Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I took more time off from blogging in order to have a week of "Gramma Camp" for the grandchildren. The grandkids come and spend a week with us and we plan activities every day. It is   exhausting but filled with lots of memory packed fun! More about that in another post.

 But as I promised in a previous post I'm going to share more information about the 49 room mansion we live in. To read a bit about our life in this house, go here.

 First I need to share about the extraordinary man who first lived here and was the original owner.  After all it was HIS vision that led to this interesting home. He helped design it and it was his inventions that were incorporated into the home, that were way ahead of their time in 1917. Some of these inventions were: a central vacuum cleaner system, intercom throughout the home, electric garage door openers, and more.

His name was Dr. Henry Plummer. As the son of a physician he spent many days traveling with his father by horse and buggy as his father took care of the sick in the late 1800's. They lived in a little town called  Racine. Racine is  just outside Rochester where the mansion now stands. As a curious child, he learned much about medicine  and science while spending this time with his father. While growing up, he also had an interest in nature and camping. He spent a lot of time outdoors and camped out by himself in the nearby woods, developing an interest in trees and plants. He also developed an interest in music and the arts.  Being introduced to such a wide range of interests as a child would stand him in good stead.

As an adult, his passions extended to architecture, engineering, inventing, and history as well as horticulture, medicine, and the arts. Because of his varied interests he became known as "The Diversified Genius".  And Dr Plummer WAS considered a genius.

I began trying to learn about what makes someone a genius and one of the traits is that genius' develop interests that are formed from both sides of the brain. The right brain with it's creative, artsy side and the left brain with it's emphasis on science, numbers, and logical thinking. So in part, because of having developed interests that come from both sides of the brain, Henry had become a genius. So the theory goes.

 Another classic sign of a genius is the ability to focus on the concept  while ignoring the mundane. An example of focusing on the concept was his invention of the pneumatic tube system he designed for sending histories from one building to another at the Mayo Clinic and its hospitals. He used the concept of the circulatory system to design this with the tubes replicating the veins and arteries and the main history storehouse, replicating the heart. While the tube system is still in use for transporting medications today, the histories have now been transferred to computers.

There is much more to share about this amazing man. You can go here to learn more and I will continue to share about him in future posts along with the history of the house.

Henry married Daisy, a niece to the famous Mayo Brothers who founded the Mayo Clinic. Together they adopted two children, Robert and Gertrude. Henry passed away in 1936 at the age of 61. Daisy lived in the house until moving into a retirement community in the late 1960's and passed away in the 1970's.

 Both their children have passed away but we met and spent time with Gertrude  who was now in her 90's during the years we lived here.  Sadly, Robert committed suicide many years earlier.

We have met many of the extended family and former servants to the Plummers and have learned many interesting stories of earlier times in this house.

Henry was an integral part of shaping the world famous clinic along with the Mayo Brothers. Will Mayo said that hiring Henry Plummer was, "the best days work" of his life.

This is just a glimpse of the man who designed, helped build, and lived in the house in earlier days. It was in its heyday during the roaring 1920's with the Plummers hosting many lively parties to dignitaries and famous people who came to the Mayo Clinic for treatment.

I'll be sharing more weekly about the earlier times until the present in this amazing house.


  1. Such interesting history. What a cool place to live.

    1. The history IS interesting! And we love it here!

  2. So neat that you got to find out about the history of your home and who lived there before. We bought a 113 year old house last year and I wish I knew more about the people who lived here before, what they did, what the house looked like when it was first built. It's all so interesting to me!

    1. Wow! That's older than this old house. I'll bet you could dig up some information on it somewhere. It's fun to know!

  3. So fabulously blessed you are to live in such a historic home, a mansion no less! I can't wait to read the stories about living here......Do you ever get scared, it is so big...Any hauntings lol!?


  4. We DO feel blessed to live here! It was kind of scary at first. Old houses have a lot of weird noises going on and some STRANGE things too! I'll be sharing some of those in future posts. Now it's just "home" and I'm used to everything. Could be haunted...Dr. Plummer died here.


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