Smith’s luxurious summer residence Carlshälls

In 1873, Smith and his family started renting a large property at Långholmen island, just south of Stockholm city. He invested substantially in the house, turning it into something truly magnificent. A luxurious ballroom was built along one side of the building, and a billiard lounge along the other. A giant laundry room was also introduced, with running water from the lake. A number of other buildings were added, including a stable, a wagon house and a skittle alley. Everything was top modern and in immaculate condition.

The prisoners at the Långholmen jail gazed jealously at the Smith family as they roared past in their extravagant, horse-drawn carriage.

The family named the house Carlshälls and used it as a summer residence. They had access to a large workforce: Three maids, a housekeeper, a governor who helped the girls with their school work, and six men who looked after the estate, including a gardener. Smith brought back fruit from his travels abroad, and soon apples, pears, winged nuts and plums grew in the garden. The fruit was sold at lucrative prices at Munkbron in the Old Town.

By 1903, L.O. Smith had lost both his family and his fortune. He arranged a bonfire at Carlshälls and set most of his documents from his career and his private life on fire.

When the Smith family stopped using Carlshälls, the house became a mental health care facility. Today, it is a conference venue. The wallpaper in the banquet hall’s dining room is still from France, illustrated with Turkish landscapes. Smith bought them when his daughter Mary got married to the Turkish diplomat Jean Karadja Pascha. The garden is a bit wilder these days, but it is still full of exciting and exotic plants.