Historic Walking Tour

Lake Walk Around Tour Map

1. CITY HALL – 174 E. Wisconsin Avenue – 1886.

Designed by Milwaukee Architect George B. Ferry, it was originally the Civic Center of Oconomowoc and functioned as City Hall, Police Station, Fire Department and Auditorium. Dances and plays were held on the second floor, which was later used as a Court room and as City Council chambers. The City Council still meets there. The award winning restoration and expansion of the building was completed in 1983 at the cost of $1,879,394. It presently houses City offices and the Police station. City Hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

city Hall 2

2. Chase Bank-138 E. Wisconsin Ave.
1920s and earlier this building was originally the livery stable for the Jones House Hotel which stood on the corner west of here. Rocking horse factory (Oconomowoc Wooden Toy Horse Company). The Bedford stone classical façade was added at the 1920s.

2.ChaseBank

3. Village Green
Corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Main Street (Highway 16 & 67) and a number of Indian trails crossed here, and two hotels have occupied the site. The first the LaBelle house of white frame construction, open and 1850. It was destroyed by fire in 1875, along with other portions of the downtown. And 1889, A second hotel, the Jones House (later called the Majestic Hotel), opened. It had two-story open porches on two sides; the first floor was used for dining and the second floor was used for the local band, which played for street dancing.  The hotel played an along and colorful role in the city’s history of the series of owners and name changes. It was condemned and raised in 1975. The present city park is the scene of city celebrations.

Village Green

#3 Village Green former LaBelle House, The Jones House, The Majestic Hotel and The Oconomowoc Hotel

4. FAY BLOCK* – Southeast corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Main Street (105 E. Wisconsin). This triangular building constructed by George W. Fay in 1869 is one of the most iconic sites in the community. Originally constructed of brick, the exterior and interior have been remodeled several times. After an unsuccessful burglary in 1868, Summit Bank, originally located in the Library Complex (#8), moved to this building in 1870 when the building became available. In September of 1889, the bank took on a new name, Bank of Oconomowoc, which it maintained until 1984 when it became First Bank of Oconomowoc, marking it as the oldest bank in the city. After 115 years at this corner location, the bank moved to its current site one block west. Another name change, First Bank Financial Centre, came in 1998. Throughout its history, the bank has remained an independently owned community bank. The FBFC is the second oldest bank in the state of Wisconsin.

#4-Faye-Block

#4-Faye Block Building

5. MANN BLOCK* – 102-110 N. Main Street – 1871. This three-story Italianate commercial building included areas on the third floor used for an armory, social gatherings, public meetings and theatrical performances. Note the double-bracketed wood cornice and statuary niche with the date 1871 above on the eastern façade.

Mann Block

#4 Mann Block

6. Peter Klos Saloon – 125 N. Main Street – 1879.
The builders name and date of tiered near the roofline, which contains an ornamental put cornice. This building still serves as a bar.

#5 125 N Main St

#5 125 N Main St

7. Lake Road turn around
In the early 1900s a marine railway was built across N. Main Street at this site. The railway enabled an excursion and mail boat to be portaged across the 200 foot isthmus between Fowler Lake and Lac LaBelle.

8. Veteran’s Memorial Park.
No the sign with early history. A three story water powered flour mill was located on the west side of N. Main Street from 1855 to 1935. Also located here, but raised in 1988, we’re building is known as Library complex. Acer does the public library and museum for years. This complex was Oconomowoc’s original downtown business district. It included a hardware store, a general store, a bank (later City Hall) and a blacksmith shop.

Memorial Park Nov 2015 W

7. Memorial Park Nov 2015 W

9. Zion Episcopal Church – 135 Rockwell Pl. – 1899.
This Romanesque style limestone church replaced an earlier brick structure. The land for the church was donated by John S. Rockwell, the father of Oconomowoc who built the flower mill, the dam and the Lumber Mill in early Oconomowoc. The beautiful peninsula setting on the lake is one of the city’s outstanding landmarks.

8. Zion Church

8. Zion Church

10. Lake Road – 1860.
The original structure was remodeled in 1899 to its present appearance by David Gould, a St Louis millionaire. Inside the 16 room mansion was fitted with eleven fireplaces. Once Broad lot had soccer gardens and tennis courts.

11. 306 Lake Rd. – before 1870.
This cream brick home was built by Henry Edgerton, a banker at Summit Bank, which was just down the street to the south.

306 Lake Road

#10 306 Lake Rd

12. 307 Lake Rd., Masonic Temple – C. 1895.
Built by a Captain Scudder from St. Louis it once had a huge veranda which wrapped around the building and made it appear half again as large. It was known as “Scudder’s Cottage”, and remained in the family until the 1920s when it was bought by the Kohl’s. The masonic organization purchased it later. Note the exceptional oval window in the triangular gable.

