Stone Manor

Otto Young was born in Prussia in the year 1844. He moved to London, then to New York. He made his fortune in Chicago, and in 1901 he built his limestone masterpiece, dubbed Youngland Manor, on the eastern shore of Geneva Lake. After decades of meticulous restoration, the entire first floor of his palacial lakeside retreat is available for sale. The spaces are unlike anything most have ever encountered, with dedication to the restoration and preservation of orginal finishes typically reserved for public buildings of cultural importance.

Stone Manor

When construction of this home was originally undertaken, the budget was set at $150,000. Several years later in 1901, the completed project cost $2,000,000. When you gold plate your light fixtures, budgets tend to swell. Those original fixtures still light the rooms in this apartment, and each sconce and chandelier is equally unique and inspired. While these photographs represent the inspiring spaces both inside and outside of this spectacular apartment, it truly must be seen to be believed. As the current owner recently marveled, “Not a day goes by that I’m not struck by something new- a detail, a curve, a carving“. It should be added that there is awe in the simple way the afternoon sun pushes through the spaces. After all, this is a 114 year old lakefront home, and it was built smartly by the son of an architect who understood the value in framing a view.


This is a lakefront property that we all know. If you’ve walked the shores, captained a boat, or toured the shoreline with a tour guide, you know this house. It cannot be ignored, with its limestone walls and massive scale. But there’s something more here, something less foreboding than the name this property was given nearly 70 years after it first rose from this shoreline. This home represents the story of two men, even though there have been far more involved in the building from inception to this Friday in January. The first, of course, is the original owner. Otto Young.


Lest we think of Otto as a a land and jewelry baron who collected money to such a degree that he built a monstrous vacation home to display his affection for costly limestone, consider Otto as less that and more this: A guy from Chicago who wanted his wife and kids to have a place to spend their summer, away from the heat and bustle of the city. Consider he bought his boat before he built his house, which is a move that can only be considered a mistake if the owner of said boat is then looking to wedge it onto an association pier with length limitations. Consider he set out to build this house for that low sum of $150k, and when the last clouds of limestone dust settled he had rung up over $2MM in actual costs. There are owners around Geneva of late that have built homes for $10MM- Otto spent the equivalent of $55MM. Strip away all of the stoic, black and white history of this building and this lake and realize that Otto Young was a simply a buyer who wanted his lakefront home to be something special, and he got so caught up in that goal that he spent a bit too much money. This is a common affliction of lakefront owners for all of history.


A succinct headline wraps up how Otto Young must have felt about his beloved Youngland Manor. “Otto Young Dies At Country Home”. He had a fabulous home on Calumet in Chicago, nearby Marshall Fields little domicile, but he chose to spend his final days battling tuberculosis at the lake, probably gazing out over the waters, watching those marvelous sunsets. He was said to have frequented Palm Beach, Florida in the winter months, but upon the worsening of his health in October of 1906, he didn’t opt for the warm weather of southern Florida. Instead, he headed up the lake, even as fall turned to winter, and the vibrant colors of autumn turned dark. Otto Young died December 1, 1906. Newspaper accounts state that upon completion of his lakefront home, he spent most of his time there, even though he maintained his Calumet residence. The shame of Mr. Young’s story, is in the timing of it all. See, Mr. Young built the home in 1899, and it took nearly three years to complete, so it wasn’t until sometime in late 1901 until he truly got to enjoy his expensive masterpiece. Like a bad Alanis Morissette song, Mr. Young died just four short years later.

Family Room

The ownership from Mr. Young through today is extensive, and complicated in and of itself, and that is to be expected. There has been little constant here at this Manor since 1906, and if not since, then certainly since the Young family relinquished control of the building and it fell into various hands with various uses and even more varied intents. The property was many things, but what matters most is that the building remains. It would have been remarkably easy to demolish this building in the 50s or 60s or certainly the 70s, back when development of Geneva was occurring rapidly and estates were being cut to pieces to serve the need for more lakefront homes, more lake access homes, more condominiums. The story continues in the 1970s, when the current residence for sale was a restaurant, serving the finest French fare in the most dazzling setting imaginable. The story finds a lakefront owner dining at the restaurant often, enjoying the fanciful scene and the food, sure, but enjoying the surroundings even more.


