When James Ward Packard built the 1912 mansion, he was already the second generation of his family to spend summers in Lakewood. However, this ambitious family of tradesmen and entrepreneurs came not for a vacation by the shore, but as businessmen and developers. In 1873, J. Ward's father, Warren, and his uncle John first came to Lakewood and bought 25 acres along the lakeshore from early settler, John Cowing. The purchase included a hotel, the Lakeview House, built in 1870, the first of the village's resort hotels.