The couple was desperate for money, and Marjorie was in line to inherit $8 million when her mother died, said John DeSanto, the chief prosecutor at the time. Learn More. On June 27, 1977, the aged heiress to a vast mining fortune is killed along with her night nurse at Glensheen, a posh mansion perched on the Lake Superior coast. Cold Spots: Glensheen Mansion by Steve Barton April 1, 2009, 12:58 pm 2k Views Duluth, MN – The newspaper headlines read like a tale from a dime-store detective novel. Just after midnight on Wednesday, July 6, Detective Waller arrived at the hospital. Then the story took another turn when the Minnesota Supreme Court court threw out Roger Caldwell's conviction based on the new evidence introduced at Marjorie's trial. Covering Elisabeth’s face was a pink blood-flecked satin pillow. The more he dug, the more interested he became in Marjorie and Roger Caldwell. A police German Shepard was brought in and upon searching the mansion, police discovered what they suspected to be the intruder's point of entry. Glensheen Mansion Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and said to be haunted. Elisabeth Congdon was born to mining magnate Chester Adgate Congdon, and his wife, Clara Hesperia Bannister Congdon on April 22, 1894 in Duluth, Saint Louis County, Minnesota, USA.In 1905, Chester began building Glensheen Historic Estate, a 39-room mansion on their 22-acre (89,000 m 2) estate in Duluth, Minnesota, seeing it finished 3 years later. And they ended up acquitting her. “Velma’s dead; Miss Elisabeth’s been murdered,” Garvue said in a panic. Police Officer Chris Kucera was the first to reach the Congdon estate at 7:03 a.m. He recalled an argument his wife had had with Elisabeth Congdon’s adopted daughter Marjorie. There is another book that features many pictures and much history. This was presented as evidence as well. 40 years later, Hartman said the murders are still fresh and raw for members of the Congdon family, some of whom sit on the museum's board. The murders of heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse were far from perfect. When Elisabeth saw the movie at the Duluth premiere she was surpised at the dark tone. He made note of the dresser in the room having all its drawers pulled out the same length. A diving bell was lifted from water and debris inside the boathouse at Duluth's Glensheen Mansion on Thursday, July 11, 2019. Roger, still out of it when he was told, just rolled his eyes, shook his head and went back to sleep. When it opened two years after the murders, tour guides were instructed not to talk about them, because of the sensational nature of the crimes, and because it was still so raw and emotional for the families. from Carleton College, and … Illustration by Anthony Peruzzo. It was the last time she would see Elisabeth Congdon or Velma Pietila alive. Another police dog that was on-scene picked up a scent trail from the back porch with the broken window and followed it down to the lake. … He never saw her again. The grotesque story is nonetheless a true one that unfolded almost 40 years ago now: Duluth’s Glensheen murders, an atrocity that riveted the region for years. She enjoyed card games and was difficult to beat at gin rummy and hearts. Penniless, he was forced to move to his hometown in Pennsylvania, and collect welfare. Hearing this information got Detective Waller’s attention and he began to investigate further. In a plea bargain, the remainder of Roger’s prison sentence was dismissed as authorities hoped his confession would implicate Marjorie—though that didn’t turn out to be the case. When she touched Pietila’s arm she could feel it was cold and stiff. The murders of heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse were far from perfect. "Someone breaks into a 39-room mansion and killed the nurse on the grand stairway," with a candlestick, recalled Joe Kimball, a reporter with the Minneapolis Tribune who covered the murders. Roger Caldwell, when he was arrested for the murders of heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, in St. Louis County, on July 8, 1977. A few years later Elisabeth Congdon and her night nurse were killed in a brutal murder in the mansion. She also was the only one of the seven children to live in her family’s 39 room Duluth mansion, located on the shores of Lake Superior, her whole adult life. Investigators focused almost immediately on one of Elizabeth's adopted daughters, Marjorie Caldwell, and her husband Roger. Goldschmidt also made note of some hemorrhaging in Congdon’s eyes. Kucera entered the house. Making note of the bloody brass candlestick, Waller, being careful where he stepped, walked up to Elisabeth Congdon’s bedroom. "Even though