Water and Sewer line repairs

For over five years now our existing waterline has been leaking pressurized water into the ground. With time that leak has been growing. There was real concern that any future cold winter may burst the line entirely. If that were to happen we would have to tear up the historic vegetable garden to fix it. Also, we currently do not have a fire hydrant on the property for any emergency that may occur. In fact the current line’s pressure is so weak that we can not put in fire suppression because of it.

In addition to that our existing sewer line is long past the date of needed repair. In fact the City of Duluth has mandated we fix our sewer lines.

Long story short — we need to fix both.

In researching the property we found that the easiest location to install the new lines was parallel to the historic cottonwood trees. Plus, adjacent to the cottonwoods was a group of pine trees near the end of their lifespan. Many were diseased. None of these trees were part of the landscape plan from 1907. Most records indicate that they were planted in the late 1960s. Once the lines are placed into the ground, next spring we are looking to replant and complete the row of cottonwoods from London Road to Lake Superior. We are making great effort to keep the four remaining cottonwoods . Lastly, we hope in the near future to plant an apple grove where the pine trees once were. This apple grove would be a great connection to the history of Chester and his development of the orchards in Duluth and out in Washington State.

3. Project 3 — Gardener Cottage

The Gardener’s Cottage at Glensheen for most of its life was used by the Wyness family, from 1922 to 2005. But from 2005 to the present we have struggled to figure a productive use of the space. We now have a plan.

The Gardener’s Cottage will become the Bridal Cottage.

For most of the weddings that take place at Glensheen, they use the sewing room in the Mansion for pre-wedding preparations. This space is unique and fun, but doesn’t have all the room that is desired by brides.

The first floor of the Gardener’s Cottage will now become the new bridal cottage. After it is complete we will now have one of the best pre-wedding prep spots in Minnesota.

Imagine as a bride having your own little cottage in the middle of our beautiful grounds, grounds that are considered one of the top ten gardens in Minnesota.

This cottage will have a dining room/ kitchen, living room, and a room specifically designed as a changing room for brides with an adjacent large bathroom. When the wedding party gets antsy to walk around they have the grounds of Glensheen to explore. Sure beats the basement of a church.

On another positive note — most of the work being done is making it look like it did in 1908. The 1970s kitchen will be replaced with the look and feel of a kitchen in 1908. There will even be a historic looking icebox that has been retrofitted with a modern fridge.


All these changes are needed and will further enhance the Glensheen experience tremendously. These changes would not have been possible without you, the visitor.