Lake Geneva Ghost Walks
Downtown Lake Geneva, WI
This isn’t just a resort town for the living…
Creepy old mansions with echoing halls and dusty relics. The weird happenings at Otto Young’s 100-room Stone Manor. These beautiful homes and buildings are really something else, and on this 2-hour walking tour of downtown Lake Geneva, your guide focuses on the haunted history of places such as the Maxwell Mansion, the Baker House, and the eponymous lake itself. Expect visits to two mansions, in addition to more than a handful of stops around downtown to places such as public parks, the Geneva Theater, and Lake Geneva Museum.
Lake Geneva is much more than a resort town, discover its secrets, ghosts, and ancient legends with our tour through the beautiful downtown and by the lake.
- Enjoy a 2-hour walking tour to hear the history and lore of Lake Geneva
- Stop at the Maxwell Mansion and Baker House to hear more about the hauntings that still happen today
- Visit Flatiron Park to learn about the native tribes that inhabited the area long before it was a resort town
- Expect to learn surprising (and eerie) details about downtown Lake Geneva
- Take your time on the easy walking route to see where the city’s most famous summer residents — Sears, Maytag, Schwinn, and Wrigley — spent their time
Important Booking Informarion
- Meter parking by Seminary Park
- This tour runs in cold temperatures and light rain, so please dress accordingly and wear comfortable shoes.
- The tour route is wheelchair-accessible, just let us know if you plan on using one, so we can adjust the route appropriately for your comfort
- Because this is a limited capacity tour, all sales are final. But we will reschedule you if you have an emergency, we love ghosts, not monsters!
- Service animals are welcome, but no pets are allowed
What you can expect
While this tour is meant to uncover some of the darker secrets of this resort town, you also learn more about indigenous people who first lived here, and hear about the famous residents such as the Wrigley, Sears, Maytag, and Schwinn families who once spent their summers here. On this Lake Geneva ghost walk, you’ll find out that there’s plenty of high strangeness right in the downtown.
Read below for a sample itinerary of some of the places you visit, and the ghost stories you hear.
Oakwood Sanitarium in Lake Geneva
The history of Lake Geneva tends to be wrapped up in the stories about the summer homes of Chicago’s wealthiest families. But even as early as 1912, when people were writing about the city, they said the second most significant thing about this town was the sanitariums. That’s right, Lake Geneva wasn’t just a getaway for the rich and famous, but it was also known as a place for healing, where the ill could come to get better.
Learn about the grounds that were once the Oakwood Springs Retreat and Sanitarium, one of the most famous of the Lake Geneva sanitariums. Opened in May of 1885, Oakwood was the dream of Oscar Augustus King, a groundbreaking physician who was a mixture of psychiatrist and neurologist. You’ll also learn how Oakwood later served as the inspiration for the game Dungeons & Dragons.
The man who built this house, the Maxwell Mansion, was Dr. Philip Maxwell. Like many of Lake Geneva’s summer residents in the mid-19th century, Dr. Maxwell was a pillar of the early Chicago community. He was also known as the “Father of Lake Geneva” because he paid for the process of getting the city divided into lots and mapping it, so people could start purchasing land here and developing it. (Let’s just say they didn’t talk about the rumored basement surgeries he performed here at the mansion.)
We know the former “head butler” of the mansion, and you get to hear plenty of spooky things about what goes on inside this beautiful old home.
The Ghost with the Handlebar Moustache at Baker House
Not far from the Maxwell Mansion, you stop to learn about the “less haunted” Baker House. Here your guide tells you the history of this mansion that was built for the widow of a former Wisconsin senator.
According to the staff here, they said it’s not quite as haunted as Maxwell Mansion, but they’ve still felt strange things. Not to mention seen time and again a man wandering the halls with a handlebar moustache. Your guide also shares more on the two rooms that have caused some lovers’ spats in recent years.
Not bad at all for the “less haunted” of the properties…
Thunderbird in Flatiron Park
Your guide stops to share another important part of the city’s history: its native tribes, the most recent of which were the Potawatomi Indians, whose leader in the early 1800s was Chief Big Foot.
Here, learn more about Potawatomi folklore, mound builders, and recent sightings of the mythical Thunderbird.
The loquacious Spirit of the Lake
Most ghosts aren’t quite as talkative as this Spirit of the Lake, and your guide tells you exactly what she said to a group of city slickers when they happened upon her during a canoe trip out on the lake. Did the spirit approach these canoers in a non-threatening form that they would understand so that it wouldn’t frighten them? Learn more as you overlook the peaceful water.
The Woman in Black at Elm Park
In this park, next to the Lake Geneva Public Library, lives an entrancing character. Learn about the history of this property, dating back to the late 1800s, and the Lady in Black who roams the park to this day. Reports of seeing a woman dressed in Victorian clothing have been reported since the 1970s. Some people have said she’ll follow you as you walk around the park.
Lake Geneva Ghost Walk meeting location:
Our tour meets near downtown Lake Geneva at Seminary Park at the corner of Lake Shore Drive and Baker Street.
Copyright 2021 Wisconsin Ghost Walks LLC, part of the American Ghost Walks family of haunted history tours.