Marland Estate

Palace on the Prairie


Dragons Tour

Guardians of Great Treasure

One can only ponder the reasons why Mr. Marland chose to incorporate certain patterns and symbols into the architecture of his mansion. Worldly influences abound in this magnificent palace. The dragons of the mansion appear inside and outside.

It is known that architect John Duncan Forsyth and his family spent time in China just prior to his starting the construction of the mansion. The common appearance of these scaly, bird-like creatures is well documented in Chinese culture. Maybe his recent familiarity with these mythological beings had bearing on their inclusion.

Dragons are found in narratives from China to Europe. These creatures are usually conceived as huge, fire-breathing, bat-winged, scaly monsters. In both China and Europe, dragons were depicted as fierce guardians of great treasure. Perhaps Mr. Marland had an appreciation for these folk tales and felt the mansion, his grandest of treasures, would be a little more secure.


The corbels on the north terrace support Marland's private balcony. They were put in place with smooth, un-carved stone, and the mythological creatures were then added by Swedish stone carver, Berglund.

These playful dragons appear on the wrought iron doors at the west entrance of the mansion.

The subdued colors of the winged monsters enhance the artwork hand-painted on the walnut ceiling in the gallery landing.

This creature can be found lurking about the domed ceiling located above the upper landing of the mansion.

Could a seahorse actually be a miniature dragon?


Continue Your Tour From The Links Below