In Lake Mills, the beautiful and elegant Fargo Mansion is decorated in style for the Christmas holidays. The Fargo Mansion Inn is one of the most grandiose and remarkable mansions in Wisconsin, and incredibly, it was slated for demolition in the early 1980s. The two men who purchased it (Tom Boycks and Barry Luce) have done a remarkable job of restoring it.
Since purchasing the 7-500-square foot Queen Anne Manse in 1985, Barry and Tom have poured their heart and soul (and a kajillion dollars) into the careful restoration of the old house, and they’ve done a first-class job. If visiting this house is not on your “bucket list,” it certainly should be. To make a reservation, click here.
Take a look at Addie’s House, all dressed up for Christmas. (Thanks to Jan Vanderheiden for the photos!)
To read about Addie’s special Christmas present to Wilbur in 1900, click here.
The Fargo Mansion Inn at night - all dressed up for Christmas. (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)
Christmas tree at the foot of the staircase in the mansion. (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)
When Tom and Barry bought the mansion in 1985, many of the original moldings and mantels had been removed, in anticipation of its demolition. This settee was one of the few original items that remained. (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)
A small tree and "Christmas Village" adorn the solarium at the Fargo Mansion.(Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)
And a beautifully decorated tree sits in the main parlor. (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)
It was Christmas 1900 when Addie sent this photo album to her brother-in-law in Denver (my great-grandfather).
Scroll on down to see photos of Addie’s house in Addie’s time (late 1890s).
Addie sent this photo to her family in Denver, Colorado. Her sister Anna Hoyt Whitmore lived in Denver with her husband Wilbur, and their two children. Addie was obviously very proud of her home, and wanted to let her big sister know, she finally had a home of her own.
Addie is on the lower left, with Enoch above her. Elsie and Mattie (sisters) are on the right.
This is my favorite photo, and shows Addie sitting in the master bedroom.
Close-up of that amazing bed!
From the staircase, looking out toward the front parlor.
This "electrolier" (both electric and gas) is adorned with magnolia leaves.
Close up of the fretwork, trim and heavy curtain over the doorway.
I just love these chairs!
Enoch in repose with his evening newspaper.
A picture from one of the parlors, looking toward the front door and grand staircase.
Addie (at the piano) and Mattie (singing) enjoy some quality family time. Elsie is to the right and out of frame in this shot.
This is the front parlor (nearest the front door) looking into the room (on the far right) that adjoins the dining room.
And this is also a favorite photo. That's a heckuva newel post light! Unfortunately, "Our Lady With the Light" is gone, and Tom and Barry would love to know what became of her.
Enoch invented a central vacuum system, and he's shown here "getting his suit cleaned" by one of the servants. This photo appeared in a manual on the central vacuum system that Tom and Barry found. It also shows great detail of the home's interior. This would have been a little after Addie's time, in the early 1910s.
Another photo of Enoch's central vacuum, and this one is in the kitchen.
Tom and Barry have done a phenomenal job of restoring this grand old mansion. They told me that this house was slated for demolition when they purchased it (in1985) and began their life-long labor of restoration. It's an ongoing project, but their love of this house shines through in each and every faithfully restored nook and cranny.
This is one of my favorite pictures, for it captures the workmanship of the original structure, and the painstaking work that had to be done in the restoration.
A view of the parlor today.
I shudder to think that this incredible house nearly ended up as another memory in another small town. Were it not for Tom and Barry, this house would be another pile of forgotten construction debris at the local landfill.
To learn more about Addie, click here.
To learn more about old houses, click here.
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Absolutely beautiful! I wish, I wish I lived closer. I would love to visit this stunning mansion and get some photos! I LOVE old houses and I LOVE architecture.
It really is a beautiful building. Although I live outside of town, but have gone past this mansion a number of times, stopping to admire (and photograph) it. That was before I knew the tragic story behind it. The building photographs remarkably well, and so many of these photos truly showcases its “depth of character.”