307-Lake-Road

13. 317 Lake Rd. – C. 1885.
They’ll buy HJ Brookins, St. Louis lumber man, the queen and style mansion was used sporadically as a summer home until the 1920s. The coach house in the rear is now apartments. The mass of three-story octagonal Tower has an unusual porch opening on three sides on the top floor.

317 Lake Road

14. 318 Lake Rd. – 1882. This was the former side of the Herald have matching. Harold was one of the sons of Madame pack (C number 18) and died during construction of the mansion. The home was completed by his widow at a cost of $15 million and became one of the most expensive mansions in the area. Eventually the home was raised and a condominium built and it’s place.

318 Lake Road

15. 333 Lake Rd. – Draper Hall.
This was formally the site of a large rambling hotel with a seven – can’t collimated across the front. The columns were three stories tall. Famous guess including Grover Cleveland, Eugene Field Marshal fields. In the 1870s, it have 46 robust. Later remodeling doubled the number. The hotel pass through several owners in this century. It was raised in 1967.

Draper Hall

#14 333 Lake Rd Draper Hall

16. 404 Lake Rd. – 1874.
This was the home of J.C. Hitchcock, who was in the hardware business in Oconomowoc. The grounds have a large mineral Spring which furnish the home with drinking water from seller to Garrett. The Swiss cottage style was designed by Milwaukee architect James Douglas as well as its next-door neighbor (number 16). Both homes have the same floor plan.

404 Lake Road

17. 412 Lake Rd. – 1875.
Built by Mr. Medbury a friend of Mr. Hitchcock, this house with its roof and stick style Gable is more typical of Douglass’s work. On the top floor resided harry Shannon while he was writing his book “Paradise city”, a story based on early Oconomowoc. Mr. Shannon was also a member of Parliament and England.

412 Lake Road

#16 412 N Lake Rd

18. 423 Lake Rd. – 1884. This queen and style home was built by Mrs. HG fuller of Chicago. The north side wall has an unusual window layout, I’ll scroll cup decorative panel at the third floor level, and ornamental single siding.

423 Lake Road

#17 423 N Lake Rd

19. 430 and 434 Lake Road (formerly one building) – 1846 with later additions.
The most southern portion was built in 1846 by Dr. Jose off Townsend, the city’s finest first resident physician. In the 1850s it was purchased by Dr. William Warner, who built in addition to the north. In 1866, Reverend Azurra Jones, rector of Zion Church, purchase the property, added a second story on the north end and open the school for boys. The property was purchased by Dr. Orlando white in 1869. But was sold again and 1873 to Mary K pack, the widow of Philip K pack, Who had acquired great well and early Chicago real estate. Mr. Peck have perished in the great Chicago fire of 1871. Madame pack became one of the Hannah wants greatest boosters and summit here for 30 years. She sold the home to her son, Clarence, I moved across the street to 503 Lake Rd., (number 19). Clarence pack executed the last major expansion of the home; including the addition of 10 iconic problems (reportedly from the 1893 Columbia except version) Clarence pack executed the last major expansion of the home, including the addition of 10 iconic problems (reportedly from the 1893 Columbian exposition). Three other Peck sons built major homes in the city (Harold, number 13, Walter, number 22 and Ferdinand, a “chalet” just to the south which was has been raised). The peck staged extravagant parties on the lakefront. The gazebo on the shoreline was part of the judges them for yacht races. In 1923, the mansard was sold to John and Lenore Stevens. They divided the house and 1927 and sold the original southern element of the property. The southern portion was remodeled in 1979 when Harry and Betty Hancock owned the property. The northern building was remodeled in 1988. The houses were added to the national register of historic places in 1988. In the early 2000s, the Hancock’s sold their portion and the new buyer restored the house to near its original form as one house.

430 & 434 Lake Road

#18 430 & 434 Lake Rd

Peck Home

Peck Home N Lake Rd

20. 503 Lake Rd. – C. 1870.
Built by Elbert Rockwell, the son of JS Rockwell (# eight), it once had a sprawling veranda on two sides Madame pack opening prayer room number 18) bought the home and 1884 and summer is here with her to spinster daughters. Mary and Sarah. The house was sold and I didn’t 27 every Madeline two apartments.

21. 517 Lake Rd. – C. 1840 and later the back part of this house is one of the oldest buildings in the area the first house in the village log cabin was erected on the slot in 1837 by Filo Brewer. G a foster build a part of the present structure a few years later and eventually sold it to John S Rockwell number eight Albert Rockwell and his father erected a stone wall around the property in 1868. Much are the kind of work history is built around the walk Rockwell and pet names.

517 Lake Drive

22. N. Lake Rd. damn.
The first day it was built in 1837 west of the present bridge but it was washed away. It was rebuilt a number of times. I saw mill and a Gristmill were both located here. I navigational lock was built between the two lakes and 1885.

