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Lake Geneva Chiropractic

Hartshorne home opens doors for estate sale

July 29, 2014 | 02:04 PM
This past weekend, friends, antiquers and the curious showed up for the estate sale and auction at the former home of Harold “Harry” Hartshorne Jr., appropriately located on Hartshorne Road.

Hartshorne, 95, died Oct. 28, 2013.

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It was up to the living to pick up the lost details and leftovers of a long and richly-led life.

Coy-Krupp, which handled the estate sale, assigned numbers to buyers, allowing a limited number into the home at a time.

Interested buyers started showing up late Friday to get at the low numbers.

By Saturday afternoon, the numbers were running into the hundreds, and a number of those at the estate decided to leave rather than wait for their numbers to be called.

Among those at the sale were Marsha Engquist, a Williams Bay trustee who also represents the Geneva Lake Area Museum.

Engquist was with Karen Jo Walsh, museum director.

Walsh was on the hunt for one of Hartshorne’s hats.

She came out of the mansion with a bag of stuff, including a straw hat Hartshorne used to wear.

She also bought a decorative lace pillow found in one of the Hartshorne home’s bedrooms.

The two items will find a place in the museum.

Hartshorne left the museum a $10,000 endowment.

The Hartshorne home is a rambling structure that, on the exterior, resembles a European estate.

Inside, it is a series of sitting rooms, libraries and bedrooms connected by long hallways and staircases, with multiple glass doors that lead outside to patios.

The kitchen, through which visitors entered, was small and modest.

Perhaps the most interesting artifact on the Hartshorne property was a 1942 U.S. Army reconnaissance vehicle, fully restored and operational.

Engquist said Hartshorne used to drive it around Lake Geneva and around his estate, which he used to farm.

The dark green, canvas-topped vehicle was for sale. According to a placard on the vehicle, any offer of $25,000 or more would be seriously considered.

While some left early, others could be seen coming out of the house with bags full of items they had purchased.

Ron Dorsey of Grayslake, Ill., had been in line at 5:15 a.m. to get number 20 (the doors didn’t open until 7:30 a.m.).

Dorsey and a friend, Joyce Thomas of South Holland, Ill., said they didn’t know Hartshorne, but they do know Chris Coy, one of persons running the estate sale.

“We come to all of Chris’s sales,’ said Thomas.

Dorsey said he bought a Bose sound system for $30. Thomas held several old magazines, but she was waiting to get a price on them.

Asked about the house as he was coming out, Paul Culver of Green Bay said it was “palatial.”

Culver said he and his wife, Cindy, had spent “a few thousand dollars” buying drawings and artwork from the house, along with some Chinese porcelain.

Culver said he and his family had been at the house four hours earlier to start their estate sale shopping

Linda McBride walked out of the house carrying a picnic basket loaded with items, including a couple of small boxes and what looked like an antique chess set.

“I got here very, very early,” said McBride. “And I definitely found what I was looking for.”

McBride said she is a dealer, with a very eclectic collection of items for sale at her Menominee Falls store, Our Collections 4 U.

While many of those who attended the sale on Saturday probably didn’t know Hartshorne, those who did said he was a quiet, kind man, who didn’t mind giving away his money to improve the community.

Born in New York City in 1918, the son of the late Harold and Marietta (Chapin) Hartshorne, Harold “Harry” Hartshorne came from wealth.

He also was born with a connection to the Lake Geneva area.

His grandfather, Simeon Chapin, was one of the founders of the Geneva Lake Family YMCA, the Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol and Horticultural Hall.

A man of many passions, Hartshorne delighted in traveling the world, collecting fine art, playing the piano, attending the opera and enjoying the beauty of his farm near Geneva Lake.

After graduating from Princeton University, he held a seat on the N.Y. Stock Exchange from 1940 to 1941, when he was drafted into the Army.

At his father’s urging, he transferred into the U.S. Army Air Forces and earned his pilot’s wings in 1943.

Fluent in French, Hartshorne was selected to train French pilots in Alabama where he instructed them in the AT-6 trainer before they returned to the European battlefront.

In recognition for his work, he was awarded a pair of honorary French Wings by French President Charles DeGaulle after the war.

After the war, Hartshorne decided he wanted to farm.

He prepared to buy farmland in Pennsylvania, but his grandfather Chapin asked him simply, “What’s the matter with Wisconsin?”

While the farm flourished, Hartshorne was also devoted to the Burroughs and Chapin Co.

The company was founded to develop Myrtle Beach real estate.

Harry sat on the board of directors of the Burroughs and Chapin Company for 50 years, from 1948 to 1998.

Hartshorne was a benefactor of many associations, including the Lake Geneva museum, the Lake Geneva YMCA and Horticultural Hall.

He also helped support the Chicago Lyric Opera, George Williams College’s Music by the Lake, the Lake Geneva Library, and the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, and he gave annual donations to George Williams College and Princeton University. Hartshorne was laid to rest alongside his maternal grandparents, Simeon Brooks Chapin and Elizabeth Mattocks Chapin, in the Chapin family mausoleum at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lake Geneva.

For those who are interested, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will also be auctioning items from Hartshorne Estate:

• Fine books and manuscripts will be auctioned starting noon Aug. 6.

• American and European art will be on the block starting 10 a.m. Sept. 25.

• Fine furniture and decorative art will be for sale starting 10 a.m. Oct. 14 and 15.

• Fine silver and objects of vertu will be called starting 10 a.m. Nov. 18.

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers is at 1338 W. Lake St., Chicago.

For more information call Mary Kohnke at (312) 280-1212, or contact her at marykohnke@lesliehindman.com. The catalog is online at lesliehindman.com.

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