she's been acquitted, I think there's lots of questions about that.". That's because the operators say there's more to the Congdons and Glensheen than this one grisly crime. Finding no pulse, he continued up the stairs to Elisabeth’s room. Because of the notoriety of the crime, it makes sense that a few other rumors cropped up along with it. 1-16 of 18 results for "glensheen mansion book" Will to Murder: The True Story Behind the Crimes and Trials Surrounding the Glensheen Killings by Gail Feichtinger , John DeSanto , et al. "Then went upstairs and smothered the 83-year-old heiress in her bed with a satin pillow.". Marjorie was found not guilty of murder. Photo courtesy of Glensheen Manor. At this point, there was not even the slightest guess as to what the small injuries could have been. Elisabeth Congdon laid face up with her bare legs exposed and the sheets pulled back. Marjorie later was indicted on a variety of other strange but unrelated crimes in the southwestern United States. In the mean time they stayed in the Twin Cities at a Holiday Inn. Hotels near Glensheen, The Historic Congdon Estate: (0.80 mi) A G Thomson House Bed and Breakfast (1.08 mi) The Firelight Inn on Oregon Creek Bed and Breakfast (1.11 mi) Beacon Pointe on Lake Superior (2.41 mi) Fitger's Inn (0.96 mi) Cotton Mansion; View all hotels near Glensheen, The Historic Congdon Estate on Tripadvisor That's in part because of what happened afterward — when the story gets even crazier. Detective Gary Waller arrived at Glensheen just after 8 a.m. and after parking his car he proceeded to the mansion’s front door. Fearing the worst, he had to wait until Inspector Grams broke the news to him. The crime scene detectives processed the staircase and Congdon’s room before they finished in the nurse's room. That's when Kimball decided to write a book about the case, "Secrets of the Congdon Mansion. He had received a call from someone at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport saying the car keys were found by a maintenance worker in a garbage can. The two women told the officer about the homicides and he went in to check for himself. Though no direct evidence linked her son-in-law to the crime, circumstantial evidence -- the $8 million his wife would inherit -- made him the … Evidence was also found in Caldwell's Duluth hotel room. That heiress was Elizabeth Congdon, the last living child of Chester Congdon, who'd earned his fortune developing the Mesabi Iron Range. Taking over the case as the lead detective, Waller then made his way up the stairs. And a witness from the first trial changed her story to say she saw Roger elsewhere the day of the murder. In the afternoon of June 27, Detective Waller received a call from Loren Pietila again. The Caldwell’s remained in Minnesota for several days following Elisabeth’s funeral, waiting for the reading of Elisabeth’s will. A movie filmed at Duluth's Glensheen Mansion earlier this year will air Sunday and again Monday night.. "We always believed, and the whole theory of the case was, that she was the woman behind the man," DeSanto said. Gail Feichtinger first researched the Glensheen murders as a crime reporter for the Duluth News-Tribune and Duluth Herald. And he said it's too grisly to discuss on tours with families. ", "I went on one of the early tours," he said, "and one of the first things the guide said, was, 'when Ms. Congdon passed away, she willed the estate to the university.' Elisabeth had out lived her brothers and sisters and therefore had control over the famous Congdon fortune. She was not known to have ever been considered stuck up or treated anyone like they were beneath her. Elisabeth Congdon’s funeral was to be held at Glensheen on Thursday June, 30. Glensheen, the Historic Congdon Estate is a 20,000 square foot mansion in Duluth, Minnesota, United States, operated by the University of Minnesota Duluth as a historic house museum.Glensheen sits on 12 acres of waterfront property on Lake Superior, has 39 rooms and is built in the Jacobean architectural tradition, inspired by the Beaux-Arts styles of the era. Aside from its architectural significance, Glensheen is noteworthy for the murders of Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, Velma Pietila, on June 27, 1977. Kucera then went to the mansion’s front door where he was met by Conger and Garvue. DeSanto charged Roger Caldwell first. History Theatre’s popular musical “Glensheen,” about an infamous Minnesota murder case in a Duluth mansion in 1977, was due to return to the St. Paul theater’s stage for the… University of Minnesota officials, who now own the Congdon Mansion under the terms of Miss Congdon’s will, … Conger however, found the front door already unlocked. The