The mail boat tour lasts for two and a half hours and in between jumps, passengers learn a lot about the history of the huge homes dotting the shoreline. The rich families in Chicago were intent on turning Geneva Lake into the "Newport of the West.
This movement got started soon after the Great Chicago Fire. Everybody who was anybody built a place on the seven-mile long lake. Names like Schwinn, Selfridge, Wacker, Drake, Swift and Wrigley began to appear.
Nowadays, most of Geneva Lake's shore residents get their mail the regular way, by land, but some 75 addresses hew to tradition and opt for the free water service which is available during the summer only.