Fascinating collection of photographs found at This site.
"Summerwind Photos and More 1981-88
Post by omw on Mar 20, 2009, 6:15pm
So I got a photos album from one of my mom's good friends. Inside is all sorts of photos and documentation from her research on Summerwind and the Paulding Light from 1981-88. I will start scanning some of this in to share with you all. I was amazed what I found inside when I got the album. Lets start with the inside cover. Here's a piece of Summerwind from before it burned down."
"A Realtor, who once handled the sale of the terri-fying haunted house, picked a brick off the porch as a souvenir. While driving away, she had an automobile accident and just last week told me she had "long ago thrown that brick away."
The last time at Summerwind, I stood on the porch of the wasted stone ruins, closing my eyes to the era when such lumi-naries as President Warren Harding stayed within its 26-room palaced walls. I honestly felt an exultant feeling of the creeps. I had been searching for the place for hours, and upon finding it hidden in the deep timber, was eerily excited.
I cupped an ear for transcendental organ sounds, said to still drift off the nearby lake at night because a one-time resident was driven mad by ghosts who demanded to be soothed by organ music. His wife attempted suicide.
As the legend goes, a Great Lakes captain, Jonathan Carver, once owned the tract but was tricked out of the deed at the site where Summerwind was built. He died a pauper, and is one of the ghosts claimed to reappear to reclaim ownership. The mansion itself was built in 1916 by mil-lionaire Robert P. Lamont, who became Pres-ident Hoover's secretary of commerce. Bizarre events followed as owner-upon-owner bought it, and sold it, spooked by apparitions and ghostly goings on. Wallpaper hung on one day would fall off the next. Paint would change colors overnight. A ghost named Ma-thilda was said to float through walls and windows. One owner was driven to a mental institution. A resident was struck speechless, to never utter another word, upon finding a skeleton sealed in a wall.
The empty mansion, built mightily of stone, brick and frame, had just burned under strange circumstances when I last visited. Still, walls and chimney stood gauntly. A stranger said, "Come back to me after you've been there and tell me what you smelled." I caught the strange essence of orange rind. "You're correct," he said. "That is from the spirits." There is no question among towners yet today that when the mansion burned, that skeleton, still sealed within a wall, was consumed by flames.
In recent years, several businessmen bought the site for $20,000, envisioning it as a potential haunted bed and breakfast. The tales of ghosts were too realistic for investors to get involved. All backed out.
"Certainly, now I'm out of the deal," says Jerry Olk, of Head-water State Bank of Wisconsin. "In everyone's mind around here, it's still a haunted place."
One of those who had invested in the restoration was Roger "Skip" Pfohl. He claims to have been clutched by the curse of Summerwind.
"My life has been a nightmare since buying an interest in that place," he told me. "I lost a franchise business. My best friends, who co-owned Summerwind with me, weren't speaking to me. I had a psychic visit it. He got out in a hurry, said it was so spooked that even he wanted no part of it."
The curse lingers. In recent weeks, Skip was starting an old Chris Craft in his boat house. It exploded, blowing him into the water and burning the house to water's edge. He escaped with a broken leg, and luckily friends were nearby to save his life.
Summerwind is now owned by a Chicago couple, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Tracy, who have left the place in a certain abandoned, spooky splendor, but banker Olk believes they might sell for $100,000. "
"I called Jerry Olk, of Headwater State Bank in Land O’ Lakes. He said, “What’s left of Summerwind is still there, mostly tall stone fireplace chimneys and the stone porches that were left when the place burned a dozen or so years ago. Nothing has been done since the last time you were here. It’s a beautiful spot that no one wants.”
Photos from Forum click to see more
"I’ve vainly tried to reach the Summerwind owners, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Tracy of Chicago. There is an answering machine, with a woman’s cheery voice that says “Greetings.” But I’ve received no return calls. The mystery is still there. Are all the tales true, about skeletons, bullet holes and cars bursting into flames in the driveway?"
To see the full article check out :
- Quad City Times article 1995
- Quad City Times Article 2007
- Forum Discussion and Pictures