Porter Memories: The Culligan Family in Porter.

Early in the 1900's when Porter was establishing itself and prospering quickly a new face arrived in town. A face that belonged to a man, who's name would soon become world renown. Many things have not yet been made clear about Emmett Culligan's life in Porter. History does tell that The Culligan Estate consumed much of the land around Porter and extended for nearly one-half mile. The estate included numerous homes, Culligan Manor being the main house, and two servant houses to the northwest of the mansion. When Culligan left Porter his estate was among the largest in Western Minnesota. The Culligan estate was soon divided and sold. Culligan manor was sold many times and was considered among one of the most luxurious homes in Minnesota. Culligan manor was known as the Lakness house when it burned to the ground as the fire department watched from a couple blocks away, unable to get through the high drifts, during a very harsh blizzard in the winter of 1969. The fire was linked to a faulty electrical wire in the kitchen, the house had never been rewired since it was built, It was one of the first houses to be fully wired and contain switches and fuses. No one was injured in the fire.

View Full Image of Culligan Manor

Emmett J. Culligan

Founder of the Culligan Estate

and Culligan Water Systems

Culligan Mansion, Porter, Minnesota. This picture is believed to have been taken before 1915. You may notice that it was in the corner of town, the area is still undeveloped, but two houses have been on the same site since the house burned. The foundation still remains with the sidewalk leading to it. Sidewalk also remains from where the back door used to be leading to the servant houses, (stopped by a crossing town street) which still remain.

View Full Image of Inside Culligan Manor

The Parlor inside the house. In the back you can see the den. This is the only known picture that remains of the mansion's interior after the fire in 1969. Notice the elegant French furniture, hardwood floors and French rugs. All furniture was deep stained oak or cherry. It is believed if you would go through the door way on the bottom right corner of the photo you would be in the sitting room, where the fireplace and grandfather clock were located and the open staircase, which was entirely oak, came down from the second and third floors. Off the right side of the den is  where the dining room was. The dining room was lit by a crystal chandelier and had a table that seated twelve. The room off of the dining room was the kitchen. This is where the back door, which servants used, and the back stairwell was. The back stairwell also lead to second and third floors and the basement.  The light in the parlor is the same type that was believed to start the fire in the kitchen.

Extra notes:

Emmett Culligan started his research on water treatment in his Porter estate and prototyped the first Culligan Water softener in Porter. Many people in town recall their parents telling them about the man who made water good, and then moved on to start a business of it. Many strange filtering machines were found in a large garage by a servant house. The discovery was made in the 1960's when the garage was torn down.


Information on this page has been compiled through interviews with the current and past citizens of the Porter community. To contribute to this or other stories in the Porter History Library please contact the webmaster.

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