$5.99M Minneapolis mansion has a fame-filled, party-packed history

A lot of famous folks have partied at a grand Minneapolis mansion now on the market for $5.99 million — especially during the swinging ‘60s when the house was owned by art dealer and hair stylist Gordon Locksley.

Locksley “lived big,” according to his obituary, and his parties were “the stuff of art world legend.”

In 1968, when pop artist Andy Warhol came to town to lead two film workshops at the University of Minnesota, he showed up for Locksley’s Valentine’s Day gala, accompanied by “superstar” pals Viva and Paul Morrissey. “Party is hit of Warhol’s trip,” declared the Minneapolis Tribune.

A year earlier, it was Bulgarian artist Christo who made headlines at a Locksley soiree, after he wrapped two nude female models in plastic as “sculptures” to adorn Locksley’s library. That was “the party of the year,” according to the Tribune. “If you weren’t at Gordon Locksley’s party Friday night, you’re slipping. You’re not as rich or as young or as pretty … as you thought you were.”

More recently, Conan O’Brien visited the mansion to headline a fundraiser for Sen. Al Franken in 2010.

The 115-year-old Renaissance Revival mansion in Lowry Hill can easily accommodate a crowd, thanks to its grand-scale rooms and huge lot — almost 1 acre — a rarity in the heart of the city. “It has very gracious, handsome rooms, with incredible architectural detail,” said listing agent Barry Berg of Coldwell Banker Burnet.

The mansion’s outdoor spaces and access to them also are unusual for a home of its era. “It’s bright and light and lends itself to stepping outside, especially on the back,” said Berg. Current owner Bob Levine, who has lived in the home for 35 years, added terraces, a swimming pool and cabana with its own kitchen. “It’s a fun space, pub-type space,” said Berg. The original carriage house is now a seven-car garage.

The mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1903 for Charles Martin, secretary-treasurer of the Washburn-Crosby milling company. Martin hired architect William Channing Whitney, who also designed the Governor’s residence in St. Paul, to design the home, and master builder T.P. Healy to construct it. Martin died at home just a few years after building his mansion, but his widow continued to live there — and host parties that made the society pages.

During the 1950s, the mansion was home to Hungarian composer and conductor Antal Dorati, who came to Minnesota to lead the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. Its next owner was Colombian neurologist Fernando Torres, a professor at the University of Minnesota. After his native country named him honorary consul, part of the mansion became the Colombian consulate.

At 14,399 square feet, the mansion has 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, which includes three apartments that can generate income — and help cover the $52,000 property taxes — via short-term rental sites like Airbnb or VRBO. One apartment is garden-level, with its own entrance, and two are on the third floor.

Barry Berg, 612-925-8404, and Chad Larsen, 612-968-6030, Berg Larsen Group, Coldwell Banker Burnet, have the listing.


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