Geneva Lake | World Events

Development of Geneva Lake Area

First arrival of white men on Wisconsin Soil


First arrival of white men on Wisconsin soil: expedition of the French explorer, Jean Nicolet, landing at what is now Green Bay; where he thought that he was landing in China! from The book of Lake Geneva by Paul B. Jenkins

First Industrial Revolution

1784 - 1870

Through the introduction of mechanical production facilities with the help of water and steam power. First mechanical loom.

Israel Williams Born

September 24, 1789

September 24, 1789 Israel Williams born in Hampshire County, Massachussets

Second Great Awakening

1790 - 1840

People at the time talked about the Awakening; historians named the Second Great Awakening in the context of the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s and of the Third Great Awakening of the late 1850s to early 1900s. These revivals were part of a much larger Romantic religious movement that was sweeping across Europe at the time, mainly throughout England, Scotland, and Germany.[2]

Israel Williams Marries Lavina Joy

June 16, 1808

June 16, 1808 Israel Williams marries Lavina Joy in Plainfield, Massachusetts

John Quincy Adams

March 4, 1825 - March 4, 1829



Penicillin is first observed to exude antibiotic substances by Nobel laureate Alexander Fleming. Development of medicinal penicillin is attributed to a team of medics and scientists including Howard Walter Florey, Ernst Chain and Norman Heatley.

Andrew Jackson

March 4, 1829 - March 4, 1837

Indian Removal Act


Indian Removal Act moves eastern Indians west of Mississippi.

Kinzie Party first comes upon Big Foot Lake


The earliest record of white men seeing this beautiful expanse of water was a party traveling with the Kinzie family between their army post at Fort Dearborn (Chicago) and Fort Winnebago (Portage City) near the Fox and Wisconsin River portage in1831. This area was not on the river and lake highways of the earlier frontier period and thus lay undiscovered.

Victor Hugo - Hunchback of Notre Dame


Electron Microscope


The electron microscope is invented by Ernst Ruska.

Black Hawk War


Land treaty with Indians clear southern Wisconsin land titles.


1833 - Land treaty with Indians cleared southern Wisconsin land titles. .

John Brink surveys Big Foot Lake and renames it Geneva.


Lake Geneva was surveyed and laid out in 1837. Earlier land sales were confirmed at the Federal Government Land Office in 1839. The price was $ 1.25 per acre. Immigrant settlers from New England and New York flooded into the town. Most came via the Erie Canal and steamboat or sailing ships through the Great Lakes, embarking at Southport (Kenosha) or Milwaukee. Others trudged through the swamps and forest of Southern Michigan, Northern Ohio and Indiana.

First cabin in Lake Geneva by Christopher Payne


In 1836, Christopher Payne, a pioneer settler from Belvidere, Illinois, established a rival claim for the water power. He built the first log cabin, the site of which is marked by a boulder and a plaque on Center Street just north of the river. Following a "Wild West" battle to settle ownership, grist and sawmills were built. Lake shore logs and many walnut trees were floated to the mills and cut into lumber from which the town was built. Eventually, flouring and wool carding mills followed.

Moses and Israel Williams Jr. (sons of Capt. Williams) arrive at Bigfoot Lake


In the year 1836, while the Indians still enjoyed possession of the beautiful lake, two sturdy young men of the genuine New England stock, with file and axe on their shoulders, pushed their way through the woods to Bigfoot lake of whose attractions they had heard. They were Moses and Israel Williams, the two eldest sons of Capt. Israel Williams, afterwards the first settler at Williams Bay. These young men were seeking locations for homes. Their wives were in Michigan in care of their father. Near the present site of Kaye’s Park they stopped and rolled up a log house. A little faster up the lake another was built for Moses, the first having been for Israel. Leaving these as evidence of their claims they went back for their better halves.

They gave good reports of the country and Capt. Israel, the father, returned to his home in Ashfield, Franklin Co. Mass. gathered his household together and started for the promised land.
Williams Bay Observer - History of Williams Bay

Israel Williams Jr. builds log cabin on south shore.


Israel Williams Jr. builds log cabin on south shore. The cabin was located where Kayes Park and Northwestern Military & Naval Academy would later stand

The Territory of Wisconsin was established.


It originally included what later became the states of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and parts of what became the states of North and South Dakota.

Walworth County was organized


Creation of Wisconsin Territory


Discovery of lead results in the creation of the Territory of Wisconsin, which included lands west of the Mississippi River to the Missouri River. Much of the western portion was later transferred to the Iowa Territory, created in 1838. Act creating Territory of Wisconsin signed April 20 by President Andrew Jackson. (Provisions of Ordinance of 1787 made part of the act.)
Capital located at Belmont
Henry Dodge appointed governor, July 4, by President Andrew Jackson.
First session of legislature.
Madison chosen as permanent capital.

