By Kristen Winiarski

Picture licensed CC-by-SA by lyubansky on Flickr

Some of the most intriguing tales are those where luxury is placed alongside tragedy. While lakefront property is highly desirable, there does come some risk that is easily overlooked. This is the case with Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, where the impressive Black Point Estate sits on the south shore. The lake itself is marred with tragedy, so you may even witness some of these heartbreaking ghosts on the estate.

History of the Black Point Estate

Built in 1888, Black Point Estate was designed as a summer home. It is really a Queen Anne-style mansion that has an impressive four stories, an observation tower, and 620 feet of shoreline to enjoy. Even though it is now owned by the State of Wisconsin, it is leased to the Black Point Estate Preserve, which provides the public with tours of the nautical-themed house which features post-civil war era furniture.

Conrad Seipp, who was known as a beer tycoon from Chicago, was the original owner. It was a summer home built to escape the confines and heat of urban Chicago life, which was a common practice for Chicagoans at the time. If you venture here, you will even arrive by boat to fully experience the estate, and maybe even see a ghost lurking in the observation tower who never left after their watery death.

Black Point's original owner was one of Chicago's Beer Barons

Tragedies of Lake Geneva

Given its fame as a tourist attraction for boaters and swimmers, it may be surprising to learn that the bottom of the lake is littered with the wrecks of many sailboats and steamers that succumbed to the icy depths. The deepest point of the lake is 135 feet. Add in a sudden squall, and it quickly becomes a danger to any small boats that may be venturing on it.

This was the case for Black Point’s most famous ghosts, who are said to haunt the mansion’s tower. According to legend, one of them is believed to be the spirit of a priest lost long ago when he and several nuns were making their way across the lake when a huge storm came out of nowhere. All those aboard drown. The official records indicate that there was a priest named Father James Hogan along with his siblings, and the captain John Preston, his wife, and their two-year-old child, were heading back to the landing at Kaye’s Park, which is next to Black Point. The Hogan family was eager to return home and urged Captain Preston to try to get them there despite his unease at the impending storm. The storm got so bad that onlookers couldn’t help them as the boat sank. It took about a week for all of the bodies to be recovered, the last of which was Hogan’s sister. The family is together again in death, but rumor has it that they still haunt the area. Look out for a white flutter of a baby’s dress if you venture here.

If this area intrigues you, hear more ghost stories just like this on our Lake Geneva Ghost Walk.