Glensheen Mansion in Duluth could undergo restoration

UMD staff and lawmakers have voiced support of the historic house’s request.

UMD is requesting $4 million in the University's capital bonding request to restore the Glensheen Mansion's garden terraces and replace HVAC, electrical and fire protection systems.

Courtesy of Glensheen Mansion

UMD is requesting $4 million in the University’s capital bonding request to restore the Glensheen Mansion’s garden terraces and replace HVAC, electrical and fire protection systems.

Madeline Deninger

The University of Minnesota is requesting state funds to restore the infrastructure of a historic mansion in Duluth.

The Glensheen Mansion, built in 1908 by a wealthy mining family in Duluth and donated to the University in 1979, needs $4 million from the Legislature for structural repair and restoration of its gardens, among other things. 

The mansion offers tours and events throughout the year and employs around 120 University students. Glensheen director Dan Hartman said it also serves as a focal point of the campus area. 

“The staff and faculty of the University pretty regularly use the Glensheen estate for a wide variety of events and programs, from classes on historic preservation to the end of the year celebration of the biology department,” he said. “The students refer [to Glensheen as] kind of the commons of UMD.”

The Glensheen renewal project would cost a total of $8 million — $4 million from the state and $4 million anticipated from outside donations. 

Bills introduced to the House and Senate higher education committees would fully fund the necessary $8 million, eliminating the need for nonstate funding. 

Rep. Jennifer Schultz, DFL-Duluth, authored the House bill. Schultz is also a professor of economics at UMD. 

“It’s one of the top tourist attractions in Duluth,” she said. “So, I think it’s an asset we need to invest in.”

Like the rest of the University’s bonding bill, the Glensheen request focuses on restoration of current facilities rather than new development. 

Schultz said she believes the project has a chance to receive funding this year, despite failure in past years. 

“I think the University has decided they’re going after money for asset preservation and restoration,” Schultz said. “And I think that message has been heard [at the Capitol], and I think people are open to that and are willing to invest in what we currently have.”

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated where the mansion is located. It is located off-campus.