The Mayflower Place, a.k.a. the Schweppe Mansion, has sat on the market for sale for over 12 years. The house has a tragic history. It is one of the largest, beautiful homes in the United States that may be haunted.
Mayflower Place was built as a wedding gift from then President of Marshall Fields & Company John Graves Shedd and his wife, Mary Roenna Porter Shedd, to their daughter, Laura Abbie Shedd. Laura married soda heir Charles Hodgdon Schweppe on February 22, 1913. The 24,500 square foot home was completed in 1917.
The Tutor home sits on 5.4 acres on Lake Michigan. Consisting of 28 rooms, the home boasts 10 bedrooms and 11 ½ bathrooms. The Schweppes held elaborate soirees for the world’s wealthiest. However, the galas ended with the unexpected death of Laura.
Tragedy had visited the home already. Laura and Charles lost one child in infancy. They had two children, Jean and John. On April 20, 1937, Laura suffered a fatal heart attack at her apartment in the Ambassador East Hotel. She was 58 years old. The funeral was held at Mayflower Place.
On August 26, 1941, Charles committed suicide by a gunshot wound to the head. He left a suicide note: “I’ve been awake all night. It’s terrible.”
Speculation surrounding Charles’ suicide centered on failing health, remaining grief from Laura’s death, and possibly disappointment in Laura’s bequeaths. At the time of her death, Laura left $10 million dollars to be divided between her two surviving children. She left Charles $200,000. Others claim that Charles’ poor health led to the suicide. We will never know.
Guests and visitors to the property claim to see the ghosts of both Laura and Charles in the house.
The couple’s daughter, Jean Schweppe Armour, died at the age of 48. Brother John Shedd Schweppe died in 1996. Neither child had children who were interested or able to maintain the house.
The house sat abandoned for 46 years.
In the 1980s, Donna and Howard Hoeper purchased the home for $5.5 million. Extensive renovations commenced. Unfortunately, the Hoepers divorced and the property fell into foreclosure in 2009.
Since then, the banks have attempted to sell the majestic home. Originally priced at $18 million dollars, the selling price has been slashed to under $9 million dollars.
Located at 405 N. Mayflower Road, Lake Forest, the Mayflower Place is truly a piece of American history—paranormal or ordinary.