In 1899 John Peene, mayor of Yonkers, New York, and his wife, Ava, purchased former farmland on Valley Mountain from Sarah Fox. Overlooking the west shore of Lake Willoughby, the property was adjacent to land where Ava's maternal grandfather had lived and farmed. In 1900 the Peenes erected this stylish summer house and named it Fox Hall. Its central gambrel wall-dormer is flanked by two-story, projecting rounded corner bays with bellcast roofs, united by a full-front porch that curves. A matching gambrel-roofed barn with stables for thirty horses once stood well behind the house, as the Peenes and their friends regularly rode the town roads of western Westmore. Two hired men from Derby farmed the land year-round, put up hay in the carriage barn, and cut ice for the small one-story, wood-frame ice house.
Lake Willoughby was promoted as the “Lucerne of America” due to its deep glacial expanse between the cliffs of Mount Hor and Mount Pisgah. Over the next decade many prominent individuals built summer houses here, including bankers and businessmen from Burlington and Newport as well as Elmer A. Darling (see CA6) and his Lyndonville friends. Mayor Peene died in 1912, and in 1920 his wife sold the property to two men who ran it as a hotel. The Keewayden Camp Company subsequently purchased the house and, though it changed hands several more times, it was run as a girls' summer camp until 1976. The house eventually became a retreat center and it remains the primary architectural reminder of the era of grand summer houses built by the wealthy on Lake Willoughby.