Museum tour, day 2: Black Point mansion is a doorway to the past
The Black Point estate on Geneva Lake was built in 1888 by Chicago brewing magnate Conrad Seipp. Today it is open to the public for tours as a state historic preserve.
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The Black Point estate was built in 1888 by Chicago brewing magnate Conrad Seipp. It was donated to the state of Wisconsin by Seipp's great-great grandson, William Petersen, in 2005. File photo.
Editor's note: Each spring, Walworth County's museums shake off the winter chill and prepare for a new season. Over the next few days, we'll tour of some of the more popular spots in the county recently featured in Geneva Lakes Weekender.
LINN TOWNSHIP -- The Black Point Historic Preserve, a turn-of-the-century Queen-Anne mansion, is the only historic home on Geneva Lake open to the public. The 13-bedroom home looks just as it did when the last generation of the family deeded it to the State for preservation in 2005. It is a time capsule for Lake Geneva life in the early 1900s and has one of the finest Victorian collections in the Midwest.
The house was built in 1888 by Conrad Siepp, a German immigrant from Chicago who made his fortune brewing beer. The estate was meant to be a retreat for the Seipp family and their loved ones—a place where the moral development of the individual was the focus, which meant structured activities, schoolwork and sports for the children, needlework for the women, and lots of reading and writing.
In previous years the estate was reachable only by boat, via the Lake Geneva Cruise Line. Walking from the lake to the museum, which stands 100 feet above the lake was difficult for some visitors, but some of those steps can be eliminated this year.
Sharon Munson, the volunteer coordinator for Black Point, said, “we have added a bus tour that will start this upcoming season.”
Once inside the museum, visitors will find a 1910 Chickering grand piano, which was just as important to the home as the stove was to the kitchen as there was no radio, television or video games for entertainment, German art work and beer steins, period furniture.
The museum opens for weekend tours beginning May 7, but Black Point will have a special tour for those participating in the Lake Geneva Women’s Weekend, April 30 and May 1.
If you’re interested in seeing the museum from the back end, Black Point is currently looking for docents, observers and gift shop attendants. Contact Munson at (262) 728-6494.
Read the full museum feature in the March 16, 2011 e-edition of Weekender HERE.
• Spinning Top and Yo-Yo Museum
533 Milwaukee Ave., Burlington
• Chocolate City USA museum
At the Burlington Chamber of Commerce,
113 E. Chestnut St., Suite B, Burlington
• East Troy Electric Railroad Museum
1992 Church St., East Troy
• East Troy Historical Society Heritage Center, operated by the East Troy Area Historical Society
P.O. Box 722, 2106 Church St., East Troy
• Webster House Museum,
9 E. Rockwell St., Elkhorn
or contact Doris Reinke, (262) 723-2366
• Watson's Wild West Museum,
W4865 Potter Road, Elkhorn
• Cookie Jar Museum,
313 E. Walworth Ave., Delavan
• Old World Wisconsin,
S103 W37890 Wisconsin Highway 67
• Black Point Museum
Tours available May 1 through Oct. 17, through the Lake Geneva Cruise Line
Riviera Docks, 812 Wrigley Dr.
(262) 248-6206, (800) 558-5911
• Geneva Lake Museum of History,
255 Mill St., Lake Geneva
• Mukwonago Red Brick House Museum
103 Main St., Mukwonago
• Turner Museum,
connected to the Historical House at Third and Main St., Palmyra,
Contact the Palmyra Chamber of Commerce (262) 495-8316.
• Whitewater Historical Society museum,
301 West Whitewater St., Whitewater
Carol Lohry Cartwright, (262) 473-6820, firstname.lastname@example.org