History

Learn the local history of the Dole Mansion, building the expansion and the founding of the Crystal Lake Country Club, Franciscan Order, First Congregational Church, and the Dole.

1800 – Grain Merchant and Armour, Dole & Co


1860 – Purchased Land 1000 acres surrounding Crystal Lake

Step back to a simpler time to explore the craftsmanship and unexpected brilliance of a Civil War-era architectural masterpiece – the historic Dole Mansion.


1858 – Owned the Largest Grain Elevator

Chicago Board of Trade Committee


1863 – Started Building Architectural Styles: Romantic Italianate & Second Empire

  • Detail Designs:
  • Wheat Icons Designs – Grain Merchant
  • Black Walnut Wood
  • Pocket Doors
  • Fireplaces – Marble White Carrara
  • Dumb Waiter
  • Servant’s Stairs

1865 – Finished Construction Cost: $100,000


1873 – Crystal Ice Company

Shipped blocks of ice all over the Midwest.


1896 – Charles Dole Retires

Sold Mansion & Ice Company for $1.00 to son-in-law A.C. Stowell.


1914 – Crystal Lake Ice Company burned down

 

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1922 – Mrs. Lou Ringling Purchased for $500,000

Eliza “Lou” Ringling was the widow of Al Ringling, the oldest brother of the famous circus family. Lou and other prominent investors from Chicago created the original Country Club of Crystal Lake.

Main Beach was sold to the City of Crystal Lake.


1925 – Annex Built

  • Tutor style tower
  • Magnificent Ballroom
  • 44 Bedrooms
  • (2) 18-Hole Golf Courses
  • Roaring 20s during Prohibition
  • Creation of Country Club Additions to subdivide property lots in The Gates

1929 – Great Depression


1938 – Doors Officially Closed

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1944 – Franciscan Order of Lake Forest Purchased

  • Converted into St. Mary Minor School for Boys (Prep Seminary)
  • Annex – School & Bedrooms for the Boys
  • Mansion – Chapel & Home to the Franciscans

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1976 – First Congregational Church (FCC) Purchased

The annex portion of the structure was renovated for use by thousands of hours of volunteer work. The Church named the facility “Lakeside Center.”

  • Community Center
  • Friendship House Day Care Center for Children

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2002 – Major fundraising effort to save the property from development, called the “Lakeside Legacy Project” and spearheaded by several community leaders, the local neighborhood community and the Crystal Lake Jaycees raised over $2m to purchase the property in much need of repairs.

In 2002, in an unprecedented groundswell from the local community which generously gave over two million dollars in just 42 days to enable the hastily formed Lakeside Legacy Foundation to meet a deadline, and purchase the property, and save it for the community.

Officially opened on July 4, 2005, it is owned and operated by the non-profit Lakeside Legacy Foundation, formed for the purpose of preservation, protection, and enhancement of the property. Reawakening took over two years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to complete.

The Lakeside Legacy Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization. The Foundation’s mission is to preserve and protect the historic Dole Mansion and surrounding properties by creating a go-to community destination, delivering high-quality cornerstone events, and supporting local non-profit organizations.

 

2022 – The Dole Today…

Honoring our mission, The Dole is host to these community-leading fundraising cornerstone events:

  • LAKESIDE FESTIVAL – The 4th of July Lakeside Festival is the granddaddy of cornerstone events at The Dole. Started 43 years ago when the property was owned by the First Congregational Church, the event has expanded exponentially under the Lakeside Legacy Foundation and is now the leading 4th of July Festival in the surrounding counties.
  • FARMERS MARKET+ AT THE DOLE – In only two years running, the Farmers Market+ At The Dole was voted the Best Farmers Market in Illinois in 2021.
  • MUSIC UNDER THE TREES AT THE DOLE – This Ravinia-style concert event can be enjoyed on the front lawn of The Dole Thursday evenings overlooking the historic property and providing some of the best views of Crystal Lake.
  • LOU’S LOUNGE AT THE DOLE – This intimate, speakeasy-themed lounge is dedicated to Eliza Louise “Lou” Ringling who bought The Dole Mansion with the help of some leading Chicago investors in 1922 to create the first Crystal Lake Country Club.
  • NEW YEAR’S EVE AT THE DOLE – A new Gala event that promises to ring in the 2023 New Year in a way that is unmatched in the local community.