Summerwind

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Summerwind
Summerwind is located in Wisconsin
Summerwind
Location of West Bay Lake on the Michigan-Wisconsin border
Alternative names Lamont Mansion
Etymology Summerwind, from the Carver Effect (1979)
Robert P. Lamont, original namesake
General information
Status Destroyed
Type Residential, Summer Home
Architectural style Victorian[1]
Location West Bay Lake,[2] Vilas County, Wisconsin
Town or city Town of Land O' Lakes
Country United States
Coordinates 46°12′15″N 89°25′34″W / 46.20417°N 89.42611°W / 46.20417; -89.42611
Renovated 1917[1]
Destroyed 19 June 1988[3]
Technical details
Material Wood[3]
Floor count 2
Grounds 1.5 acres
Designations No Historical Designations
Renovating team
Architect Tallmadge and Watson
Other information
Number of rooms 20[1]
This article is about the Wisconsin mansion. For the 1965 song, see Summer Wind.

Summerwind, formerly known as Lamont Mansion, is a ruined mansion on the shores of West Bay Lake in Vilas County, Wisconsin. Located on private land, its ruins are closed to the public. A number of urban legends and ghost stories in popular culture have contributed to its reputation as a haunted house.[4]

Legends[edit]

According to popular accounts, Summerwind was built in the early 20th century as a fishing lodge on the edge of West Bay Lake in Vilas County, in northeastern Wisconsin, and in 1916, purchased by Robert Patterson Lamont. According to some stories circulated, Lamont employed Chicago architects for the remodeling. Some versions of the story name the architects as Tallmadge and Watson. Supposedly the renovations took two years to complete.[5][6]

Legends include claims that Lamont fired a pistol at a ghost one night and was so frightened that he and his family abandoned the house. Other legends include claims that subsequent owners Arnold and Ginger Hinshaw were so disturbed by hauntings that Arnold suffered a "nervous breakdown" and Ginger attempted suicide.[4][7][8][9]

Raymond Bober[edit]

Although most Land O' Lakes natives refer to the property as Lamont's mansion, supernatural tales first disseminated by Ginger Hinshaw's father Raymond Bober claim the mansion was haunted and refer to it as "Summerwind".[3] Some versions of the story claim that Bober purchased the property only to abandon it because the mansion's rooms had the supernatural power to change shape and dimensions at will. In 1979, Bober (writing under the pen name "Wolfgang Von Bober"), authored a book called The Carver Effect: A Paranormal Experience in which he claimed the mansion was haunted by 18th century explorer Jonathan Carver.[4][10] According to Bober's narrative, the property was often unoccupied due to alleged supernatural activity and the Hinshaws could not get workers to enter the home to do remodeling work.[11] However according to one of Bober's neighbors, he did not live in the mansion, never spent the night in it and instead lived in a trailer on the property. At least two previous residents reportedly denied claims that the house was haunted and locals claimed the haunting stories did not begin until Bober's book was published.[1] A Life magazine photo essay including Summerwind among "Terrifying Tales of Nine Haunted Houses" apparently spread the supernatural tales originated in Bober's book.[12] According to author Marv Balousek, locals never believed the home was haunted and they were dismayed when the home became somewhat of a supernatural tourist attraction.[11]

Fire[edit]

In 1985, officials for the Town of Land O' Lakes made an attempt to demolish the vacant home. The Vilas County Sheriff said it was a staging area for local teens who burglarized or vandalized nearby cottages.[1] This attempt failed, but the abandoned mansion was later destroyed by fire following a lightning strike on June 19, 1988. Later that week, fire officials reported that the fire was not suspicious and arson was not suspected since neighbors reported being awakened when lightning struck the vacant home. However, fire officials also said that teenagers frequently used the location for parties and that they may have left a fire burning.[3]

Potential restoration[edit]

In 2014, owners Harold and Babs Tracy and the Fox Valley Ghost Hunters sought funding to rebuild the mansion as a bed and breakfast.[13][14][15]

In popular culture[edit]

In November 2005, Summerwind was featured on a Discovery Channel episode of A Haunting.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Van Goethem, Larry (11 February 1985). "Haunted or not, house to be razed". Milwaukee Journal. p. 5. 
  2. ^ "West Bay Lake (Michigan-Wisconsin)". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  3. ^ a b c d Associated Press (24 June 1988). "Lightning razes 'haunted house'". Daily Globe. Ironwood, MI. 
  4. ^ a b c Scott, Beth; Norman, Michael (October 21, 1985). "Ghosts had a favorite haunt". Excerpts from "Haunted Heartland". Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Wundram, Bill (October 29, 1995). "Summerwind: More ghostly than ever". Quad-City Times. 
  6. ^ Schjoth, Corey (March 25, 2014). "Haunted Travel: Wisconsin's Most Notorious Haunted House". Huffington Post. 
  7. ^ Wundram, Bill (October 28, 2007). "Haunted house keeps visitors wondering". Quad-City Times. 
  8. ^ Lewis, Chad (2014). "Travel – Wisconsin's 10 most haunted places". Wisconsin Trails / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 
  9. ^ Godfrey, Linda S. (2007). Strange Wisconsin: More Badger State Weirdness. Big Earth Publishing. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-931599-85-6. 
  10. ^ Von Bober, Wolffgang (1979). The Carver Effect: A Paranormal Experience. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-0329-0. 
  11. ^ a b Balousek, Marv (2000-11-15). 101 Wisconsin Unsolved Mysteries. Badger Books. p. 17-19. ISBN 1-878569-70-8. 
  12. ^ Groskinsky, Henry (Photographer) (November 1980). "Terrifying Tales of Nine Haunted Houses". Life Magazine: 152.  [1]
  13. ^ Stingl, Jim (30 October 2014). "Ghost fans hope to rebuild mansion — haunting and all". Milwaukee Journal. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 
  14. ^ "Group looking to rebuild Summerwind sets benefit". Vilas County News-Review. 30 September 2014. 
  15. ^ Tenpas, Hayley (28 October 2014). "Paranormal group speaking on historic Summerwind mansion". WJFW TV-12. Rhinelander, Wisconsin. 
  16. ^ "The Haunting of Summerwind". A Haunting Season 1 Episode 2. tv.com. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Scott, Beth & Michael Norman (1985). Haunted Heartland. Madison, WI: Stanton & Lee. ISBN 0-88361-092-2
  • Von Bober, Wolfgang (1979). The Carver Effect: A Paranormal Experience. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-0329-0
  • Hollatz, Tom, and Seal Dwyer. The Haunted Northwoods. East Peoria, IL: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., 2000
  • Hauck, Dennis William (2002) Haunted Places: The National Directory: Ghostly Abodes, Sacred Sites, UFO Landings, and Other Supernatural Locations. Penguin Books ISBN 978-1-4406-7322-1