Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

W5453 Lake View Drive

National or State Register of Historic Places
W5453 Lake View Drive | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Wandawega Inn
Reference Number:15000341
Location (Address):W5453 Lake View Drive
Township:Sugar Creek
Wandawega Inn
W5453 Lake View Drive, Town of Sugar Creek, Walworth County
Date of Construction: 1927

The Wandawega Inn is a fine example of a resort hotel and recreational property in Walworth County, a vacation destination since the 1860s, that exhibits the evolution of recreational use over time during three distinct eras: first as a small, working-class resort hotel and speakeasy during the prosperous 1920s and Great Depression; a working-class family resort during the mid-twentieth century; and a summer retreat for the upper Midwest’s Catholic Latvian-American community through late twentieth century.

The property is comprised of a lodge, hotel building, several small cabins, and multiple recreational facilities. Constructed in 1927, the inn’s tavern, “Orphan Annie’s”, lays claim to a colorful past as a prohibition-era roadhouse involving bootleg liquor, gambling, and prostitution. Largely escaping notice by local authorities, the inn was closed for a year under a federal prohibition padlock. Reopening under the name Wandawega Hotel, the establishment failed to shake its shady past. One of the hotel’s cabins was scene to an inter-state murder-suicide. After a state investigation under the attention of the governor, the original proprietor was sent to prison. The property was successfully reinvented as the family-friendly Wandawega Lake Resort in 1946, complete with swimming, boating, fishing, shuffleboard, and home-style Polish cooking. Purchased by an order of Latvian Catholic priests in 1961, “Vandavega” became a summer cultural and recreational retreat for a community of Catholic Latvian World War II refugees that settled primarily in Chicago. For several generations, the north shore of Wandawega Lake was the site of summer volleyball tournaments, basketball and tennis matches, Latvian cultural fairs, kids camps, weekly outdoor Sunday masses, monthly Latvian pancake breakfast fundraisers, and most important of all, the annual festivities and bonfires of St. John’s Day.

This property is private. Please respect the rights and privacy of the owners.

Period of Significance:1927-1975
Area of Significance:Entertainment/Recreation
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Domestic: Hotel
Historic Use:Domestic: Camp
Historic Use:Commerce/Trade: Restaurant
Historic Use:Recreation And Culture: Sport Facility
Architectural Style:Late 19th And Early 20th Century American Movements
Resource Type:Building
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
National Register Listing Date:06/08/2015
State Register Listing Date:08/15/2014
Number of Contributing Buildings:5
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:4
Number of Contributing Objects:1
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:4
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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