A Trip to Black Point Estate

Photographed September 13, 2014
Lake Geneva, Walworth County, Wisconsin

On Saturday, September 13, 2014, members and friends of the Winnebago County Historical & Archaeological Society traveled to Lake Geneva to visit Wisconsin Historic Site Black Point Estate. We chose to access the property via water, a 45-minute cruise booked through Lake Geneva Cruise Line. The tour begins at The Riviera (where the cruise line is housed), 812 Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin 53147. After the cruise and tour, several of us participated in tea at The Baker House in downtown Lake Geneva. What follows are chronological photos of our day, beginning with our arrival at Lake Geneva Cruise Line.

A little history from the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance, Inc.:
The Lake Geneva area has served as a resort community since just after the Civil War when many wealthy Chicagoans relocated to the area while their homes and place of business were being rebuilt as a result of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Many chose to stay in the area full-time, while others built mansions and vacation homes for summer use.

What began in 1887 as a $20,000, 13-bedroom, one-bathroom home now stands as what State Historical Society of Wisconsin architectural historian Patricia Butler calls "perhaps the finest example of Queen Anne design remaining as a lakeshore estate in the Lake Geneva area." Today, Black Point is considered to have one of the most intact collections of Victorian furniture in the Midwest.

The property covers nearly eight acres and 620 feet of undisturbed Geneva Lake shoreline. This historic treasure encapsulates over a century of life on Lake Geneva. The 20-room Queen Ann style Victorian “cottage” has been consecutively owned by the Seipp Family for the last 120 years. From our original glass tile fireplaces to our first edition Tom Sawyer you will see amazing antiques, architecture, collections, and personal belongings through history.
Come experience Lake Geneva… as it was, and learn how a German immigrant grew to become one of Chicago’s elite beer barons and how his family spent their summers at Black Point. Open from May 15th to October 31st. Only 48 guests allowed at one time. Tours will last approx. 90 minutes. Morning tours and late afternoon tours available, seven days a week. Click here for directions and pricing information.
Used with permission of Walworth County Economic Development Alliance, Inc.

A couple of notes to photographers: Firstly, the house is ensconced in trees. If you're hoping for magnificent views from a top this highest point on Lake Geneva, you will not find them. Secondly, the facade faces wast. Therefore, the best time of the day to photograph the home is in the late afternoon. We were on the property from approximately 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. I was not able to get a photograph I liked of the entrance to the home (very disappointing). Some good news -- photography is permitted inside the home using available light (no flash photography).

The Baker House

See also a related link, Tea at The Baker House.

Nearby cruise line vessels and a gorgeous day!

Looking back at The Riviera historic building as we leave the dock.

Our amiable, interesting Lake Geneva Cruise Line captain / tour guide.
He knew the history the area and of nearly every opulent home we passed,
including their mind-boggling price tags.

The home is nearly hidden amongst the trees.

This lovely video was filmed and edited by Joy Kowald in September 2012
for Lake Geneva Area Reel Life TV.

The tour begins on the south-facing, ginormous porch.

Our well-informed tour guide, using small cards to show the lineage
of four generations of the Conrad Seipp family who owned the property
until it was donated to the State of Wisconsin in 2005.

The cornerstone of the Seipp brewery building (1864).

The chandelier in the music room.

See also, Black Point, regarding this marker.

Some of the more that 120 steps we climbed to access Black Point Estate.

Some of our group!

Patti Yanna (left), secretary of the newly-formed Butte des Mortes
Historical Society, and Julie Johnson (right), president of the
Winnebago County Historical & Archaeological Society.

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