The Geneva Lake area has been an upscale resort community in southeastern Wisconsin since just after the Civil War. Many wealthy Chicagoans in the late 19th century built mansions on the lakeshore to enjoy as summer retreats. Others remained in the city year-round while their homes and businesses were rebuilt as a result of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
In 1887 Chicago beer baron Conrad Seipp began construction for Black Point Estate & Gardens as a respite for his family from the heat and bustle of the city. Owners like Seipp never envisioned their homes could ever be more than that since there were no roads nor access to utilities. The estate could be reached only by boat.
The 20-room Queen Anne-style “cottage” was completed in 1888 for $20,000. It included 13 bedrooms and only one bathroom. It sat on nearly eight acres of beautiful grounds that included 620 feet of undisturbed Geneva Lake shoreline.
Now open to the public, with furnishings and decorations virtually intact, the house is a national treasure. Written by Anne Celano Frohna, the book tells the story of the Seipp family and the house at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.