Mollie Jenson

The Fireplace

photo courtesy Richard Moldenhauer

Old Mission Light

The Fireplace was one of several three-sided shelters that Mollie Jenson built to display her artwork. There is indeed a fireplace hidden behind the table in the photos, and a mantelpiece area above it. The structure is much like a simple roadside shed used to sell produce, like the Peace Monument built by the Wegners for their grotto. But Jenson's shrine is far more elaborate. Every inch of space is encrusted with rocks, broken glass, crockery, shells and deer antlers. Above a stained-glass window she has spelled out her name, above another there is the date of construction: 1941. Even the round columns and the soffits of the wooden roof provide more area for her to fill in with decorative patterns and pictures. Above the fireplace and in the alcoves beside it are a several mounted animals including a deer, woodchuck and crane. Perhaps these were former residents of the zoo which provided Jenson with a chance to practice her taxidermy skills.

Old Mission Light

The rear side of The Fireplace was a free-form rolling surface, unlike the flat front. But just like the front of the building, every inch of the surface was covered with flowers, geese, and other designs in colorful materials set into the cement.

photo courtesy Richard Moldenhauer

Back Home Next

presented by Minnesota Museum of the Mississippi


Copyright ©2012 Matt Bergstrom