Björklunden vid Sjön, Swedish for "Birch Grove by the Lake," is a 425-acre estate on the Lake Michigan shore just south of Baileys Harbor in picturesque Door County. A place of great beauty and serenity, the property includes meadows, woods, and more than a mile of unspoiled waterfront.

Björklunden was bequeathed to Lawrence University in 1963 by Donald and Winifred Boynton of Highland Park, Illinois. The Boyntons made the gift with the understanding that Björklunden would be preserved in a way that would ensure its legacy as a place of peace and contemplation. Winifred Boynton captured the enduring spirit of Björklunden when she said of her beloved summer home: "Far removed from confusion and aggression, it offers a sanctuary for all."

Since 1980, Lawrence has sponsored a series of adult continuing-education seminars at Björklunden, interrupted only by a 1993 fire that destroyed the estate's main lodge. In 1996, construction was completed on a new and larger facility, and the Björklunden Seminars resumed. The magnificent lodge and idyllic setting create a peaceful learning environment. Seminars address topics in the arts, music, religion, history, drama, nature, and more. Seminar participants may enjoy a relaxing week's stay at the lodge or are welcome to commute from the area.

Throughout the academic year, groups of Lawrence students and faculty come to Björklunden for weekend seminars and retreats. Each student at Lawrence has the opportunity to attend a student seminar at Björklunden at least once during their studies. Student seminars provide the opportunity to explore exciting themes and issues and the time and the environment in which to embrace those ideas and their consequences. The magic of a Björklunden weekend is in the connection between thought and reflection. Making that connection fulfills one ideal of a liberal education.

The two-story Björklunden lodge is a magnificent 37,000 square-foot structure containing a great room, muti-purpose and seminar rooms, dining room and kitchen, as well as 22 guest rooms. The lodge accommodates a wide variety of seminars, meetings, conferences, receptions, family gatherings, musical programs, and other special events and is available for use throughout the year. In addition to the main building, the Björklunden estate also includes a small wooden chapel built in a late 12-century Norwegian stave church (stavkirke) style, handcrafted by the Boyntons between 1939 and 1947.

Björklunden Expansion

Thanks to the resounding success of Extending the Reach: A Campaign For Björklunden, a 20,000-square-foot addition to the Björklunden lodge on Lawrence's northern campus was completed in the summer of 2007 and officially dedicated on August 4. Through the generosity of the many friends of the college and Bjorklunden, more than $4 million was raised during the two-year campaign to support the expansion.

The completed addition more than doubled the size of the existing two-story seminar and conference center to 37,000 square feet, adding a second seminar room, a computer room, a mudroom, an observation deck for a telescope, and 10 new bedrooms.

The enhanced facility enabled the college to increase the number and variety of its annual adult summer seminars, accommodate more seminar participants, and give 40 more students access to the Björklunden experience each weekend during the academic year.

Sustainability

In the fall of 2011, a 120-foot tall, 50-kilowatt wind turbine was assembled and erected on the Björklunden estate.  Lawrence alum Steve Schnorr '10 conducted an independent study project that ultimately led to the installation of the wind turbine that started operating in 2011.  Read about the wind turbine's impact on our sustainability efforts here.

Explore Björklunden Archives

Explore the archives to unearth key moments in Björklunden's history.