Though I am not a native to Duluth, winters spent nordic skiing in subzero temperatures, plunging into ice fishing holes in order to purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka (best done in mid-January), and a decade of winter-long refusals to wear a proper coat had all prepared me. They were all merely tests to see if I had what it took to survive here.
As an Art major and an art history buff, being a student creative coordinator for the Glensheen is a sweet gig because it combines my passions of being a story-teller, creating, and of course, fantasizing about living in a beautiful mansion.
Growing up in the Twin Cities, my deep appreciation for the northland began with my dad’s insistence on making the trek to the boundary waters three times a year in order to spend weeks canoeing in the solitude of the pines.
It was ritualized stops for Betty’s Pie, braving the icy waters of Lake Superior to scour for agates on rock beaches, and the multitudes of stars made visible during the nights that made the north shore feel like home long before my decision to attend UMD.
When we weren’t swatting at mosquitos in the woods, as a bonding mechanism, my mother and I often engaged in our favorite pastime of watching HGTV and gushing over the design of frivolous multi-million dollar houses.
This often extended into taking long walks around Lake of the Isles and down Summit Avenue in St. Paul to gawk at the Victorian mansions.
Unsurprisingly, this house envy has carried with me into college.
In my time studying Studio Art and Art History I have continued to develop an affinity for all things ornate, authentic, exotic, and expensive. Unfortunately, living on a college budget of mac & cheese and sleep deprivation has somewhat limited my ability to live in Jacobean revival style mansion at this moment. Being an art major has also not helped.
However, despite these circumstances, my ability to appreciate the original hardwood floors, customized stained glass windows, and imported rugs featured at the Glensheen has not been tainted. I am always a sucker for cast iron bed frames, bay windows, and walk out balconies.
Minnesota has a rich history of architectural excellence. From the Glensheen nestled on Lake Superior to the retro Frank Llyod Wright gas station, to the sleek facade of the Weisman Art Museum designed by Frank Gehry there are numerous examples of why preserving and maintaining our historic buildings is one of the most effective ways of teaching tourists and locals alike about how time has shaped our cities.
Frank Lloyd Wright Gas Station, Cloquet
Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis
As a videographer, graphic designer, and marketing assistant for the Glensheen, I am excited for this opportunity to capture the essence of the estate and to help share the story of what came before us. I am here to notice the minuscule details, to hear your thoughts and stories about your experiences with the grounds, and to share in the appreciation of preserving something beautiful and historic.