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Whitbeck, R. H., 1871-1939 (Ray Hughes) / The geography and economic development of southeastern Wisconsin

Chapter IX. Walworth County,   pp. 212-228 PDF (4.3 MB)

Page 221

WALWORTH COUNTY                 221
Manufacturing has never been important; the reputation of
the place rests upon the beautiful lake and its superb setting.
Lying, as it does, near Chicago, and having a shore of great
beauty, the lake has attracted many wealthy men who have
built, on the south shore particularly, some of the most expen-
sive summer homes to be found in Wisconsin. Estates valued
at hundreds of thousands of dollars are numerous. The fleet
of beautiful private yachts on the lake is probably not equalled
on any other lake in the United States.
. Overlooking the south shore of the lake, on a high eminence
is the great Yerkes observatory containing one of the largest
refracting telescopes in the world.  At the west end of the
lake is the small village of Fontana, and nearby on the north
shore are the summer camps of the Y. M. C. A. and Y. W. C. A.,
to which hundreds of young people go yearly.
TABLE XLV. Population of Lake Geneva
1880 .     .           1,969 1900 ..      .... 2585
1885 .                 2281 1905 ..       .... 3,449
1890 .     .           2,297 1910 ..      .... 3,079
1895 .                 2,452 1920 ..      .... 2,632
Two remarkable men-Henry and Samuel Phoenix-settled
here in 1836 and named the place Delavan in honor of a noted
temperance leader of New York. The settlement was Intended
to be a temperance colony and all deeds to property given by
the Phoenix brothers contained a clause forbidding the sale of
intoxicants on the property. A post office was established in
1837 and a saw mill and grist mill erected some years later.
By 1846 the village had a population of 400 with shops en-
gaged in making fanning mills, plows, etc., on a small scale.
Delavan was on one of the most used of the early highways,
the one extending westward from Racine to Janesville. This
road was planked from Racine to Delavan and was one
of the leading thoroughfares of its time. Delavan was incor-
porated as a village in 1855, and in 1856 the Racine and Mis-
sissippi Railroad built its tracks through the village. This is
now a division of the C. M. & St. P. system. Delavan contains
one of the notable state institutions of Wisconsin-the School
for the Deaf-organized in 1852.

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