Lake Road Dam

#21 N Lake Rd Dam

23. Islandale-1882. This stately home located on the island west of N. Lake Rd. bridge, was built by Walter peck. His wife would not set foot in the boat so Walter had a series of bridges and a causeway built to the mainland. This necessitated dumping 10,000 loads of gravel into the lake. This elegant cottage is still occupied only in the summer. A better view of it is possible in the winter when the trees are bare.

Islandale

24. 800 N. Lake Rd. – Knollward-1928. This imposing Mansion has been called the finest example of French provincial manner-type architecture in the Midwest. It was built by Marjorie Ward in 1928, the stepdaughter of A. Montgomery Ward of Chicago. The original cost was $80,000. A north addition was made in 1932. In the 1960s, This day was presented to Lutheran Homes of Oconomowoc, Inc., along with the large sum to build the present new north edition. It then became a retirement home and, then finally sold as a private residence in??

Knollward

25. 128 Lisbon Rd. – c. 1873. This graphic revival house is said to have been the home of Clark sewing machine millionaire from Chicago. It supposedly was moved to this site from LacLaBelle. Many additions have changed its original design, but it still has some striking features – the third floor balconies (front and rear) with lancet windows, framed by gable end ornaments.

26. 351 E. Lisbon Road – The Inn at Pine Terrace -1884. (On walking tour, viewed from Greenland Avenue).
It was built by Henry Shutter our Chicago wagon manufacturer, as a summer home. The two shutter brothers married into the Brewing families of Anheuser and Busch. The estate originally included 220 acres of forest and farmland. A large flower garden and lawn area once connected the mansion to the North Shore of Fowler lake. In 1988, at the mansion was extensively renovated and restored and is now an in with 13 guestrooms. It is listed on the national register of historic places.

Inn at Pine Terrace

#25 351 E Lisbon Rd Pine Terrace

27. Oakwood Avenue – Fowler Park.
This property changes hands a number of times before it was purchased in that you do not hundreds by Dr. James a Henshaw MD. He developed Americas first private fish hatchery here, between 1860 and 1870. The coach house is all that remains of the one spectacular state. Faller lake is form was formed when the first day I was built in 1837 at Oconomowoc’s walk rivers entrance to like Labelle (number 21). During winter in the early 1900s, it was an extensive as cutting operation on the lake. I was shipped to Chicago and elsewhere. In 1945 the site was donated to the city as a park by Ida M. Binzel and Mrs. E. C. Theobald members of the Oconomowoc pioneer family.

28. 354 N. Oakwood Ave. – Cornerstone Church – 1872 to 80
Aggregation of Norwegian Lutherans began building the church in 1872, but it was not completed until 1880. The painted stained glass windows are original and our beautiful at night for lighted. Note the interesting Octagonal steeple with 8 Gables.

Cornerstone Church

#27 354 N Oakwood Ave

29. 344 N. Oakwood Ave. – C 1880.
This house belonged to the Townsend house a great hotel which once stood directly north of the Norwegian (Oakwood Avenue) bridge (and south of here. The hotel burned in 1901. It had been the summer headquarters for Chicago society and was the scene of many gala social events of the era. This charming Carpenter Gothic home was used by the hotel as a guest house. It originally had no kitchen, because guests took all of their meals at the hotel.

344 Oakwood Ave

#28 344 Oakwood Ave house belonged to Townsend House

30. Oconomowoc Depot – 115 Collins St. – 1896.
This historic building as noted because it is one of the most important landmarks of the city but it is not included in the around the lake walk. It is said to be the only fieldstone depot left of the U.S. Albert Earling, president of the Milwaukee Railroad Company., and Phillip D. Armour, wealthy Chicago meat packer, build the depot for personal use. The old facility, which overlooked the stockyards, was considered unsuitable for the reception of their distinguished guests. The depot is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It is no longer used as a depot. It is currently a dining establishment.

Oconomowoc

31. First bank financial center – 155 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Founded in 1859, they first open its doors as Summit Bank and it was located on N. Lake Rd. Summit bank is also the first bank in town. In 1870, seven moved to the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Main Street. It was chartered as the Bank of Oconomowoc on January 2, 1890. In 1984, at the bank go to its present location, 155 W. Wisconsin Ave. Throughout its history, the bank has remained an independently owned Community Bank.

First Bank

#30 First Bank 155 W Wisconsin Ave

Acknowledgments

The lake walk tour was originally compiled by Fran Brummit-Dirkin and Rae Kinn

Resources

  • Early O’Connell walk heritage Trail guide book Kathy Wright John asked Rockwall questers
  • The heritage guidebook landmarks and historical sites in southern Wisconsin by eight Russell Zimmerman, 1976.
  • Thank you for the residents and the volunteers that made these documents possible