blood being wiped from the killer to Elisabeth Congdon as she fought her murderer. Glensheen, The Historic Congdon Estate: Glensheen Mansion - See 1,245 traveler reviews, 643 candid photos, and great deals for Duluth, MN, at Tripadvisor. Klosowsky recalled looking at her watch, it was 11:05 p.m. When Goldschmidt finished making examinations of the bodies, they were removed and taken to a local hospital for autopsy. Kucera left Elisabeth’s room and went back down the stairs. See more ideas about glensheen, glensheen mansion, mansions. Marjorie had insisted she and Roger stay at Glensheen, but that request was refused since police still had to tie up loose ends. After some small talk and discussing the day’s events, Nurse Klosowsky left for the night. Glensheen Mansion, Star Tribune The diving bell was discovered during recent restoration work on the Glensheen boathouse. Inspector Grams, who was the officer-in-charge, met Waller near the staircase. Dr. Goldschmidt went to examine the body of Elisabeth Congdon. At first she thought Pietila had fallen down the steps, but upon a closer look she could see things were much worse. June 27 marks the 40th anniversary of the Glensheen Mansion murders. Less than five years later, he committed suicide on May 17, 1988 by slitting his wrists with a steak knife in his apartment. They called police and reported the murders. The mystery became a media sensation. Glensheen director Dan Hartman estimated it at 8 … Police had to work at a slow pace to make sure they did not miss the slightest clue that could lead to the killer. Police in Golden, Colorado found a missing gold coin in an envelope in Caldwell's mailbox. If you politely ask any of the Glensheen Mansion staff about the murders, however, they will tastefully speak about the matter and share details from that tragic night. Photo courtesy of Glensheen Manor. In 2005, the museum reversed course. On many nights she would fall asleep watching TV, but that night she “needed a good night’s rest.” She said her goodbyes to Klosowsky and fell asleep. Her life at Glensheen ended abruptly on June 27, 1977, when the ailing, 83-year-old heiress was killed in the mansion along with her night nurse, Velma Pietila, 67. There are certainly other tragic places in Minnesota, but few have captured the imagination as much as Glensheen. Unable to hold the cards as a result of the stroke, Elisabeth used a special board that was made for her. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together. 40 years later, Glensheen murders still grip Duluth, Glensheen, home museums rethink rules to lure visitors. Jun 12, 2015 - by Cal Schoonover. Making note of the small drops of blood on the carpet and wall, Waller figured it looked like the nurse had put up a fight. Elisabeth Congdon, the owner spent winters in Tuscon so the film crew filmed during that time period. The murder at the Glensheen Mansion remains one of Minnesota's most well-known mysteries. With help of Twin City authorities, Waller was able to get a search warrant to search the Caldwell’s room. Grams gave Waller a quick rundown of what has been found and a description of the two bodies. The book—called “The definitive book, the story behind the story of the Congdon-Pietila Murders”—is the only volume on the subject of the murders available for sale at Glensheen. When he came across the body of Velma Pietila, he could see she had been beaten to death. It's one of the most popular attractions in Minnesota, but Glensheen Mansion has a darker past than most historic homes you'll find in America. An additional note: The History Theatre musical, "Glensheen" is on stage starting July 6 and runs through July 30, 2017. Garvue, terrified, ran down the stairs to the first floor where Conger was waiting to bring the tray. The blood type turned out to be type O; the same blood type of Velma Pietila and Roger Caldwell. I've adored Glensheen since I was a child when my father would tell me the ghost story of the murder driving up to the Northshore and then as a young woman when I took the tour with friends. Jul 7, 2016 - Explore Deanna's board "Glensheen Mansion", followed by 314 people on Pinterest. Thousands have toured it since it opened as a museum in 1979. Before the body of Velma Pietila was removed, next to her body police found what appeared to be hair next to her hand. So they made a deal. The court granted him a new trial. You make MPR News possible. The next day, DeSanto charged Marjorie with conspiring to kill her mother. The fight had been over treatment of Elisabeth Congdon. Chester Adgate Congdon and his wife Clara has come to their fortune through mining and land investment. Concerned for Congdon, Nurse Garvue was worried, but