Black Point offers a glimpse of long-ago summers
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A view of Geneva Lake from a spindle-railed porch of the 19th-century "summer cottage" of Black Point. File photo.
Take a trip to the past, enjoy a boat cruise and tour an 1888 mansion on the shore of Geneva Lake. Daily tours begin Saturday (June 15).
Passengers leave the Riviera Boat Docks, downtown Lake Geneva, to cruise over to Black Point to tour the renovated 20-room mansion. It is considered one of the finest surviving examples of great summer homes of the early 1900’s in the Midwest, according to Harold Friestad, general manager of the Lake Geneva Cruise Line.
The Black Point historic home and gardens, 90 feet above the shoreline, have been restored to their original splendor for guided tours to see furnishings original to the home and hear about the summering lifestyle in Lake Geneva. The home includes pre-Civil War furniture, which predates the house because some of the furniture was moved up from the family’s main home in Chicago.
The 90-minute tour is possible because the late William O. Petersen, a retired Chicago attorney and great-grandson of the original owners, gifted the home to the State of Wisconsin as an historic site. He spent memorable summers as a child at Black Point and was determined to share the home with the public.
Ellsworth Brown, Wisconsin Historical Director, said the home is “truly unique and an absolutely remarkable gift to the state.”
The cruise over to the home is reminiscent of the way the original owners traveled to their estate. Conrad Seipp and his family and friends would take the train to Lake Geneva and cruise over to the summer home on their private steam yacht, before roads were built leading into the shoreline mansion. Seipp was a German immigrant who purchased a Chicago brewery and developed it into the successful Seipp’s Brewery until it closed, during prohibition.
The home opened for seasonal public tours in 2007. Daily tours are offered, departing at 11:10 a.m. daily as well as a second option on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:10 p.m.
If you go:
-- What: Black Point Estate tours
-- When: 11:10 a.m. daily and 1:10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday
-- Departure point: Lake Geneva Cruise Line at the Riviera Boat Docks, Lake Geneva
-- Details: Tour begins with a boat cruise to the home. Visitors must be able to navigate a large number of stairs. Other boat tours available.
-- Tickets: (800) 558-5911,