The owner quickly became fond of the space, and throughout those years a deal was struck between this patron and the owner: the first floor was to be sold. What follows is legal intrigue, as the difficult task of separating a first floor from a wholly owned building took time and money, perhaps more of each than anyone had bargained for. What transpired next is the remarkable bit of the tale, as the new owner set about restoring his new lakefront gem, and doing so in a way that honored the original builders and the original owner. It would have been so easy at this time to look at a wall clothed in 100 year old fabric, bits damaged by a century of moisture and neglect, and opt to remove it in favor of a more manageable material. On a lake famous for paying lip service to history but documented in its disdain for the art of preservation, this owner took the alternate route and what ensued was three decades of painstaking restoration.

Marble Fireplace

There are palaces the world around that are fanciful and detailed. If this building were a reproduction, a replication, a visually exciting but substantively false display of this ornate style, that would be acceptable but not preferred. What makes this building so incredibly unique is the original condition of it all. The light fixtures that adorn this residence were estimated to be worth well over one million dollars, a value earned by the authenticity and bespoke nature of these gold plates sconces and chandeliers. The flooring that was damaged over time was either repaired or replaced, but it was replaced with the same variety of wood, sourced from wherever it could be found, no matter the cost or the difficulty. The building is authentic, original, and in such condition that it can now be certain that this stone manor will anchor that eastern shoreline of Geneva for centuries to come.


What comes now is the sale bit. The owner, having cherished this residence for more than 30 years, has determined that it is time to let this property pass to the next deserving steward. The work has been done, the fabrics and stone and previous metals cleaned and revitalized. What is left now is the truest form of that original owners vision, having only been modernized where necessary to provide modern mechanical conveniences. The 12,000 square feet of finished space included two parking stalls in the underground garage, and a boatslip on the private piers. There is a massive pool on the roof, a tennis court, and ten gated lakefront acres. This is truly the most spectacular space in the Lake Geneva market, but it likely owns that same title for the entirety of Wisconsin. And that’s why it comes back to those two men. The man who built his dream home, and the one who made sure it remained one.

About the Author

I'm David Curry. I write this blog to educate and entertain those who subscribe to the theory that Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is indeed the center of the real estate universe. When I started selling real estate 27 years ago I did so of a desire to one day dominate the activity in the Lake Geneva vacation home market. With over $800,000,000 in sales since January of 2010, that goal is within reach. If I can help you with your Lake Geneva real estate needs, please consider me at your service. Thanks for reading.

7 thoughts on “Stone Manor”

  1. Do we get to guess the price or property taxes first?

    Also, if Johnson Wax wasnt privately held, I would buy stock in it in anticipation of all the Pledge(tm) you would need for the woodwork.

  2. Property taxes are $68k. Really not a bad bargain for what this is. Association dues are $2700 monthly, which come with a 34% voting share for the building. Price is $5.995MM, which comes with the $1.5MM worth of light fixtures thrown in!

  3. Totally beautiful, I especially like the walkway outside. Since I am already in my mid 60’s, if I win the lotto, this is my first purchase since I am sure that the Echoes will not be available. Such a dream, such joy to view, mesmerizing.

  4. Such a beautiful building with incredible history having been in the Piano business for many many years it would be interesting to know what brand and how many pianos were there .

    At one time the PA Starck piano company had a home on the so shore of the lake. Then I believe Lee Phillips and husband owned it for a number of yr. Years ago the LGCC has a large Starck grand piano that we did a Major restoration on. A number of our customers have homes on beautiful Lk Geneva .


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