North of John’s Lake in Clermont is a wooded area known as “Castle Hill”, named after a mansion built there years ago and it’s resemblance to a castle.

Built in 1927, it was first owned by Louise Bovingdon, daughter of Geroge A. Thorne, co-founder of Montgomery Ward. She became a leader in cultural affairs, often hosting musicals and other events to help benefit for local organizations. She and her daughters traveled extensively and lived in France for some time.

The mansion grounds were extensively landscaped and were surrounded by 150 acres of woods. Most of the workmen and supplies of the Bovingdon house came from Clermont; A.G. Moore was contractor, E.B. Cashwell did the stucco and plaster work and the hardware came from Clermont Hardware.

Her estate was sold to Kimball Marshall of Chicago in 1938.

The mansion’s last owner was Joseph Austin, a gardener who purchased the property in 1978. He had a number of greenhouses on the property containing a large variety of exotic plants, which later burned down. He sold the property in 1984. The property exchanged hands again in 2006 and once again in 2008 to a land developer, where the property was worth over $10 million.

Heavily vandalized, the mansion that the area was named after was ultimately forgotten. After multiple fires, it finally met it’s demise in 2013.

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