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Waterfront mansion becomes Wisconsin’s most expensive home at $20.75 million

Wisconsin‘s most expensive home has hit the market for $20.75 million. 

The 12,396-square-foot mansion, known as Villa Hortensia, sits on 20 acres of waterfront land in Lake Geneva – about two hours northwest of Chicago. 

The six-bedroom, 10-bathroom property was built in 1906 for meatpacking tycoon Edwin Swift. 

Swift worked with architect Howard Van Doren Shaw to create a breathtaking home that has stood the test of time after more than a century. 

‘Old homes like this with an architectural pedigree, the layouts weren’t complicated. They weren’t busy, like they would be today,’ listing agent David Curry told Relator.

‘The simplicity of it really stands out. It’s just clean. It’s simple. The rooms are all oriented to face the water.’

Lake Geneva has long been a resort city for wealthy residents from Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison – all of which are less than a two-hour drive away.  

Wisconsin’s most expensive home has hit the market for $20.75 million. The 12,396-square-foot mansion, known as Villa Hortensia, sits on 20 acres of waterfront land in Lake Geneva – about two hours northwest of Chicago

The six-bathroom, 10-bathroom property was built in 1906 for meatpacking tycoon, Edwin Swift. Swift worked with architect Howard Van Doren Shaw to create a breathtaking home that has stood the test of time after more than a century

The six-bathroom, 10-bathroom property was built in 1906 for meatpacking tycoon, Edwin Swift. Swift worked with architect Howard Van Doren Shaw to create a breathtaking home that has stood the test of time after more than a century

'The simplicity of it really stands out. It's just clean. It's simple': Listing agent David Curry says the home feels extremely modern and livable, despite being built 115 years ago

‘The simplicity of it really stands out. It’s just clean. It’s simple’: Listing agent David Curry says the home feels extremely modern and livable, despite being built 115 years ago 

The six-bathroom, 10-bathroom property was built in 1906 for meatpacking tycoon, Edwin Swift. In 1878, he founded Swift Bros and Company in partnership with his brother, Gustavus. Swift & Co revolutionized the way meat was produced and distributed in America, and netted the brothers a fortune. The extended Swift family is pictured shortly after the founding

The six-bathroom, 10-bathroom property was built in 1906 for meatpacking tycoon, Edwin Swift. In 1878, he founded Swift Bros and Company in partnership with his brother, Gustavus. Swift & Co revolutionized the way meat was produced and distributed in America, and netted the brothers a fortune. The extended Swift family is pictured shortly after the founding 

Villa Hortensia is located on Snake Road – one of the area’s most exclusive streets, full of historic waterfront properties built for wealthy magnates. 

The property remained in the Swift family for several years before it was sold off. 

The current owners have lived in the home for more around 20 years, keeping up maintenance on the stately residence. 

However, many of the original features are still intact – a testament to the craftsmanship of the early 20th Century.  

‘The home has original millwork, original doors, original windows, and original detailed latticework. It’s got tons of original features,’ Curry stated. 

Real estate photos show the home is incredibly light and airy, with its downstairs rooms boasting French doors and floor-to-ceiling windows aimed at maximizing the waterfront views.  

Real estate photos show the home is incredibly light and airy, with its downstairs rooms boasting French doors and floor-to-ceiling windows aimed at maximizing the waterfront views

Real estate photos show the home is incredibly light and airy, with its downstairs rooms boasting French doors and floor-to-ceiling windows aimed at maximizing the waterfront views

The mansion's formal dining room is pictured. Guests at the dinner table are able to look directly out onto Lake Geneva

The mansion’s formal dining room is pictured. Guests at the dinner table are able to look directly out onto Lake Geneva 

Curry says it is likely that the future owner will be a wealthy commuter who uses the home for holidays

Curry says it is likely that the future owner will be a wealthy commuter who uses the home for holidays

A spiral staircase leads up to the second level of the house, where a number of the home's bedrooms and bathrooms are located. In addition to the stately main house, there is also a three-bedroom guest house

A spiral staircase leads up to the second level of the house, where a number of the home’s bedrooms and bathrooms are located. In addition to the stately main house, there is also a three-bedroom guest house

The home features lavish fixtures including chandeliers and marble fireplaces, however it still feels relaxed, open and accessible

The home features lavish fixtures including chandeliers and marble fireplaces, however it still feels relaxed, open and accessible 

Many of the bedrooms come complete with wood-burning fireplaces. The home also has many of its original fixtures still intact - a testament to the craftsmanship of the early 20th century

Many of the bedrooms come complete with wood-burning fireplaces. The home also has many of its original fixtures still intact – a testament to the craftsmanship of the early 20th century

The property is perfect for entertaining, and also boasts a three-bedroom guest house. 

Additionally, there are two sailing docks, a swimming pool and a clay tennis court. 

Curry says it is likely that the future owner will be a wealthy commuter who uses the home for holidays. 

‘It’s more than likely the ultimate and best use of this property is similar to the other ones on the lake, which are almost entirely vacation homes,’ he stated. 

Edwin Swift co-founded Swift Bros and Company in partnership with his brother, Gustavus in 1878. 

Swift & Co revolutionized the way meat was produced and distributed in America, and netted the brothers a fortune. 

But while Swift was based in Chicago, he frequently escaped to spend time on Lake Geneva with his family – as many wealthy residents of the Windy City continue to do today. 

The most expensive home previously listed in Wisconsin was also on the waterfront at Lake Geneva. 

That home was listed back in 2019 for $13.9 million, but was only situated on three acres of land.  

The property has two sailing docks, a swimming pool and a clay tennis court

The property has two sailing docks, a swimming pool and a clay tennis court

Curry says it is likely that the future owner will be a wealthy commuter who uses the home for holidays

Curry says it is likely that the future owner will be a wealthy commuter who uses the home for holidays


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