Along the Water’s Edge

Story and photography by Holly Leitner

While cruising Geneva Lake’s waters or walking its popular Shore Path, opulent homes and grand estates vie for one’s attention. Whatever the vantage point, some properties stand out more than others. Perhaps it’s the sight of interesting structures, typically with matching architectural elements that stand guard at the water’s edge.

Geneva Lake’s boathouses are striking in design and reminiscent of a bygone era. Many of those that still stand were built more than a century ago as luxury utilitarian sheds designed to store watercraft and accessories. Due to changing shoreline zoning laws, the building of new structures is no longer allowed and owners can only repair, remodel or restore a boathouse to its existing footprint.

Today, the boathouses that remain may have changed in appearance, but they still embody the spirit of life lived at the lake. They may house boats and water toys, but their entertaining spaces beckon as the ultimate place for respite on lazy summer afternoons.

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