Sunday, January 26, 2014

Summer in Waupaca

Just a few miles southwest of Waupaca are the Chain O' Lakes, a series of fifteen connected lakes formed in the last ice age.  I've put together a history as best I can using the disparate sources available online.  From a history of the township of Farmington I learned  the first summer hotel was built there 1880 and private summer homes and cottages followed.  In 1886 Chris Hill and Charles Nessling built the Grand View Hotel on the south shore of Rainbow Lake. It was a two story frame building with a distinctive onion like dome on the corner nearest the lake.  There were also cottages adjacent to the hotel, it was a great success. In 1892 the hotel became the property of the Silver Lake Cottage company, an article from the Waupaca County Post of 8/6/1925 states the company built what was known as The Grand View Hotel.  I believe what is referred to was an annex to the hotel and designed by William Waters.  There were no documents stating that the design was authored by Waters but the look was unmistakably William Waters.  The front veranda is nearly identical to that of the Wisconsin State Building of the 1893 Chicago Worlds' Fair, the towers at each end look much like the tower  on the Lutz house in Oshkosh. ( See, Oshkosh Houses Part 6. 11/29/11)   
Improvements continued under the ownership of  Irving and Wallace Lord along with John Caughill also owners of the Waupaca Electric Light and Railway Company and the resort gained the reputation as being the finest in the county.  By the late 1920's, however, the resort was passe and was demolished.   
The Loyola Villa was not a hotel exactly but a summer retreat for the Jesuits, so it would have had many hotel like characteristics.  It was built in 1896 on a peninsula between Otter and Rainbow lake, purchased from Miss Marle Chamberlain.  Published in the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern on the third of April, 1896, in the Short Notes column was the following line of type, " ....Architect Waters is preparing plans for a building 30 feet by 130 feet at Waupaca, to be used as a summer house for the Jesuit fathers of the state."  There was a porch which ran the length and breadth of the building and at one corner of the villa was a tower topped by an open belvidere.  According a one history the place was sold in 1970 but it didn't state to whom or it's fate.


  1. Very near Loyola Villa, and also on Rainbow Lake, is the Wisconsin Veterans Home. C. B. Clark (whose house Waters designed), was very much engaged in the building of the 21st Regiment building at the veterans home. Waters almost certainly designed the building. According to an article in the April 8, 1889 Neenah Daily Times, Waters went to the veterans home to select the site for the building. Cost was expected to be $3000.

  2. Indeed Waters designed the regiment building as well as the commendont's residents and many of the cottages. I plan a post devoted the the Veteran's home.

  3. In 2013, I authored a book entitled the Concise Guide to Historic Sites on Waupaca's Chain O'Lakes. Here in the early months of 2014, I am producing a revised edition which will, among other things, devote a section to Mr. Waters. My research indicates that the Commandant's Quarters (which I was able to tour in person last fall with a group from the Waupaca Historical Society) is the oldest surviving structure on the Chain O'Lakes (built in 1889). Loyola Villa, which remains in use by the Jesuits as a rustic summer retreat, is perhaps the third or fourth oldest surviving structure. (I also was fortunate to tour it last summer in connection with my research.) I would welcome the opportunity to exchange information regarding this area and Mr. Waters' activities. Please contact me at or Thank you.

  4. Don: I plan a post devoted to the Veterans Home. I'm still working on it.
    Ron: I look forward to reading your book and sharing with you.

    1. I just realized that YOU are the artist who drew the renderings of Mr. Waters designs for Loyola Villa and the Grand View Annex. I'm not sure what old photos you have to work from, but they're excellent. With your permission, I'd love to publish one or more in the next edition of my book. BTW, are you confident that Mr. Waters did not design the original Grand View Hotel as well?

  5. I just don't feel the Waters touch in the original Grand View, although he may have designed the addition to it. As for my artwork, use what you wish, just give me credit