Thursday, September 22, 2016


On my way through Superior, Wisconsin I passed by a very beautiful Victorian house facing the inlet on Lake Superior.  I recently had the opportunity to go back and visit the house known as Fairlawn.  It was built by a forestry and mining baron named Martin Pattison in 1891.

The first floor was decorated with furnishings from that era.  The most outstanding feature was the grand staircase with the beautifully draped velvet curtains.  The oak stairwell was hand carved.  The public rooms were in the front of the building and the "help" worked and lived in the back of the house complete with a back stairway used exclusively by the workers.

Martin Pattison was a rather interesting man who came from Canada, lived, worked and had a family in Michigan as Simeon Martin Thayer (his birth name) and "disappeared" one day, reinventing himself as Martin Pattison (his mother's maiden last name) in Minnesota.  He married and had six children.  He was well liked and became very wealthy (somewhat unscrupulously) and served in public office.  Ultimately he was "found out" and eventually he made things right with those he had "done wrong" including his first wife and two children.  All was forgiven and he died a respected citizen of the Duluth-Superior area.    the end

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