continued upstairs to Elisabeth’s bedroom. "We spend a lot of time trying to make sure that the focus of Glensheen is not the murder. Drupal theme by ThemeSnap.com. This was now two years after the murders and, as Kimball recalled, two new developments hurt the prosecution. Glensheen director Dan Hartman talks about a Congdon family portrait. "She brought a birthday cake in for one of the lawyers one day. It was Marjorie, who stood to inherit $8 million after her mother died. … When Elisabeth saw the movie at the Duluth premiere she was surpised at the dark tone. Some small talk was passed between the two and Nurse Garvue then went to go upstairs to check on her patient. Blood money: The grisly murders at Duluth's Glensheen mansion Friday, December 7, 2018 by Hannah Jones in News. I am fascinated by the story of the Congdon family, their triumphs and ways of life! There were also empty jewelry boxes scattered on the floor. A gift of $17 makes a difference. The nurse working that day was Mildred Klosowsky. He noticed the pooled blood under her head. Is it a real haunting, or is it just an urban legend? See more ideas about glensheen mansion, glensheen, duluth. Explore the mansion digitally with a guide. said Kimball. Marjorie was released from prison in 2004. The historic home, completed by the Congdon family in 1908, is perched on the shore of Lake Superior and was the backdrop of a new “Hitchcockian” psychological thriller called "Girl Missing", starring Clint Eastwood's daughter, Francesca Eastwood. With the death of Elisabeth, the Glensheen estate, which includes the 39-room mansion, carriage house, boathouse, and gardener’s cottage, was left to the University of Minnesota and has remained largely intact, down to the unopened house-canned jars of pickles in the basement. Portraits of Chester and Clara ... he built the Glensheen Mansion in 1909. She was a well-kept person for someone her age and she prided herself in her appearance. With the death of Elisabeth, the Glensheen estate, which includes the 39-room mansion, carriage house, boathouse, and gardener’s cottage, was left to the University of Minnesota and has remained largely intact, down to the unopened house … Waller entered Caldwell’s room and read Roger his rights. Conger, shocked by what she just heard, leaned on Garvue for support. Hazel Conger, the maid, served dinner in the library, where after consuming her meal, Elisabeth would either watch TV or play more cards. Around 10 p.m. Nurse Klosowsky wheeled Elisabeth onto the elevator that took her to the second floor, where her bedroom was located. Finding her body on the bed and seeing no sign of life, there was nothing more he could do. Learn More. Other family members and household staff all shared the same opinion as to who they felt had the biggest gain in the death of Elisabeth Congdon. It was the stuff of an Agatha Christie novel. As of September 1, 1998 she was serving time for arson in New Mexico. Garvue was able to see Pietila’s face was covered in dried blood, her jaw also appeared broken. Not knowing what to expect, he made his way up the stairs and when he saw Pietila, he checked for signs of life. Police concluded she had been beaten with her own shoe. A pane of glass in a basement window was broken, and a mark that appeared to have been caused by a foot impression was found on a sofa underneath the broken window. She had actually retired the month before and was looking forward to playing golf, traveling and spending more time with her husband. Follow Us. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. | May 1, 2009 The police had circumstantial evidence against the Caldwell’s, however they lacked hard evidence. "It really was like a house in a time capsule.". In 1983 Roger Caldwell confessed to the Glensheen killings, pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. The treating doctor found high levels of valium in Roger’s blood stream. Police learned of the serious money problems the couple had. Marjorie Congdon's mugshot, when she was arrested for arson in Arizona on March 25, 1991. ... Glensheen was the site of the murders of heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, Velma Pietila, on June 27, 1977. Description. That night she was asked to fill in for the night nurse, who needed the night off. Feichtinger was born in Stamford, Connecticut, studied journalism at Southern Methodist University and received a B.A. While making rounds, she was to unlock the front door so the arriving day nurse could enter and not have to ring the doorbell and disturb Elisabeth. Duluth officials were outraged by the Minnesota Supreme Court's decision, but knew they lacked hard evidence. There were well over 100 people interviewed