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The History of Cedar Cliff

    Cedar Cliff was built over three summers, most of the work being done by a Winona carpenter named William Schuminski. He finished his work on July 20 in 1931.

    The land was originally purchased from the US government by Nels Olson, a Swedish farmer who came to Minnesota in the 1880s to join his son Charles A. A. Nelson. Charles was a fisherman, one of the first immingrant residents of Cook County and the man who began what is now Lutsen Resort. The first certificate of title for this property and much more surrounding it, was issued in November of 1925 when Charles, 61 years old, bought the land from his brothers.

    Margaret Tearse, who had this house built, bought the land from Charles 23 days after his title was registered. Miss Tearse, who was 35 years old at the time, lived in Winona. We have been told that she was a concert violinist and that she had this house built for herself and her husband-to-be. The story says that the engagement was broken by her intended bridegroom and that the honeymoon she planned here never happened. Miss Tearse owned Cedar cliff until her death in 1944.

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The House

Cedar Cliff was built in the Prairie Craftsman style, a clean and direct design that hints at the Mission Oak furniture style so popular in the early years of this century, and experiencing a revival today. The house sits solidly on bedrock, looking south over Lake Superior.

The Grounds

     The property features 270 feet of stunning Superior lakeshore. The shoreline here runs more east and west than north and south. The east or up-lake shore is 30 degrees off true magnetic east. Look true east and you are pointed at Cape Gargantua 260 miles away in Ontario.

 The down-lake shore toward Duluth is more or less west. At certain times of the year, you can stand on our rocky point (photo at right) and see the sun both rise and set over Lake Superior.


All Images Copyright Cedar Cliff Retreat 2002