When I was growing up, one of my fave television shows was The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I was just 13 years old when it first aired. I think every young girl back then wanted to grow up to be just like Mary. She was beautiful, had her own apartment, cute clothes and an exciting career–all very important stuff when you’re 13.
Do you remember Mary’s “M” on the wall in her small studio apartment?
(Screen shot from You Tube where you can watch lots of old MTM shows)
When we got married and moved into our first apartment in married student housing, I had to put an “S” on the wall, just like Mary. You can just see it over on the left wall in the kitchen of our teeny apartment. If you missed that old post where I gave a tour of our first little apartment, you’ll find it here: Humble Beginnings in Married Student Housing
Recently, I came across some photos of the “apartment building” where Mary was supposed to be living in the show. Over the years while the show ran on TV, we only got glimpses of the outside from time to time. You could see just a small part of it in the opening scenes of the show each week.
The real home shown in those opening credits is actually a wonderful, old Victorian home built in 1892, located in Minneapolis Minnesota. Fortunately in real life, the home has never been cut up into different apartments and has always remained a single family residence. I was glad to hear that. I hate to see old homes turned into apartments.
In the show, Mary’s apartment was supposed to be in the attic area where you see the big Palladian window and balcony. As in the case of most shows, filming didn’t actually take place inside the home. Instead, a set was built to mimic what one would have expected to see on the inside.
When creating the set, they included the beautiful windows. You can just see them in the background in this scene I found in an episode on You Tube. In one episode with Phyllis, Mary’s landlord , we learn that Mary is renting her apartment for $145 a month. That sounds about right for the 70′s.
The real home is huge with over 9,500 square feet of living space! It went on the market back in January of last year so I found several pictures online to share.
One article I read said the home had been substantially remodeled and enlarged since the 1970′s but many of the period features had been preserved like the woodwork and the windows.
As you step onto the front porch/room, here’s what you see. I can’t help but think when the home was originally built, this must have been a real porch and someone must have glassed it in at some point. Wish folks wouldn’t do that to porches on the front of a home. I like front porches to remain porches…just a personal preference.
Here’s the entry with a gorgeous staircase, just look at all that beautiful wood! The white walls keep the home from feeling dark, even with all the stained trim and molding.
This is the actual room behind those “famous” windows we saw on TV all those years. Nothing like Mary’s apartment, is it?
The living room is furnished a bit too modern for my taste but still a lovely room.
The kitchen…I love how the refrigerator is hidden. Look at all that space!
Another view of the beautiful kitchen…
Huge dining room! Love the coffered ceiling and the built-in china cabinets. I wonder how the fireplace looked, back in the day? I think it’s been “modernized” over the years.
Staircase landing with beautiful stained-glass windows.
One of the bedrooms on the upper level…love all the windows!
Another bedroom…wonder if all the flooring upstairs is original?
This may be the master bedroom. Wow, what a beautiful, light-filled room!
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to buy a house made famous because it was featured in a much-loved show or movie? Apparently, it can be a bit nerve-racking and annoying.
When the home was purchased in 1988 by the Maurer’s, the family that just sold it, their realtor mentioned the show had appeared in the opening credits of each episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The Maurer’s had never seen the show and didn’t think anything about it.
Oh. My. Gosh! The stories they tell in THIS article from the New York Times are pretty funny. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into! It mentions in the article that when working in the yard, if people stopped and began asking Mr. Mauer questions, he would pretend to be the groundskeeper and act like he knew nothing. Apparently, one of the questions he often got asked was if the “M” was still hanging on the wall? That sounds like something I would have asked!
Here’s a quote from Mr. Maurer in the article:
“In some ways, it’s like we’re caretakers living inside a monument,” Mr. Maurer said. “Mary is a myth, but myths have great power. They answer questions, and they set up value systems. There’s something in the Mary ethos that’s very important to very many people. She’s the greatest mythic hero from this region since Paul Bunyan.”
Yep, it will always be Mary’s house, no matter who lives there!