Passport: The Charm of Mayowood Mansion

Posted at: 07/11/2013 7:31 AM
Updated at: 07/11/2013 6:54 PM
By: James Wilcox

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It is one of the largest and most prominent homes in Minnesota and one you'll find just outside Rochester.

When built in 1910, Mayowood Mansion made headlines.

"The newspaper of the day said it cost $60,000 and was 38 rooms at that time," says Barb Dahlin with the Olmsted County Historical Society.

Dr. Charles H. Mayo, the co-founder of Mayo Clinic, built the home with his wife Edith. Three generations of Mayos lived there before donating it to the Olmsted County Historical Society.

Dahlin says, " The family asked the children if they wanted the mansion and they didn't so it was donated in the 1960's."

Today, the home is much like it was back then. Much of the family's furniture is in the house, along with their clothes, and even their shoes.

"Just about every nook and cranny is full. The drawers and closets are full," says Dahlin.

You'll also find priceless family mementos. There is a picture of Helen Keller. She visited the mansion and signed the guest book. There is also a personal letter to the family from President Franklin Roosevelt. It was written after one of the Mayo children was killed in a car accident in the 1930's.

There is a beautiful little bathroom that was specifically decorated for the Queen of Nepal when she and her husband visited Rochester.

Dahlin says, "The Queen ended up getting sick and didn't make it to the mansion. She stayed at the hotel, but the King made it to Mayowood."

The bathroom is one of eight and eleven bedrooms. There is also a children's playroom still filled with toys. You'll also find a beautiful courtyard with a large Oak tree.

"The family would come to the property before the house was built. One day Dr. Mayo mapped out the house, which is u-shaped, around the tree. And then they built the house just like that," says Dahlin.

The property sits on 3,000 acres with beautiful gardens, but the heart of the estate is the mansion. It's a massive home filled with decades of Mayo family memories.

Mayowood is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its exterior is currently under construction, but tours are still available.