Lakeside estate sale draws a crowd


January 27, 2023

Brady Slater

Auctioneer Steven Wesely stands in the basement of the lodge on Little Hanging Horn Lake on Monday. He said the current sale there is a unique one for him.

'There's a lot of nice stuff there'

In 30 years of auctioneering and conducting estate sales, Steven Wesely has never gone to a second weekend for a sale. Until this weekend.

"This is by far the most unique place I've had," Wesely said of the sprawling property at 3698 Bayview Dr., overlooking Little Hanging Horn Lake between Barnum and Moose Lake.

Hundreds of guests visited the estate sale last weekend and, when Wesely talked about the sale on Monday, he was preparing to put out another wave of treasures.

"My folks spared no quality. They didn't buy cheap stuff," said Dr. Harlan Gilbertson from his office in Mora, Minnesota. "There's a lot of nice stuff there. And there's new stuff being put out."

Gilbertson was one of two children to Dr. James and MaryLou Gilbertson of Minneapolis. Harlan followed his father into psychology. James was "a renowned forensic psychologist practicing throughout Minnesota and the upper Midwest," said his 2021 obituary in the Star Tribune.

The 6-foot-4 Gilbertson was also a four-year player for the Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball team in the 1960s. He died in a head-on car crash at age 79. MaryLou died last year, and Harlan said the family plans to consolidate and sell the properties involved. The couple purchased the place in 1985.

"It was a sanctuary for them," Harlan said. "It's a peaceful place, and it's a beautiful lake that gets 60 to 70 feet deep in places."

The estate sale will run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Most of the furniture is already spoken for.

"I had Stickley furniture here that people were drooling over," said Wesely, who owns and operates Cresent Auctioneering out of Moose Lake.

In addition to scores of tables featuring goods and home furnishings, visitors will be treated to one of the more remarkable old properties in Carlton County.

Built in the 1920s by a Duluth attorney to mining and railroad magnates, the lodge overlooking the lake also features a detached carriage house and an additional bed-and-breakfast-type structure dubbed, "the tower."

Lore has it that the attorney, Frank D. Adams, wanted to build a tower which afforded him a view to Duluth.

"Even if it were the Sears Tower, you wouldn't be able to see Duluth," Wesely said, questioning the lore.

The tower rises four stories, but is locked when it comes to the sale. Still, it's something to behold, with rusty tin siding shingles that look like giant fish scales. Taken together, the structures accentuate the grandeur of a campus built into the steep lakeside.

The lodge features four stone fireplaces, a built-in ice box, a modern kitchen, heavy wooden beams and other lavish wood details throughout. Its basement floor is lined with the types of heavy bricks once mass produced in the county.

Brady Slater

The exterior of the lodge on Little Hanging Horn Lake is as unique as its contents, which were part of an estate sale last weekend that drew hundreds of visitors. The auction continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at 3698 Bayview Drive in Barnum.

"I didn't know it was here," said Ann Dhaemers of Moose Lake, who visited the sale last weekend, purchasing a wicker chair, mugs, hampers, a coffee table and television trays. All of which she'll put to use, she said.

"It was a wonderful sale," Dhaemers said. "The prices were so good. I wished I'd brought more money with me."

Wesely found 19 sets of cremains while preparing for the sale.

"They loved pets," Harlan said of his parents. "They had multiple dogs over the years."

Some treasures won't leave the house, such as the extra-large, one-of-a-kind fireplace utensils.

"I could have sold those 100 times," Wesley said. "But I said, 'Nope. They've got to stay with the fireplace.'"

For someone in Wesely's shoes, a sale of this magnitude has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a line of work he enjoys immensely.

"I get giddy before an auction," he said. "I won't retire. I'll do this for as long as I can do it. I'm so blessed."


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