in connection with the Congdon case, but this number was easily thinned. The county medical examiner, Dr. Goldschmidt, arrived around 8:45 a.m. and examined Velma Pietila’s body first. For this he was able to evade life imprisonment and be eligible for parole. There was also blood on her uniform and a large pool of blood on the polished floor. I adore the Glensheen mansion as well as the Bed and Breakfast named, The Mansion. Elisabeth had spent the weekend at her summer home on the Brule River in Wisconsin, just like she did every weekend. Caldwell was paroled on July 5, 1983, after serving five years in prison. Why don't Glensheen tours focus on the murders? To police, it was obvious the killer had used the sink to wash up before leaving. Apr 29, 2020 - Photos and videos of the Glensheen mansion in the past. Jul 7, 2016 - Explore Deanna's board "Glensheen Mansion", followed by 314 people on Pinterest. Glensheen Mansion, Star Tribune The diving bell was discovered during recent restoration work on the Glensheen boathouse. The murders and the resulting story are infamous in Minnesota. But even today, guides don't discuss the murder during tours, although they will answer questions after, explained Glensheen Director Dan Hartman. Marjorie and her husband Roger Caldwell were at the top of the list. A portrait of Chester Congdon looks over visitors to the Glensheen Mansion's library on Wednesday. But prosecutors didn't want to risk a not guilty verdict. Loren Pietila, Velma Pietila’s husband, arrived at Glensheen and wanted to know what happened to his wife. A latent fingerprint was removed from the envelope containing the gold coin and was later compared to Roger’s prints taken at the time of his arrest. And I whispered to the guide, 'You know she was brutally murdered, right?'". While he was in prison, Marjorie divorced him and he had no access to the money promised by his ex-wife. It was 4:30 p.m. The one corner of the pillow that covered Elisabeth Congdon’s face was still crumpled from where the killer held it in place. Roger’s trial began on May, 9, 1978. July 15, 1977. Marjorie Caldwell served two prison terms for arson, and she's been linked to several mysterious deaths. Police arrest Roger Caldwell and charge him with committing the murders, allegedly to speed the collection of his wife’s hefty share of the inheritance. Marjorie’s case began right after her husband's conviction. Thinking Pietila must have forgotten, Conger continued on. There was a strict routine followed by staff when it came time for locking and unlocking doors and windows. The same bag that was found in Roger and Marjorie’s Holiday Inn room. It was a clear case of arson, and five people from Marlborough were duly convicted of the crime. Leaving Congdon’s room, Waller and the Inspector went across the hall to the nurse’s room. "The big mystery still is, did Roger do it alone or with someone else there, and how involved if at all was Marjorie? A few years later Elisabeth Congdon and her night nurse were killed in a brutal murder in the mansion. Pietila’s purse was on the bed, looking as though it had been gone through. A tour guide shares historical facts and interesting details about the mansion and Congdon family. The Minnesota Supreme Court ordered a new trial for August 7, 1982. We learn about Marjorie's post-mother-smother life and Roger's pathetic and short existence and the lessons learned from foolishly being Marjorie's lapdog. A Retelling of Minnesota’s Infamous Glensheen Murders. For many years, the public tours at Glensheen Mansion didn't discuss the grisly murders – even if you asked about them. Is it a real haunting, or is it just an urban legend? "It was clear she was then on a path to wanting to speed up her inheritance," said DeSanto, who's a judge now and co-author of a book on the case, "Will to Murder.". He was found guilty and given two life sentences. Making note of the small abrasion on her nose. Pietila’s name and phone number were on the key chain luckily. By 10:45 Elisabeth was finally settled in bed and was exhausted. Update: 2019-01-02. While the dogs and some police were searching the grounds, Detective Waller began the difficult task of photographing the bodies and processing evidence. Glensheen at the time was owned by the Congdon family. Police searched the car and some blood was found on the floor near the gas pedal. Wyness at this time had no idea what had taken place inside Glensheen. Duluth officials were outraged by the Minnesota Supreme Court's decision, but knew they lacked hard evidence. When Detective Waller and Inspector Gram entered Congdon’s room, they noticed the lamp next to her bed was on. 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