Dole Mansion continues renovations to return annex to 1920s era

Donation specifically earmarked for building improvements will make window restoration possible for next year

The Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake will look more like it did in the 1920s when the annex housed the original Crystal Lake Country Club after renovations are complete, the nonprofit said in a news release.

The Lakeside Legacy Foundation, the nonprofit that supports and operates the Dole, received donations in late 2019 specifically earmarked for building improvements, according to the release.

The first projects on the to-do list included repainting the Tudor towers back to the original colors and painting the ornate woodworking on the Dole to keep it from weather damage, according to the release. The lobby was also brought back to its 1920s style, and the Sage Gallery got a “much-needed facelift and gallery lighting.”

The Lakeside Legacy Foundation had to cancel its Lakeside Festival, one of its major fundraisers, last year due to COVID-19, but the community stepped up.

“Your generosity has kept our doors open, allowing us to continue bringing art, music, and a creative space to our community,” the nonprofit said in the release.

During this time, the Lakeside Legacy Foundation received another donation earmarked specifically for building improvements, which the nonprofit hopes to begin in April 2021, according to the release.

The work will include restoring the Lakeside property annex, the first Crystal Lake Country Club, back to the 1920s era, in which it was built, Ron Russell, a member of the Building and Grounds Committee, said in the release.

The Dole Mansion and the surrounding property were purchased by Mrs. Lou Ringling and a group of investors in 1921, according to the release. The annex was built at that time in a Tudor tower design with French style windows to house the original Crystal Lake Country Club.

The membership was $35 a year for “man and wife,” according to the release. It had two 18-hole golf courses, 44 bedrooms, and a magnificent ballroom.

The group also parceled the original Country Club Addition Property Owners Association lots for home building, which led to the construction of 480 households along the southern shores of Crystal Lake in the towns of Lakewood and Crystal Lake.

The country club survived until 1938, when the doors were officially closed, according to the news release. In the 1940s, the Franciscan Order of Lake Forest purchased the properties and made many changes to the building, including changing the front-facing windows to glass blocks.

The project planned for next year will replace the glass block windows to windows in the original style of the building, using a Crystal Lake company, Werderitch Construction, Russell said in the release. The entire cost of the project will be covered by the one restricted donation.