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Historic Duluth home featured on HGTV

By: CASEY GODE
DCN REPORTER

Duluth would have to be a city fit for Antiques Road show. Everyone and their grandma knows the show that draws in folks for a highly anticipated appraisal. There are undoubtedly tons of valuable antiques located in Duluth, most of which are probably located in Dennis Lamkin’s house.

Lamkin is a V.P. Senior Property Manager for US Bank. His home, The Highpoint House, in itself is fit for a museum. The home has appeared on HGTV for good reason, and even a walk in the front door requires some background.

Bernard Silberstein built the house for his wife Nettie in 1914. The two moved to Duluth after their marriage, and started to do business. They started door- to-door sales and eventually opened the first dry goods store in Duluth. This business grew and became successful, which is why the Silbersteins were so influential.

“We bought the home sight unseen,? said Dennis. “I knew about the home’s history and made an offer to the owner without looking inside.?

The whole idea of buying a home before even looking at it seems scary, especially after they saw the inside of the house a year later. However, once Dennis saw the hanging light in the entryway, he ignored the crushed blue velvet found on the walls, and knew he made a good decision.

“The light was basically worth what I paid for the house,? he says looking up at the light made by Tiffany & Co.

This is all before leaving the entryway.

Each room of the house has its own story. The kitchen is a walk through the ‘50s, including the life-sized, hand-painted Lucy mural on the wall.

The stairway boasts another huge mural of a Turkish tapestry market, a tribute to Silberstein’s Turkish rug sales.

The bedroom at the top of the steps is beautiful. The bed is huge, and the room divider is ornate. On one wall there is a chest-high Bible closet that’s hundreds of years old. In front of the bed is a tapestry fit for the Vatican.

Why? Because the pope used it for Easter mass years ago. Below the tapestry is a brightly colored prayer mat, once used by the Dalai Llama.

Possibly the most interesting thing about the Highpoint House is most of what it contains was bought at some of Duluth’s garage sales.

“People don’t realize what they have,? Lamkin says about some more artwork on his walls. A lot of the things on his walls and floors were bought for a few bucks at garage sales, but are appraised for thousands. That ornate divider, several chairs, a couple of simple drawings were all bought at garage sales, but due to their history, could probably put a kid through college.

It’s one of those things a person learns when they have immersed themselves in the city and culture. Lamkin also does work for the Glensheen Mansion, gives tours of downtown Duluth, fund-raises for the Duluth Orchestra and works for US Bank.

The “good buys? he has found were not accidents, some were lucky, but he knew that what he was buying was worth something. He knows his history and it really has paid off. The reward is a beautiful and interesting home.