Your Green Life: "Green at Glensheen"

By KBJR News 1

October 31, 2013 Updated Oct 31, 2013 at 8:41 AM CDT

Duluth, MN
Built over one–hundred years ago, the Glensheen Estate is an iconic destination in Duluth. Its also a prime example of sustainable practices, both present and past.

Dan Hartman, the Interim Director of the Glensheen Estate, told me, "The self–sufficient nature of this estate, when it was originally built they built it kind of like an island so they could be sustainable from all different levels."

The estate had its own water source from near by streams, its own stable, and of course its own garden. This was a scientific hobby for Chester Congdon back in the early 1900's.

"Chester was really into the experimental garden, and so he tried over 200 varieties of plants on the estate when he first built the house. And the same thing today, we try a lot of different experimental plants in our garden." said Hartman.

With such a short growing season and cool climate, even Chester was curious to find the best sustainable food source. But what did the Congdon family do in the winter months?

"So since you have all these gardens, in order for you to be sustainable you have to be able to use it throughout the year." says Hartman, "So this is where they would do that, they canned in here and a couple other rooms all throughout the house, but as you imagine we create 2500 pounds today, they probably created a similar amount then."

Currently, the Glensheen Estate is producing twenty–five–hundred pounds of produce, which it then donates to the Chum Center in Duluth.
This historic landmark has long been an innovator of green practices, which Duluth is once again embracing.

Hartman said, "I think its really interesting that a hundred years ago this was what the ideal everyone wanted, and then over a hundred years that kind of went away. and now we are full circle right back to it again."

One long term goal of the Glensheen Estate is to re–create the greenhouses that the family would have used 100 years ago.

Meteorologist Adam Lorch