Sunday, 26th June 2016
Conrad Seipp is a German immigrant who came to the United States in 1849 at the age of 25. He married Maria Teutsch and had three children. Before he became a Beer Baron in Chicago, he was a beer wagon driver for Miller Brothers brewery. Then he became an owner of a small hotel before he bought a small beer factory in 1854. A year after, his brewery was burned down. Conrad didn't give up and rebuilt his company out of brick with underground cellars, a malt floor and family living quarters. After Maria died in 1866, he married Catherine Orb, and together they have five children.
Business seemed to be progressing which was producing 1000 barrels of beer in its first year. In 1858 he partnered with M. Frederick Lehmann to expand their business. In just ten years they produced 50,000 barrels of beers yearly. Seipp and Lehmann's brewery grew to become one of the largest in the United States. But Lehmann died in an accident, so Seipp bought his partner's shares and renamed his business to Conrad Seipp Brewing Company.
Seipp died in 1890, soon after Black Point was completed. His company was sold to British investors who merged with other brewing businesses in Chicago. Seipp family member continued to work at the brewery, but later their production exceeded by its competitors. The company was closed in 1933.
Catherina Orb Seipp immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1865. A year after, she married Conrad Seipp and had five children. As the matriarch of the estate, Catherina managed and expanded the property from 27 to almost 100 acres. She added another mansion in 1904 where she and her family can stay all year round. She also spearheaded the developing of the estate's landscape and garden.
Emma Seipp Schmidt, the eldest child of Conrad and Catherina, was the 2nd generation owner of Black Point. She married Otto L. Schmidt, a physician in Chicago and they had three children, Ernst, Alma, and Tessa.
Alma Schmidt Peterson inherited the Black Point from her mother. She was the 3rd generation owner of the estate. Alma and her husband William E. Peterson, a Pathology professor at the University of Ilinois College of Medicine. The couple had three sons: Edward, Conrad, and William.
William "Bill" O. Peterson received the estate from her mother, Alma. Bill was an attorney graduated from Harvard. He married Jane Jordan Browne, a literary agent. Bill gifted the Black Point to the state of Wisconsin in 2005, fulfilling his mother's wish that the house might someday become a museum. But transforming it into a museum was not easy, he fought together with his wife in a 10-year legal debate. Finally, the Black Point was turned into a museum in 2007.
Photos taken from BlackPoint Flyer (Souvenir)