About this Business
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From Our Editors
Back in the 1860s, grain magnate Charles S. Dole purchased a 1,000-acre expanse of land overlooking the sparkling waters of Crystal Lake. There, he built a classically designed three-story mansion with lavish touches including Italian marble, black walnut orchards, and lush gardens, where the Ringling Bros circus housed the circus animals off season. At the time, the tract of land was known as Lakeland Farm, and over the next century it passed hands from the Doles to an elite country club to the Franciscan Order to the First Congregational Church of Crystal Lake.
Today, the mansion is in the hands of the Lakeside Legacy Foundation. The staff maintains the grounds and ensures the home remains a valuable resource for the residents of Crystal Lake with ventures such as hosting workspace for local artists and musicians. The Dole Mansion offers, 2 award winning galleries, tours, culinary programs, dance programs, and a 100 seat performance venue called 'the Listening Room.
The grounds also host special events including art fairs, Christmas celebrations, and McHenry County's "Granddaddy of All Festivals," the Lakeside Fest, which has been bringing live music, local eats, and traveling artists to the shores of the lake for more than 36 years.