Once in a great while, a property is presented to the market that is so known, so revered, so celebrated, that no superlative description is required. These are the legacy properties that occupy not only the finest lots on the best streets and feature the highest grade architecture and finishes, these are the iconic properties that are so respected because of both what they are and what they represent. Today, for what is believed to be only the third time in its 115 year history, Glanworth Gardens, the preeminent estate on the premier lake in the Midwest, is being offered for sale.
In the early 1900s, famed Boston architect Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, was charged with designing a new lakeside retreat for the Harris Family, the founding family of Harris Bank and Trust. The site chosen for this new vacation home was a bucolic, undulating lakefront parcel on the north shore, where Snake Road dipped and weaved across the hilly countryside just beyond The Newport Of The West, the city of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The Olmsted Brothers provided the landscaping design, replete with ponds and gardens, meandering pathways and resting perches, all leading visitors through the dense native woods to the level shoreline. The Harris Family named their sprawling Georgian estate Wadsworth Hall after their distant relative Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and went on to enjoy the next ten summers at their lakeside retreat. Later ownership changed the estate name to The Stenning, before the most recent owner purchased the estate in 1998 and renamed it Glanworth Gardens in honor of his mother’s hometown in Ireland.
That next chapter in the history of Glanworth Gardens is perhaps the most compelling. The new owner, motivated by a desire to restore and respect the architectural and natural pedigree of this rare estate, set about a multi-year renovation that touched nearly every piece of this vast property. At times, more than 100 craftsmen were working on site at any given time, all with the singular goal of returning this property to a condition that reflected its importance. When the pool house was relocated to serve as an anchor cottage in what would become known as the Children’s Village, the thatched roof was constructed by artisans from Ireland. Such attention to detail might be rare, but it became the expected norm during this lengthy reconstruction process. While the initial renovation was completed in just over two years, the owner never stopped improving and perfecting this most cherished lake house.
The handsome gated entrance stands alone as perhaps the most impressive entrance along this private stretch of iconic lakefront homes. Past those gates, visitors will be delighted with a playful and memorable drive through the woods, catching glimpses of the ponds and manicured lawns, past the Children’s Village and up through the formal crushed granite motor court. Once inside, guests are greeted by the grand stair and entry hall which immediately proves the original intent of this house: lakeside entertaining. Beyond this ornate room you’ll discover a sunny western family room with wide sweeping views of the gardens and reflecting pool, along with a lakeside library with rich oak paneling flanking the walls and ceiling. The office is quietly tucked away just off the grand hall, providing the owner tranquil views of the motor court and its fountain. Formal and informal dining rooms adjoin the kitchen, anchored by a La Cornue range and custom cabinetry. Thirteen fireplaces dot this floor plan, warming rooms that in spite of their ample size, still manage to be intimate and comfortable.
Ascending the grand stairway you’ll appreciate the closer look at that thirty-foot great room ceiling with its intricate plaster and piping. The primary bedroom hallway heads to the west, with several guest suites and the ultimate primary suite with fireplace, dressing room and updated full bath. The guest wing contains more lakeside bedrooms, most with en suite baths, bringing the total bedroom count in this home to thirteen. Additional property structures include a four bedroom guest house, carriage house, staff offices, boathouse, the children’s village and more.
Today, Glanworth Gardens, with its legacy structures and forty acres encompassing some of the most desirable and rare lakefront in the Midwest, is offered for sale. Confidential tours available upon qualified request.