Friday, September 5, 2014
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
This town has always fascinated me. When I lived in Chicago, during nursing school, it was always referred to as that place where the rich people of Chicago spent their summers. In the past two days I learned it was all that, and much more. The first day we were here we walked around the downtown and from there into the residential areas. We learned, from historical markers, that the town was founded in the mid 1800s. Pictured below is a home built in 1847, and later owned by Charles Wilson ambassador to England. In the 1870s he helped obtain the railroad link from Chicago that made Geneva's resort development possible.
Another house, which is rather modest in size, is the Blacktoft, built in 1881. It was originally painted black, but now is very distinctive with its white clapboard and many red chimneys. In later years it was the summer residence of Montgomery Ward Thorne, descendent of the founder of the Montgomery Ward Stores. We learned on our boat tour that there are 1,000 piers around the lake and they all get pulled out of the lake come December. Residents on the lake live here an average of 35 days out of the year. Probably an exception to that was 1871, the year of the great Chicago fire, when people fled the city to live in their summer residences on Lake Geneva. In case you are wondering if there is a place for you along the shores of Lake Geneva, there is one public beach for which there is an admission fee. In the background of the picture below is what use to be the Riviera Ballroom. Built in 1932, it was a popular venue for some of the biggest names in music history, including Louis Armstrong.