Friday, June 27, 2014

Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake, Illinois

On Tuesday, we went to Crystal Lake's Main Beach to see New Odyssey play, part of my Seven Bands in Seven Days effort.  Main Beach was once part of what is called the Dole Mansion, a Crystal Lake landmark that fortunately still stands.

It belonged to Chicago successful businessman Charles S. Dole who bought over 1,000 acres of land by Crystal Lake in the 1860s.  Construction of the mansion cost well over $100,000, a very substantial amount back then.  And, no expense was spared.  Charles was quite the wealthy man and wanted a showcase to show it off to his Chicago friends out in the country.

Charles S. Dole was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade grain market and with his brother James, was a partner in the Chicago-based Armour, Dole & Company.  (I'll write about this company in my Cooter's History Thing blog later today.)  The name Armour makes me wonder.  Was this the Armour of meatpacking fame?

An example of his wealth took place at his daughter's 1883 wedding when he had a railroad spur built to the mansion from Crystal Lake's train station by the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad so his guests would not have to take horse and buggies.

He lived there until the 1890s and then sold it to his son-in-law for $1.  In the early 1900s, it was owned by several ice companies who used it for operations in the lake.  In 1922, it became Crysrtal Lake's first country club.

In 1945, it was sold to the Franciscan Order and used as a seminary until closing in 1970.  The city now owns it.


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