Monday, January 29, 2018

West Bay Lake Resort

The State of Wisconsin looked very different in the not so distant past. In 1936, Wisconsin wasn't even a state. It was mostly unbroken wilderness, inhabited by less than 20,000. That would all change soon enough. As pioneering settlers moved in, the Native Americans were pushed out. Wigwams were replaced with homesteads.
John H. Frank was one such pioneer. Mr. Frank was born in Akron, Ohio in 1871. His family moved to Kent City, Michigan when he was still a small child. At the tender age of 12, John struck out to make his own way by earning his own living as a farm hand. He must have had a little wanderlust in him and before long he had relocated to Washinton to learn the Blacksmith Trade. He traveled for some years in this manner before heading to Eagle River, Wisconsin, where he worked in Sawmills and lumber camps. Eventually, he gave up the art of Blacksmith to set up a homestead. That homestead is known as Summerwind Mansion today.

John and his wife Alma worked to convert that homestead into a Summer Camp. During those years, vacationers would take a train from the city, intent on relaxing in the woods. They ran West Bay Lake Resort for years before selling the property to Robert P. Lamont.

West Bay Lake Resort

I believe John Frank still had a bit of wanderlust in him and after he sold the property, he drove by motor car to the Pacific Coast and spent a year, By today's standards of a car, that doesn't sound like much of an accomplishment. However, if you take a look at a 1917 car and road image, that puts a whole new spin on his travels.

John finally settled down and lived out the rest of his days with his family in Eagle River, Wisconsin.

Donations NOT accepted

Please be aware that the author of this site is in no way affiliated with anyone attempting to raise donations or funding for the rebuilding of Summerwind Mansion.  I have not and will not benefit financially from any donations given to Summerwind Restoration Society.

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet? ~ Shakespeare

And that which we call a mansion by any other name would be as haunted?
Although all that remains of the once beautiful home is the chimneys and the foundation, it is still referred to as Summerwind Mansion. The property is surrounded by myth and legend leading most people to believe it has always been known as Summerwind.
Except it hasn't...

The home now known as Summerwind Mansion was originally built by John H. Frank. Mr. Frank turned his homestead into a summer camp resort that consisted of one main lodge and four cabins. He named his camp West Bay Lake Resort and advertised in various new papers, including Kansas City, MO.

West Bay Lake Resort 1913 Newspaper ad

Robert P. Lamont purchased the camp and property, turning it into a summer home for his family around 1917. The Lamont family referred to the property as Lilac Hills due to the large lilac bushes around the home. It was Lamont that had the home completely remodeled into what has become the mansion so widely recognized today.

Summerwind Mansion was not a household name and was not known as Summerwind until after December 1979 and it was started with one man deciding to write a book.

In the 1970's, America was gripped with paranormal obsession.  The obsession had begun in earnest with "The Exorcist" Madness in 1975. No, madness is not a word I just threw in there for shock value. The Exorcist Madness is a well-documented phenomenon that occurred after the release of the movie. 

Time Magazine Article dated February 11, 1974:

"Exorcist Fever

In a quiet Beverly Hills, Calif., neighborhood, residents have been awakened at dawn as thousands of people gather for an 8 a.m. showing at a theater seating 1,450. Every day 5,000 moviegoers stand in the long queue wrapped around the Sack 57 Cinema in Boston. Four Manhattan theaters have lines extending for blocks from noon to midnight. In its first five weeks, The Exorcist (TIME, Jan. 14-21) has rung up more than $10 million at box office cash registers in 20 cities. Glowing —and gloating—Warner Bros, executives predict that it will easily top the all time money maker ."

And it is still a top, all-time money maker. "The Exorcist" had broke records that no one had dreamed possible. In the mist of all of this, Bodyguards had to be hired to protect Linda Blair from religious leaders who felt the film glorified Satan. A PR campaign followed the film, including a public tour explaining that it was in fact, JUST A MOVIE and she wasn't actually possessed. America appears to have lost all reasoning ability with the release of this film: moviegoers fainted, vomited and checked themselves into mental hospitals around the country. Medical case studies followed. What also followed was a lot of money. 

On the heels of "The Exorcist" release was the releasing of the now controversial book, "Amityville Horror". By summer of 1979 "Amityville Horror " had gone through 12 publishings, sold over 6 million copies and released a movie by the same name. This was all just the beginning of a huge and very successful money making franchise. 
The public couldn't get enough Paranormal and in December 1979, Wolfgang Von Bober published "The Carver Effect ", thus etching the name of Summerwind Mansion into minds for eternity. Unfortunately, "The Carver Effect" was not the commercial success that "The Exorcist" and "Amityville Horror" had become but it did put a little-known home in Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin on the map.

