The Glenn House has always been an iconic symbol for Cape. Located beside the old bridge (which has since been demolished but also repurposed into a park for the riverfront), it has stood the test of time since the 1880s when it was built as a wedding present for an influential figure’s daughter. Though I have lived in Cape all of my life and have even toured the Glenn once before, its exciting to learn new things about it. For instance the white facade we have all grown to love wasn’t original. Built as a farmhouse initially, a renovation at the turn of the century morphed it into the Queen Anne style. Also, the brick used to be a classic red, and no one really knows when it was painted.
My aunt was kind enough to set up a private tour for us, and the historical society that runs the Glenn was generous to oblige us the week before Halloween. Of course we were interested in house itself, but the tales of haunting figures, surges of inexplicable cold air, and ghost children in the windows were just as alluring.
Colored burlap, stenciled border and embossed paper cover the foyer and hallways.
The front of the house is split between two parlors, one for the gentlemen and the other for ladies. Our tour guides disagreed in a friendly banter about those room designations. One thing that was the same for both rooms, the scale of the furniture. How low the seats were back in the day!
The only thing I remembered from my previous tour (a grade school field trip) was the pedal at the hostess’ seat under the dining room table, to call the servants from the kitchen to clear the dishes or bring another course. Of course there are other good things as well, but what an impact that little mechanism made on me that I still remembered it!
The wallpaper in the dining room is a pattern based off the design in the Ford’s Theatre, and thus named the Lincoln. Also in the dining room is one of the two closets in the entire house. Anything with doors were taxable as rooms, so closets were limited in number to help save family’s money.
Upstairs there are three bedrooms, an open landing, another closet, and a bathroom off of the back balcony. More beautiful and delicate light fixtures adorned the ceilings. Check out the only orb I managed to capture above. Lowly dust particle or something spectral? I’ll let you decide.
In the nursery, wonderful things awaited us. This mini-stage reminded me of the marionettes in The Sound of Music; our guide explained that the babydoll-sized furniture scattered about were models shown door to door by salesmen…so interesting! Seeing the history within the Glenn House spurred conversation amongst my family about our own pasts, especially upon seeing christening gowns laid across the bed. It was truly an unforgettable evening.
We plan to go back go back to the Glenn House when the Christmas season arrives…mostly to see it decked and trimmed…and to see the carriage house. Knowing that people in my hometown care about the preservation of historic homes such as the Glenn House makes me excited both about the past and the future. I highly recommend researching your own towns for similar attractions, and if you ever find yourself in the Midwest, stop by Cape to enjoy the Glenn (and to say hi!).