Built in 1916 by Robert P. Lamont for himself and his family on the shores of
During his 15 years at the mansion Lamont believed the structure was haunted. Lamont suddenly abandoned the mansion in the mid 1930s after one particularly frightening evening. He and his wife had just settled down to an evening meal in the kitchen, when the door to the basement shook itself open and a ghostly form of a man appeared. Lamont grabbed a pistol and fired two shots at the apparition as door swung shut. Holes in the basement door could still be seen many years later after the home came under new ownership.
From the 1940s to the 60s the house was owned by the Keefer family but remained largely unoccupied. When Mr. Keefer died his widow subdivided the land and sold it to purchasers but they experienced financial difficulties in keeping up payments.
During this time the Hinshaws tried to renovate their historic home but had trouble keeping workers because Summerwind gained a reputation for being haunted. Workers would not show up for work, usually claiming illness, a few of them simply outright refused to work. The Hinshaws decided to do the work themselves. During the renovation,
Several years later Ginger's father, Raymond Von Bober, bought Summerwind and wanted to turn the house into a restaurant. The Von Bobers' attempts to renovate the house suffered the same problems as the Hinshaws' years ago. Von Bober's son Karl experienced a variety of unnerving events. While walking through a hallway he heard a voice call his name, but he was the only one in the house. Then he heard what heard what sounded like two pistol shots and ran into the kitchen to find the room filled with smoke and the smell of gunpowder, an apparent supernatural reenactment from the 1930s Lamont incident.
During Von Bober's renovations workmen also began to report uneasiness as tools began to disappear. Furnishings appeared in photographs, which had not been existence since the original owners had possession of the home. Room dimensions appeared to change in these photographs and as draftspeople tried to produce blueprints of rooms.
For us the house seemed to retain its sense of mystery. On our first trip to explore and photograph the house we never found it, despite being within several yards of the ruin. A few days later after further research we decided to try again. This time we found it and we felt a sense of sadness and abandonment contrasting the pleasant sunny day, as we approached the ruin. The chimneys stood like tombstones against the sky, an epitaph to its former glory. The dull buzzing sounds of the spring hatching of flies on the mansion grounds added to the eerie atmosphere. As we walked around the ruin among the weeds and wild growing trees, Anna and I photographed and talked about the house, how sad that such a grand home had become so desolate. In spite of the walls having burned down long ago, the house seemed to retain its sense of volume. The weed-covered foundation and archways that still remain hinted to a grander time. We both wondered why no one has tried since the 1980s to clear the land and rebuilt another home.
This reminded us of TS Eliot:
In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.
- excerpt from EAST COKER
(No. 2 of 'Four Quartets')