Lake Geneva’s most intact Queen Anne house represents two important facets of the area’s history: it was both a private summer resort and a refuge for wealthy people with nervous disorders. Emily Carswell Baker, a wealthy widow, built Redwood Cottage on family-owned land and summered here until her death in 1894. Her son sold it to Celinda Walkup, who turned it into an annex of Lakeside Sanitarium, next door. By the 1880s, Lake Geneva had become a haven for those needing a “rest cure.” Lakeside Cottage, as the house was then called, offered patients the ambiance of a private home. A one-story rear wing was added sometime before 1901, and the building has been enlarged and altered repeatedly. After 1925, it became a hotel.
The two-and-a-half-story house features a wraparound veranda (now glazed), a conical turret, an inset balcony at the third story, seven patterns of shingles along the walls, and richly textured ornament. The striking interior is organized with two parlors and a row of hotel rooms toward the street and a dining room facing the lake. In between is a staircase, decorated with spindles, bulls-eyes, and openwork flowers. At the landing, a tripartite window features large rectangular panes of yellow glass surrounded by small, multicolored panes with floral designs. Exquisite woodwork graces the building, including a built-in cherry sideboard embellished by elaborate carvings, which dominates an entire wall of the dining room, and oak and in each of the main rooms. The third floor was originally unfinished, but in 1901 it was divided into eight small sleeping rooms for sanitarium patients. It has been restored as an inn, restaurant, and event center.