I am fascinated by the story of the Congdon family, their triumphs and ways of life! They called police and reported the murders. The murders of heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse were far from perfect. That night she was asked to fill in for the night nurse, who needed the night off. 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. That's because 40 years later, Hartman said, about 70 percent of visitors don't even know about the murders. She enjoyed card games and was difficult to beat at gin rummy and hearts. "The big mystery still is, did Roger do it alone or with someone else there, and how involved if at all was Marjorie? "We always believed, and the whole theory of the case was, that she was the woman behind the man," DeSanto said. He was found guilty and given two life sentences. There were well over 100 people interviewed in connection with the Congdon case, but this number was easily thinned. Is it a real haunting, or is it just an urban legend? The third shift nurse was supposed to chain and bolt the front door and Conger would unlock it on her morning rounds. He noted she was beaten almost beyond recognition. 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. Less than five years later, he committed suicide on May 17, 1988 by slitting his wrists with a steak knife in his apartment. Meanwhile, during all this legal back and forth, the Glensheen mansion had opened to the public. Caldwell was paroled on July 5, 1983, after serving five years in prison. At first she thought Pietila had fallen down the steps, but upon a closer look she could see things were much worse. Thinking Pietila must have forgotten, Conger continued on. Description. Police had to work at a slow pace to make sure they did not miss the slightest clue that could lead to the killer. 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. Just after midnight on Wednesday, July 6, Detective Waller arrived at the hospital. And they ended up acquitting her. Police Officer Chris Kucera was the first to reach the Congdon estate at 7:03 a.m. Marjorie’s case began right after her husband's conviction. Elisabeth Congdon was the youngest daughter of Chester Congdon, who was an attorney and made millions in the mining industry. Roger confessed to the murders, but was freed after serving just over five years in jail. See more ideas about glensheen, glensheen mansion, mansions. She enjoyed card games and was difficult to beat at gin rummy and hearts. Aside from its architectural significance, Glensheen is noteworthy for the murders of Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, Velma Pietila, on June 27, 1977. Marjorie was found not guilty of murder. And a witness from the first trial changed her story to say she saw Roger elsewhere the day of the murder. Police concluded she had been beaten with her own shoe. ... Glensheen was the site of the murders of heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, Velma Pietila, on June 27, 1977. Follow Us. Loren told Grams he “pleaded with her not to go,” but her mind was made up and she left at 10:45 p.m. Roger Caldwell, when he was arrested for the murders of heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, in St. Louis County, on July 8, 1977. After some small talk and discussing the day’s events, Nurse Klosowsky left for the night. The fight had been over treatment of Elisabeth Congdon. 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 And he said it's too grisly to discuss on tours with families. Glensheen, built just northeast of downtown Duluth in 1909, was the audacious symbol of Congdon's wealth and made the murders that much more intriguing. Rather than risk an acquittal or a hung jury, officials struck a deal with Caldwell, allowing him to plead guilty to two, John Wayne Gacy Confessed to Killing Dozens (December 22, 1978). 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. The mystery became a media sensation. After police learned of the Caldwell's financial troubles and the constant begging for money by the two, Marjorie and Roger became prime suspects. In the afternoon of June 27, Detective Waller received a call from Loren Pietila again. Wyness at this time had no idea what had taken place inside Glensheen. 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. … There is another book that features many pictures and much history. He recalled an argument his wife had had with Elisabeth Congdon’s adopted daughter Marjorie. The next day, DeSanto charged Marjorie with conspiring to kill her mother. As usual, Elisabeth slept with her gold watch on and her favorite ring -- a platinum strawberry dome ring that had 12 diamonds and 15 round sapphires. Photo courtesy of Glensheen Manor. May 12, 2017. In the mean time they stayed in the Twin Cities at a Holiday Inn. On July 5, 1977, Roger Caldwell had become ill after eating and having a few drinks with his wife. The 83-year-old heiress was smothered in her sleep with a pillow-case. That's because the operators say there's more to the Congdons and Glensheen than this one grisly crime. Dr. Goldschmidt went to examine the body of Elisabeth Congdon. Detective Waller found bloodstains on the door jamb and many faint spots of blood in the sink and on the tiled floor. Update: 2019-01-02. It was 4:30 p.m. By July 6, jurors began deliberations. Inspector Grams, who was the officer-in-charge, met Waller near the staircase. Marjorie later was indicted on a variety of other strange but unrelated crimes in the southwestern United States. Police in Golden, Colorado found a missing gold coin in an envelope in Caldwell's mailbox. DeSanto charged Roger Caldwell first. 