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The Cray Mansion. The Social History. By Amber Top and Jocelyn Alschlager Introduction to the City Section 4. Judge Lorin Cray. *Born in Clinton County New York in 1844 *Moved to Pleasant Mound Blue Earth County in 1859 *Enlisted in Company D. 9 th Minnesota Volunteers at the age of 17

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The Cray Mansion

The Social History

By Amber Top and Jocelyn Alschlager

Introduction to the City

Section 4


Judge Lorin Cray

*Born in Clinton County New York in 1844

*Moved to Pleasant Mound Blue Earth County in 1859

*Enlisted in Company D. 9th Minnesota Volunteers at the age of 17

*Served in the Sioux War and Southern Rebellion

*After being wounded he began reading law and was admitted to the bar in 1815


The Love Life of Judge Cray

*Married Sarah Timble in 1869, she died in January of 1890

*Remarried Miss Lulu Murphy on September 6, 1892

*Inside the Cray Mansion is the wedding gown of Lulu Murphy. It was imported from France and is made from the wood rose colored silk.

the building of the house
The Building of the House

*The elegant Queen Anne style Cray Mansion was built in 1898 at the cost of $13,000.


In the News

As printed in the Mankato Free Press on July 23, 1897:

“W.P. Coffin today reports the sale of lot one, block seven, Warren’s addition, for Mrs. Anna M. Willard to Attorney Lorin Cray, for $3,000 cash. The lot is the vacant one at the southeast corner of Second and Warren Streets, and is one of the most desirable locations for residence purposes in the city. Mr. Cray intends to build a residence there, and those who know his excellent taste need not to be assured that the house will be a credit to the city as well as the builder. Mr. Cray is to be congratulated on securing the corner.”


Household Intentions

*Judge Cray built the house for his wife Lulu.

*Though never literally stated by Judge Cray, the exquisite details in the house were made to outdo his neighbor, prominent flour miller, Rensselaer Hubbard.


Tragedy at the Cray Mansion

*Two Carpenters were shingling the roof of the steep tower, cleats from beneath the men slipped

*One man started to fall but caught himself

*From the shock of his companion’s stumble, the other man fell off of the roof.

*He broke his lower jaw and left thumb, dislocated his left shoulder, and suffered face and scalp wounds requiring stitches


A Brilliant Affair

*“One of the most successful social functions ever given in the city was the reception given by Judge and Mrs. Lorin Cray at their residence, 603 South Second Street.”

*200 guests were present at the reception

*An orchestra was stationed at the head of the stairway and rendered a number of pleasing selections

*“Each room was tastefully decorated with cut flowers and festoons of evergreens, while in the dancing apartment two huge American flags were extended across the center in graceful folds.”

*The happy throng that filled the large house was representative of the wealth and culture of Mankato.


The Death of Judge Lorin Cray

*Died of heart failure on March 3, 1927 at the age of 82 years old.

*Members of the family were present at his bed side at the time of death

*His death closed a long career, colorful with useful activities, rich with experiences, the problems, sorrows and struggles of the early pioneers.

*After his death, Nellie Cray (his niece), moved into the home with Mrs. Cray


Terms of Judge Cray’s Will

*$75,000 was given to his wife, Lulu Cray

*$25,000 was placed in a trust for his sister, Miss Louisa Cray. At the death of the sister, the remaining money was divided equally between the YMCA and the First Presbyterian Church

*Money was given to purchase the Blue Earth Historical Society Museum

*Throughout his life Judge Cray showed an interest in the YWCA, so he left his mansion to the group.


The Death of Lulu Cray

*Only months after her husband’s death, Lulu passed away on August 2, 1927.

*She was visiting friends in Duluth, and unexpectedly died of heart disease.


Memorial for the Cray’s at the YWCA

*A memorial service was held at the Cray mansion, the new home of the YWCA to show tribute to the memory of the donors of the owners, Judge and Mrs. Lorin Cray

*The President of the YWCA told the legacy of Mr. and Mrs. Cray’s devotion and continued interest in the YWCA

*The Cray home is to be known as “The Lorin and Lulu Cray Home for the Young Woman’s Christian Association” and if it is every sold the proceeds are to be used to purchase another building for the YWCA


Young Woman’s Christian Association

*Creates opportunities for the women’s growth, leadership and power

*Supports childcare, mentoring and the recognition of women


Uses of the House

*The mansion can be rented out on special occasions

*The main floor, kitchen, and attic are all spaces that can be rented out

*Occasions include birthday parties, business retreats, and weddings.


The Restoration of the house

*Since 1991 the YWCA and community members have worked to restore the interior and exterior of the Cray mansion to its original grandeur that is now listed on the National Register of Historical Places

*The exterior restoration is complete and the interior first floor restoration is nearly complete

*Restoration cost to date total $120,000



*Judge Lorin Cray built the Cray Mansion in 1898 for his wife, Lulu Cray.

*In Judge Cray’s will he donated his home to the YWCA after showing much interest in the organization of the program.

*After the death of Lulu Cray the Cray Mansion became the home of the YWCA in 1927.

*The restoration of the Cray Mansion continues today.



Information for this presentation was collected from the following:

*Blue Earth County Historical Society

*Archives at the Minnesota State University Memorial Library

*Pamphlets available at the YWCA