I’ll Build You A Castle
As promised, this is my very favorite of the old houses for sale in Minnesota. This house in Glencoe, Minnesota is a towering reminder of the towns heritage. While most of its extravagant details have been lost in recent years, the fact that it is still standing (and according to the City’s website, is the oldest home in Glencoe to remain) is an extraordinary feat.
This house was built by Joseph Jay Brechet construction began in 1895 and was finished in 1899. Brechet was born in Buffalo, New York in 1861 and when he was a young child his parents moved the family to Glencoe, Minnesota. As a teenager, Brechet worked in Glencoe at a local store, later leaving to work at stores throughout the midewest in Iowa and Wisconsin. Eventually, Brechet returned to his hometown of Glencoe, and made an offer to his old employer, he bought the store from its owner, slowly, over a period of time, by paying a portion of his wage he acquired the store. By the age of 28 he owned it.
Brechet was a hard working, self made man. He had a true business sense, and it wasn’t long before he had acquired a small fortune. A cousin of his in Buffalo introduced him in writing to a young beauty from New York, Jennie Frankenstein. It wasn’t long before the two were writing constantly. Brechet, who was known for his passion and determination, knew what he wanted. He wrote in a letter to the lovely Jennie a marriage proposal, he proposed that if she would come to Glencoe and spend her life with him he would build her a castle in which she would spend the rest of her days.
What girl could resist?
He traveled to Buffalo to see her and a short two weeks later they were married. True to his word Brechet did build Jennie a castle. It contained every luxury available, and he lavished dear Jennie with anything her heart desired. Before long the Brechets welcomed two children, young Bertha and Carl. It was around this time that Brechet took up photography. He took hundreds of photographs of his young children and lovely wife, his eye was superb and the documentation of their life, and home are unsurpased. The Minnesota Historical Society holds a collection of many of Brechet’s photographs including those of his many stores and several family vacations.
I wish I could post these pictures directly but, unfortunately, the best way of doing things is to direct you to the MNHS to view them. I really hope you check them out and enjoy the fantastic images!
Brechet Family Photographs:
***The Eye of Brechet by Virginia L. Martin, Minnesota Historical Society. See this article for further information, beautifully written and complete with many of the family’s photographs.