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Auction will feature furniture from Sheldon mansion

This photo shows an original T.B. Sheldon house bed and dresser with mirror that are part of next week’s estate sale. 1 / 2
Furniture was included in the purchase of the Sheldon mansion from the Sheldon family by Michael Nilan in 1909. Some of that same furniture is part of an estate sale next week in Moorhead, Minn. 2 / 2

The public can take part in a rare opportunity to snag original pieces of furniture from the Sheldon mansion.

The original home at 805 W. Fourth St. in Red Wing still stands today and is part of the National Registry of Historic Places.  

The furniture pieces will be part of an estate sale next week in Moorhead, Minn., conducted by Marx Estate and House Sales. 

The funiture’s journey up north was that of inheritance, explained Eileen Roberts of Edina, Minn. Her great-godfather Michael Nilan bought the estate from Sheldon's heirs on Aug. 3, 1909.

“Family lore is that the purchase price for everything was $5,000,” Roberts said.

She explained her great-grandparents had 12 children — the oldest, Sara “Sadie” Rosalia Nilan Eichinger, was her grandmother. 

“My mother, Eileen Eichinger Roberts, and her two siblings were born in the Sheldon mansion,” she recalled. Her mom, who was the middle child, was born in December 1918 and died in July 2012.

Robert’s mom ended up inheriting some of the furniture — including a four-post double bed, china closet, coat rack and leather-top desk. She described them being in “great condition.”

Built in 1876 for Sheldon, the home was designed by St. Paul architect A.M. Radcliff in the French Second Empire style, according to Historic Homes of Minnesota.

Sheldon was involved with many business ventures that helped his fortune grow, including mercantile, real estate, grain and transportation. A bank president, he was also a member of the Red Wing City Council.

Sheldon bestowed trust money to the city of Red Wing to be used for public benefit but nonsectarian purpose. Four years after his death in 1900, construction was complete on the T.B. Sheldon Memorial Auditorium.

“We’re sorry to part with them,” Roberts said, but added that the family would like to see the furniture back in Red Wing instead of being sold off to parts unknown.

Her sister Mary Pat adds, “I believe the condition of the furniture is very similar to the way it left the Sheldon house many years ago — that is, excellent.”

She describes one couch as “used quite a bit,” so the upholstery is a bit worn, but the rest were used very carefully, if had all.

To find the complete visual list of furniture to be sold check out Marx Estate Sales on Facebook.

At a glance …

What: Original pieces of furniture from the Sheldon mansion will be sold as part of an estate sale. Buyer responsible for removing merchandise.

When: Preview 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 22. Entry numbers given out between 9:30 to 10 a.m. Thursday Jan. 23. Auction is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday Jan. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday Jan. 24; 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Saturday Jan. 25

Where: Paul Berglund/Robert J. Roberts Family, 417 Ninth St. S., Moorhead, Minn.

More info: Marx Estate Sales on Facebook

Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

(651) 301-7880