Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Rehoboth - A Lakeshore Mansion With a Dog Trot

Last month, on our tour of the Geneva Lake, Wisconsin historical shoreline, we paid a visit to Snug Harbor, the beautiful Queen Anne home of George and Mary Delafield Sturges. This month, we move a short way down the shore path, to the north, to Rehoboth, the country home of Hubbard Carpenter and his wife Rosalie Sturges Carpenter.

After Snug Harbor was built and George and Mary had passed away, their daughter and son-in-law purchased some of Snug Harbor’s land and built their own magnificent country home and named it Rehoboth.

Unlike the other mansions on the lakeshore that were designed in a Mediterranean Revival style or Queen Anne Victorian like Snug Harbor, the large home was modeled after a Devonshire farmhouse, and even included the “dog trot” that was common to such homes. This feature in this style of home, which was designed by famed architect of the time, Howard Shaw, was an open passageway in the center of the home, The intention of the design was to allow for the farmer’s animals to move to and from the barnyard. Obviously, the Carpenters had no farm animals, so they enclosed the passageway with large windows at either end, that afforded a
Interior & Exterior Shots from House Beautiful Article
view of the lake, even from the back of the home that faced away from the water. The October 1909 issue of House Beautiful Magazine described the exterior of the home and how it blended so well into its surroundings saying, “one scarcely notes where nature ends and art begins.”

The public rooms were not completely divided into small boxy rooms, but were a forerunner of the open concept so popular today.

A story goes that one Christmas, some wrapping paper caught fire and the local volunteer fire department came to the rescue. At night it was difficult to see the glass windows in the “dog trot” and one of the firemen nearly directed the fire truck toward the passageway. Disaster was circumvented by one of the servants before even more damage would have been done to the home.

The home remained in the Carpenter family until 1954 when the estate was sold to J.  Rockefeller Prentice, grandson of J.D. Rockefeller. The home was abolished and a new home was built in its place that is still there today and remains in the Prentice family.

What historical mansions have you seen and or toured? How have they inspired you?

Lake Geneva Newport of the West; Ann Wolfmeyer & Mary Burns Gage, 1976.
House Beautiful Magazine, November 1909, Vol 26-17, Google Books

A native of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, author Pamela S. Meyers lives in suburban Chicago with her two rescue cats. Her novels include Thyme for Love, and Love Will Find a Way, contemporary romantic mysteries, and her 1933 historical romance, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. When she isn’t at her laptop writing her latest novel, she can often be found nosing around Wisconsin and other Midwestern spots for new story ideas.


  1. Love reading your posts about Lake Geneva. It's one place I would love to visit someday. Wisconsin is one of the few states I haven't visited. Thanks for sharing. BTW: It was your first posts that really whetted my interest.

  2. I've seen the Hearst Castle here in S CA and it is very impressive. Would love to stay in one of the cottages on the property. sm wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  3. Martha, if you ever make it north to visit L.G. I'd love to personally take you around! It's a well-known and loved place by a lot of people in the Midwest, especially Northern IL and Southern WI, but perhaps not so much anywhere else. Although I must say, since my book came out I've encountered many from very far away who have visited there.