The Fargo Mansion in The News – Then and Now

In the early 1980s, the Fargo Mansion Inn was slated for demolition. The two men who purchased it and saved it (Tom Boycks and Barry Luce) have done a remarkable job of restoring it.

This weekend, this wonderful house (and one of the Innkeepers, Tom Boycks) were featured in the news.

And it’s a very photogenic house. I’ve given 200 lectures in 25 states, and I’ve stayed in a lot of B&Bs, and I can honestly say that the Fargo Mansion Inn was my favorite. Perhaps part of the reason is my family connection. The house belonged to my great, great Aunt Addie and her husband, Enoch J. Fargo. As mentioned in other blogs, the current owners have done a first-class job of restoring this beautiful 7,500-square-foot Queen Anne manse.

In the last few days, David Spriggs and I have been slowly working our way through old editions of the Lake Mills Leader (newspaper) and in the process, we found some fascinating historical tidbits about the grand old house. On a personal note, one of the most interesting tidbits was discovering that my grandmother visited “Aunt Addie’s house” when she was six years old.

To read about the murder of Addie Hoyt, click here.

To learn more about the Fargo Mansion, click here.

To book a room at this magnificent B&B, click here.


Enoch married Addie on February 11, 1896. This notice about the remodeling of the Fargo Mansion appeared in the newspaper on August 13, 1896.


more here

The same newspaper (August 13, 1896) said that the Fargos had moved into their "cottage by the lake." You might think that was so the work could be done to the "big house" and yet the article says that the Hubbs family had moved in!



On August 27, 1896 the paper said that Mr. Henningson was making good progress on the remodeling of the Fargo Mansion.



As of October 29, 1896, Enoch and Addie's home was "nearing completion."


house house

On November 12, 1896, Addie and Enoch moved into a corner of the house.


house warming

The big housewarming was on July 8, 1897, almost a full year after the work had started.



In 1887, Anna Hoyt (Addie's sister) married Wilbur Whitmore and moved away from Lake Mills, settling in Denver, Colorado. Anna's first child died at the age of six. Anna's second child ("Florence") was born in 1891. Florence Whitmore (my grandmother) was six years old when she went east to visit "Aunt Addie" in Lake Mills. This item appeared in the Lake Mills Leader on July 8, 1897. Little Florence had traveled - by train - alone from Denver for Addie's big house-warming party.


My grandmother, Florence Whitmore (Fuller).

My grandmother, Florence Whitmore (Fuller). It was quite something to think that my grandmother had visited Addie and Enoch at their home in Lake Mills.



Florence didn't return to Denver until October 26, 1897. This snippet (above) appeared on October 27th. Florence was with her Auntie in Lake Mills for almost four months (from early July to late October . Perhaps even more interesting, six-year-old Florence traveled *alone* from Chicago to Denver. I'd imagine that Auntie took little Florence to Chicago, because there was "non-stop service" from Chicago to Denver.


Apparently Florence survived that long train ride in 1897.

Apparently little Florence survived that long train ride in 1897. "Grandmother Fuller" lived into her 90s, passing on in 1985. I wish I'd known to ask Florence about Addie.


Fargo Mansion

Addie put together a photo album for her sister (living in Denver), and in that photo album, there were several pictures of the Fargo Mansion.



This was a rarity for this time period: A photo of the bedroom. One of my friends (who's well versed in the ways of Victorian women) asked me, "Was Addie pregnant here?" I told her, "I don't think so." She replied, "This photo really makes me wonder. The rocking chair, the fluffy dress, and the needlework, plus it was very unusual for a woman to permit a professional photographer to take pictures of her in the bedroom."


Addie in front

Addie in front of the Fargo Mansion.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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1 Comment

  1. Cathy R.

    Oh what new and fascinating tidbits! The pregnancy bit does put an interesting spin on an already tantalizing story! If she were with child and lost the baby, she would have been in great despair – maybe a loss even rendering her infertile. Another reason for Enoch to pursue a more fertile “oven” in which to bear a son to carry on the Fargo name? Polygamy for someone of his “stature” would have been more of a social stain than murder, in those days, I suspect?