The mansion has changed hands several times in the more recent history. Many stories have been told about the property. Sadly, it is the same tired stories told again and again. They do seem to become more embellished as new storytellers enter the scene.

Through the years and all of the books that have been published, I have seen very little citations recorded on the sources for the information regarding Summerwind Mansion. That is where I started with my research. Not only did I want to know the actual history of this beautiful property, I wanted to know what or who was the original source.  I had to trace it down for myself and decide if I considered the source to be credible. I have now made my decision, although I continue to track down forks in the road that I have found along the way.. However, you will have to make your own decision. You may follow the links and information to make your own educated decision or you can continue to be spoon-fed the same old tired stories. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Steal my work today. Make it be known. I'll drop by later to collect my dues" ~ Nitesha Sharma

Some of you may be wondering why I have not written in so long. Remember those Vampires I mentioned a couple of posts back? Vampires are the reason I stopped. It seems that everyone and their brother has written, or plans to write a book about Summerwind Mansion. The problem is every single book written is only a regurgitation of the same misinformation. 

I will not allow anyone to profit from my work. Period. That is the reason I stopped publishing. However, I have decided the truth needs to be told. All of my work may be copied and shared for free as long as you do not profit from it in any way and I must also be cited and credited (please see my Creative Commons or contact me if you need clarification). If found in violation....well, see the above quote.
Thank you and share away.

A Brief Prelude

As the foremost expert on the history of Summerwind Manson, I would like to express that while I am greatly honored, that title has come with a price. Many, many countless hours has gone in to the research and compiling of the information, as I have found more forks in the road than dead ends. However, reading and memorizing alone does not make one an expert. To understand the role of an historian, we must consider many things.

The Casual Historian has a very informative post that goes farther into detail that you can read here. This post will serve only to highlight key elements taken from that.

To be an “objective historian,” you must meet the following qualifications:

The Historian must treat sources with the appropriate reservations

The Historian must not dismiss counter-evidence without scholarly consideration

The Historian must be even-handed in treatment of evidence and eschew “cherry-picking”

The Historian must clearly indicate any speculation

The Historian must not mistranslate documents, or mislead by omitting parts of documents

The Historian must weigh the authenticity of all accounts, not merely those that contradict a favored view

The Historian must take the motives of historical actors into consideration

Can a Historian be self-taught?

"Should historians be formally trained, or must they be self-taught? This must be answered. A large number of people who are currently recognized as historians would no longer be so. The earliest known historians such as Herodotus, Bede, and Ibn Khaldun, were all self-taught. It wasn’t until the 19th century that history truly became its own subject. Edward Gibbon, the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was self-taught but is often referred to as the first modern historian. More recent historians such as David McCullough, David Barton, and Ron Chernow are also self-taught. If we are to exclude self-taught people from the definition of “historian”, we are going to be removing a large portion of the western canon of history."

While it is true that I do not have a Degree in History, I am a Certified Paralegal. Paralegals have extensive training in research and are also trained to fact check all information to verify that the original source is creditable. I just happen to be a Paralegal with a passion for Historical Research. With a legal minded approach, you find yourself not just accepting what others tell you or what you read. It forces you to dig a little deeper for the truth. I encourage each and everyone of you to do a little digging on your own. I will include links to all my sources but i urge you to not blindly accept my words as truth. Do your own research and decide for yourself what the truth really is.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Arson of Summerwind Mansion

Summerwind Mansion is an amazing place that is rich in history. For decades this lake side property has been reported as haunted. Some even claim in is inhabited by Demonic Spirits. I personally believe it's not Demons that are attracted to the mansion. This beautiful place is infested with Vampires and has been for many, many years. 

Accusations of the burning of Summerwind Mansion being the act of arson have recently come to light. I would like to stress that this is not the position of this writer.  As you can see in images online of the mansion prior to it burning, it was in VERY poor condition and had been vandalized many times. It was a fire hazard. Regardless, the city officials did not fill a private property with hay bails and set it on fire. 

In the coming weeks, I'll explain these statements in greater detail and also introduce the "Cast of Characters" that have been involved with this property.

Next week we will introduce Summerwind Mansion and these accusations in greater detail.