Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Our Tour of Fairlawn Mansion, Superior, Wisconsin

My husband and I recently went camping at Pattison State Park.  It is located near two cities:  Superior, WI and Duluth, MN.  Because it was so close to those cities, and we were camping for three nights, we had plenty of time to have some city fun, as well as outdoors fun.

If you need to catch up on those camping travel posts start HERE.  I write travel/lifestyle posts every Wednesday.  I also write gardening/design posts on Sunday and have already show-cased two gardens we visited on this trip:  The Flowers of Enger Tower Park,  and The Roses of Leif Erikson Park.

Fairlawn Mansion is located in Superior, Wisconsin.  After hiking all day in Pattison State Park and experiencing the unexpected early end to our beach adventure (read THIS POST for that story),  we decided to go for a drive and check out the town of Superior.  Both my laptop and IPhone needed to be re-charged and I could easily do that with my car battery adapter, plus, I was ready to sit down in a comfortable seat and enjoy some air conditioning by now anyway.

So off we drove, with no other plans than to look around and recharge our computer devices.  We checked out the downtown, and drove by Lake Superior, and then we saw the mansion.  Now, we've been to Superior before so we've seen this mansion before.  It's impossible to miss.  It sits right across from a giant lake!  We've always admired it's beautiful structure, but we've never been inside.  Well, no time like the present right?  So my husband went inside and found out that there was one last tour available for the day, so we jumped on it!  It cost $9.00 per person, and was about a one hour tour.

The mansion was completed in 1891.  It was built for the lumber and mining baron Martin Pattison (recognize the name?  Same as the park we camped in).  It originally cost $150,000 to build, and today it's worth over three million.

Anyone can walk around the outside grounds free of charge and unguided.  But to see the inside, you have to take a tour.  I usually don't like tours, because I prefer to see and study things at my own pace, but I enjoyed this one.  The best part about this tour is that they let you inside each room.  I can't tell you how many tours I've taken where the room was roped off and you had to peek inside a doorway!  They also let you take photographs inside!  That's another rarity!

Fairlawn is a Queen Anne Victorian Style house.  It features a four story turret with a widow's watch over the bay.  This home has unbelievable, gorgeous views of Lake Superior!

The first floor of the mansion is fully restored with gilded murals on the ceilings.

There were so many gorgeous fireplaces in this home.  This was one of my favorites.

The music room had this beautiful screen in it.

And this piano:

I think I took a picture of every single fire place in the mansion, and there were many!  Each one was unique and had it's own style.

A beautiful, hand painted design on the ceiling, above a light fixture.

All the bedrooms had very interesting beds.  I loved the pink wallpaper in this room.

Although we could no longer go up the widow's watch staircase and turret because it was no longer safe, we were able to walk inside the first level of the staircase and take some pictures.

There were three floors open to the public, and this is the view looking down from the third floor staircase landing.  Only the main floor was totally renovated.  The second and third floors were modernized back in the early 1900's when Pattison's wife Grace donated the home to the Superior Children's Home and Refuge Society.  These floors are now more "museum-like" showing pictures and stories of what it was like to be an orphan living in this home.

 While looking at all the old pictures, my husband picked up a picture of a man holding orphans on his lap and said "Hey, that's Babe Ruth".  I didn't recognize him, and the tour guide didn't mention anything about Babe Ruth, so I just dismissed it as a look-a-like.  When we got home however, my husband looked it up on the Internet, and sure enough, it WAS a picture of Babe Ruth!  My husband certainly has a good eye, because that picture was so small and faded with age, I couldn't believe he caught it.

Can you spot Babe in the picture below?

Fairlawn is open everyday, all year long, except holidays.  It even has a gift shop with the cutest hand-made items made by local artists and crafters.  I bought the prettiest purple necklace there I can't wait to show you in a fashion post soon!

Have a great day!  Amy


  1. Wow how neat is that??? Old mansions like that fascinate me--the decor, the architecture, it's all so pretty! I'm not huge on tours either but I do appreciate learning more about what each room was used for!

  2. Great photos! Love the house! You got to do so much on your camping trip!!


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