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. The standard Glensheen tour had a twist on Wednesday night as guides noted different points of interest in the mansion: a small window, a laundry chute and a Bible on a pedestal in a bedroom. During the time of her autopsy, police learned the small puncture wounds on Pietila’s face, forearm and finger most likely was caused by nails. At the time of questioning, Waller also observed Roger Caldwell’s right hand was swollen and he had a cut on his lip. After settling in to the nurses room, Pietila propped open the window with her thermos and read her book I Didn’t Come Here to Argue by Peg Bracken. Marjorie was released from prison in 2004. By then another police officer had arrived. They found a receipt from the day of the murders from the Twin Cities Airport gift shop for a suede suit bag. Investigators focused almost immediately on one of Elizabeth's adopted daughters, Marjorie Caldwell, and her husband Roger. Very little focus on the murders. Conger, shocked by what she just heard, leaned on Garvue for support. The night of June 27, 1977, Roger broke into Glensheen to burgle the 39-room mansion on Lake Superior that belonged to Marjorie’s mother, 83-year-old Duluth heiress Elisabeth Congdon. 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. Elisabeth Congdon, the owner spent winters in Tuscon so the film crew filmed during that time period. Some small talk was passed between the two and Nurse Garvue then went to go upstairs to check on her patient. He also observed the bruise on her left forearm and concluded she must have put up a fight with the killer. Though no direct evidence linked her son-in-law to the crime, circumstantial evidence -- the $8 million his wife would inherit -- made him the obvious suspect. He became shaky and almost passed out before finally going to the hospital. The next morning, just before 7 a.m. Hazel Conger began making her normal rounds. Police were sent to the airport and after a brief search, the abandon car was found in the parking lot. Pietila agreed since she missed Elisabeth, despite her husband’s objections to her working that night. Nurse Klosowsky carried the suitcases upstairs to Elisabeth's bedroom. They were the same items taken from Elisabeth Congdon’s bedroom the night of the murders. 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. Though no direct evidence linked her son-in-law to the crime, circumstantial evidence -- the $8 million his wife would inherit -- made him the … When he came across the body of Velma Pietila, he could see she had been beaten to death. Police Officer Chris Kucera was the first to reach the Congdon estate at 7:03 a.m. The murders of heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse were far from perfect. Why don't Glensheen tours focus on the murders? Glensheen director Dan Hartman estimated it at 8 … But for veteran crime writer and crusading editor J. Patrick O’Connor, the facts—or a lack of them—didn’t add up. Hazel Conger, the maid, served dinner in the library, where after consuming her meal, Elisabeth would either watch TV or play more cards. Finding her body on the bed and seeing no sign of life, there was nothing more he could do. Not knowing what to expect, he made his way up the stairs and when he saw Pietila, he checked for signs of life. He noticed the pooled blood under her head. Glensheen director Dan Hartman talks about a Congdon family portrait. Pietila arrived at Glensheen shortly before 11 p.m. and parked her car near the mansion's front door. Grams gave Waller a quick rundown of what has been found and a description of the two bodies. "She brought a birthday cake in for one of the lawyers one day. One of the first things Waller found strange was the lack of security. 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. Become a Member. Evidence was also found in Caldwell's Duluth hotel room. Glensheen Mansion Tours do not highlight this tragedy, however, because they choose not to exploit the event or allow it to overshadow the Congdon family legacy. "I think also a downside of the murder is that people always viewed it from that lens, even in the history community," he said, "that they kind of forget it's actually this incredibly important historic site for our state.