Monday, April 10, 2017

HGB Ep. 195 - Summerwind Mansion

Moment in Oddity - Father and Son, First and Last Deaths at Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam was originally known as Boulder Dam when it was built to lock in Lake Mead at the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. It is a concrete arch-gravity dam constructed from 1931 to 1936 and provided hundreds of jobs during the Great Depression. The dam was dedicated on September 30, 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Over one hundred men lost their lives while building the dam. The United States government sent in the Bureau of Reclamation to do geological surveys before construction began. J.G. Tierney was working for the survey aboard a barge on the Colorado River. He accidentally fell overboard and drowned. He is considered the first death in association with the dam. This happened on December 20, 1922. The dam was nearly completed when the last death to occur during construction happened. This death took place thirteen years to the day of J.G. Tierney's  on December 20, 1935. A young man working on one of the massive intake towers fell to his death. This event was not only bizarre because of the date, but because the young man who died was Patrick Tierney. So the first and last death associated with the Hoover Dam occurred on the same day, thirteen years apart, and involved a father, J.G., and his son, Patrick, which certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Pickett Defeated at Battle of Five Forks

In the month of April, on the 1st, in 1865, during the Battle of Five Forks, General George Pickett was defeated hastening the end of the Civil War. General George Pickett was a Confederate General who is famously known for the disastrous Pickett's Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg. He also was known for executing deserters, which he did at the Battle of New Bern in 1864. He ordered 22 Confederate deserters executed there. The Battle of Five Forks took place in Virginia and Pickett was cut off, which sealed the fate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's armies at Petersburg and Richmond. Pickett feared prosecution for his execution of deserters and temporarily fled to Canada after the Civil War ended. He came back to America in 1866 and died in Virginia in 1875. It is said that he was a bitter man who dwelt extensively upon the loss of his men at Gettysburg.

Summerwind Mansion (Suggested by Joshua Chaires, publicist for Summerwind Restoration Society)

Summerwind Mansion is a ruined mansion in Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin. It dates back to the early 1900s and served as a fishing lodge originally. Later the Lamont family would turn the lodge into a mansion. It changed ownership several times until it finally burned to the ground in 1988. The mansion has a deep history of haunting activity to the point that it is considered one of the most haunted locations in Wisconsin.We are joined by Craig Nehring who is the founder of the Fox Valley Ghost Hunters and co-founder of the Summerwind Restoration Society. Craig grew up in Wisconsin near the Summerwind Mansion and he joins us to talk about the history and hauntings of this location.

Summerwind Mansion is a ruined mansion that was built in 1914, by a man named John Frank. Originally it was called West Bay Lake Fishing Lodge. It was designed to be a local bed and breakfast for fisherman that needed a place to stay. Two years later, Mr. Frank sold the fishing lodge to US Secretary of Commerce Robert Patterson Lamont. Mr. Lamont employed famous Chicago architects Thomas Tallmadge and Vernon to convert the fishing lodge into a mansion. The Tallmadge and Watson architectural firm designs are all over Chicago. Those renovations took two years. Once it was converted West Bay Lake Fishing Lodge became Summerwind Mansion/Lilac Hills Mansion. The house is considered by many to be one of the most haunted mansions in the world.

In the 1920's the Lamont family lived there with some servants. The servants/employees of Summerwind would tell Mr. Lamont there was something strange about the house. They told Mr. Lamont that the house was haunted. It is rumored that former Presidents Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover stayed there as well. Mr. Lamont told the employees and servants to grow up. According to "The Carver Effect: A Paranormal Experience", one night Mr. Lamont and his wife were at the table eating dinner. The basement door rustled revealing the ghostly form of a man. Mr. Lamont grabbed his black powered pistol fired two shots at the door and never returned. After Mr. Lamont's death in 1948 the property was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Keefer in an attempt to improve it.

It wasn't until the summer of 1969 when the Hinshaw family moved in, that another family would occupy the house. Mr. and Mrs. Hinshaw and their six children wanted to make Summerwind their home. Once the Hinshaw's moved in they reported seeing vague shapes, shadows, and figures flickering through the hallway. As soon as they would walk in a room the noises would stop. The windows of the mansion would open and close on their own without any scientific explanation. Mr. Hinshaw had to resort to nailing all of the windows shut.  On another reported occasion when Mr. Hinshaw went to work his car was reported to have burst into flames for no reason at all. He had not started the car, or opened the door at all.  A few weeks later the family saw the figure of a black haired woman in the dining floating back and forth behind the doors that lead to a different room. The family decided to take on renovations a few weeks after this reported occurrence.

One day Arnold decided to renovate a room in the house and removed a drawer from a fitted closet. He had shined a torch into the back of the closest and to his surprise there was skeletal remains of an animal back there. He was to big to go through there, so he sent his step daughter April into the crawl space. April went there and screamed when she saw a skull of a human with black hair. After this occurrence things began getting worse at Summerwind. Arnold had began to plan the Hammond B3 organ late at night, claiming the spirits had asked to play these frightening melodies. The family had to resort to staying in one room of the house, because they were to terrified to sleep alone. Ginger tried to commit suicide, but instead called her father and asked to pick her up. The family left Summerwind and never returned. Arnold committed himself to a mental institution. Ginger moved into her parents house in Granton,Wisconsin.

Summerwind was sold back to the Keefer family, but then her father Raymond Von Bober. Sr. purchased the house. Ginger begged her father not to purchase the house, but Ray Sr. thought her stories of a haunting ridiculous. The Bober's plan was to turn it into a bed and breakfast. Much like the Hinshaw's they ran into similar problems. Tools would often disappear on their own, and reappear in another location when contractors would try to renovate the house. The rooms would change lengths and widths on a daily basis. It seems Summerwind would change all the time. The Bober's gave up on Summerwind and never returned again.

After the Hinshaw's and Bober's abandoned Summerwind, Mrs. Keefer died in 1985. The house was purchased by Harold Tracy in 1986 as a wedding anniversary present to his wife Babs. Unfortunately lightning and burnt Summerwind Mansion to the ground on June 19, 1988. The Fox Valley Ghost Hunters have had rock throwing incidents there, to EVP's captured, to shadow people recorded on camera by their associates the Northern Wisconsin Paranormal Society,  It wasn't until 2014, that plans to rebuild Summerwind became a reality again. Paranormal publicist Joshua Chaires, and Wisconsin Ghost Hunter Craig Nehring created the Summerwind Restoration Society in July of 2014. It's goal is to use the original 1916 blue prints of Summerwind Mansion to rebuild it into a museum/haunted bed and breakfast. This would be made possible by 501 (c) (3) donations.

After hearing these stories and firsthand accounts of Summerwind Mansion, it is hard not to believe that something unexplained is happening at this property. Is Summerwind Mansion, or what is left of it, haunted? That is for you to decide!

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