Summerwind: A Northwoods Legend

By Kelly Rhode, Northwoods News Contributor

Ghost stories and urban legends go hand in hand with October and Halloween. But if you are from Northern Wisconsin, one story seems to be talked about all year round. If Summerwind Mansion in Land O’ Lakes comes to mind, than you are correct. And you may even have some stories of your own encounters!

Photo by Kane Adams

For those who are unfamiliar, Summerwind Mansion, also known as the Lamont Mansion, was built on the shores of West Bay Lake in the early 1900’s. Although it did not have many owners, the impact it made on the few is what makes this property one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin. None of the accounts of the property have been corroborated, but that doesn’t make them any less creepy.

One of the owners, Robert Patterson Lamont and his wife Helen, did not stay at the property for very long. They hoped to renovate this former fishing lodge into a place for their family to enjoy. Legend has it that the renovations woke the spirits within this property. Shadows, sounds and even a ghost revealing itself one night in the kitchen were more than the couple could take. They fled the mansion to never return.

Photo by Phantasmagoria Photography

It wasn’t until many years later that the Hinshaw Family purchased the grand estate. The excited young couple were eager to make it their own but soon learned that they couldn’t pay any contractors to step foot on the property. But that was only the beginning of the horrors the family would face in their short six months at the mansion. So many strange things were reported to have occurred. The sounds of disembodied voices, a corpse found behind a hidden wall, cold gusts of wind, and the demonic possession of Mr. Hinshaw himself, which reportedly caused him to play an organ with bone chilling sounds coming from it into the late hours of the night.

These are only a couple of the encounters that people have shared. Stories of the dimensions of rooms changing to ghostly figures being around every corner have plagued this property for years.

It wasn’t until in 1988 that a storm came through and the deteriorating mansion was struck by lighting, burning to the ground. The question remains: Is this property truly haunted? Are the stories true? We may never know, but one thing is for sure; the mystery of Summerwind catches the interest of storytellers, paranormal enthusiasts, and has even made its way onto the tv screen with documentaries and haunted tales alike.

Photo by Kane Adams

Today, the private property that was once known as Summerwind remains tucked away in the woods of Northern Wisconsin only to be talked about in legends. If you were lucky enough, perhaps you were able to experience a firsthand account of the other worldly encounters before the property was closed to the public. Visit Fox Valley Ghost Hunters, who hosted a tour of the property this past June.

There are many websites you can explore to learn more about the mystery of this famous mansion. There was even an episode of The Haunting that tried to depict how it really felt to live inside this eerie place.

If you have your own story to tell about Summerwind, please email us at We would love to hear it.


Photo from Time Life Magazine, 1980


Kelly was born and raised in the Eagle River area.

She is married to her wonderful husband, and Mom to her amazing son.

Kelly enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors and traveling.

She is excited to be working in the community that she has called home for most of her life.