Walworth County, Population 200


At the end of 1836 there were some 200 men, women and children in the county; with thirty one families and thirty single men. (Bay Leaves)

Morse Code


1836: Samuel Morse invents Morse code

First cabin built in Fontana by James Van Slyke


Royal Joy Williams Joins his brothers Israel Jr. and Moses at Geneva Lake

August 1836

Chief Big Foot and Pottowatomi depart for Kansas

September 1836

Removal of the pottawatomi Indians from the Lake. Taken by a Government wagon-train to a reservation near the present city of Lawrence, Kansas. From The Book of Lake Geneva, by Paul B. Jenkins.

The indians were removed to lands beyond the Mississippi in 1837, but many of them afterwards wandered back to see the tide of civilization resistlessly sweeping over their former homes and hunting grounds.

Williams Bay Observer, History of Williams Bay

Mathias Mohr, Amos Bailey, and Dr. Henry Clark platted and laid out the lots and streets of Fontana

1837 - 1838

What was originally called Reid's Landing became the Village of Fontana.

Thomas McKaig prepared the plat of what became the Village of Geneva, dividing it into streets and lots.

1837 - May 23, 1840

Panic of 1837


Panic of 1837 - all territorial banks failed.

Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist


Martin Van Buren

March 4, 1837 - March 4, 1841

Israel Sr. and Lavina Williams arrive in Walworth County

July 4, 1837

July 4, 1837 Israel and Lavina Williams along with Mrs. Williams mother, Mrs. Hannah Joy and the younger Williams children arrived in Walworth County, Wisconsin

Hannah Leach Williams married to Robert Russell


First marriage was Hannah Leach Williams to Robert Russell. Ceremony was performed by Justice of the Peace Israel Williams, father of the bride

Mrs. Israel Williams make first cheese in Walworth County


In the summer of 1838, Mrs. Williams made the first cheese ever made in Walworth County. In 1839, she made some 800 lbs. which was taken to Geneva by canoe and sold to Andrew Ferguson for a shilling a pound or thereabouts.

Williams Bay Observer - History of Williams Bay

Williams Family makes claim on north shore


In the spring of ’38 Capt. Williams moved his family to Williams Bay, and planted his first crops on the old Indian gardens.

Williams Bay Observer - History of Williams Bay

Daguerreotype Photography


Daguerre invents first form of photography

Potawatomi relocated to Kansas


Mrs. Hannah Joy dies at the Williams homestead

September 6, 1838

Mrs. Hannah Joy, mother of Lavina Williams dies at the Williams homestead on September 6, 1838. She is buried near the wives of Chief Big Foot.

The Town of Geneva was organized


The Town of Geneva (which included the present Geneva, Bloomfield, Linn and lyons townships) was organized.

First School at Nine Oaks on South Shore


First school was taught by Lucinda Williams in 1839. The lessons were held at Nine Oaks, the home of Moses and Lucinda Williams in Linn Township on the south shore of Geneva Lake. There were 10 students in the school. Later children would attend several one-room schoolhouses to the north, east and west of the village.

The first school in the neighborhood was taught by Mrs. Moses Williams, in 1839 at Nine Oaks. Her pupils were Festus Williams, three of James VanSlyke’s children, two from Squire Bell’s, two from Dr. Wood’s, and two from Mr. Clarke’s, the latter two families having been recent settlers on the south side of the lake. The two Clarke boys have since become noted. One will be remembered as Col. Geo. Clark, the founder of the famous Pacific Garden Mission of Chicago. His brother Frank was the foreman of the jury in the Cronin murder case.

Williams Bay Observer - History of Williams Bay

The Temperance Society in Geneva was founded.

December 25, 1839

Edgar Allen Poe - Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque


Addition of Buckhorn Tavern


Captain Israel Wliliams added to his new home in the Bay, calling it the Buckhorn Tavern, which stood until 1963 when it was torn down.

Stage coach route from Kenosha to Beloit, passing through Geneva, was established.


Williams family living in Spring Prairie, Wisconsin


Israel was living in Spring Prairie, Wisconsin Territory, with his wife and three sons. Also in Spring Prairie in separate households were his sons, Israel Williams, Jr. and Moses D. Williams. Israel Williams, Jr. had a wife and two children under the age of ten. Moses and his wife had one other male in their household.

Capt. Williams erects the first framed building.


In the winter of 1839-40 Capt. Williams, assisted by Mark Russell, hewed the timber for the first frame building in the vicinity. In the spring of 1840 he built a house and barn. The neighbors all came for miles to attend the raising which was a grand affair.
Williams Bay Observer - History of Williams Bay

First stagecoach


First stagecoach in the area ran from Kenosha to Beloit, passing through Lake Geneva and Williams Bay.

Dam built on outlet of Geneva Lake (White River)


Erosion of the outlet had lowered the lake level. The new dam raised the lake level about 6 feet.

William Henry Harrison

March 4, 1841 - April 4, 1841

John Tyler

April 4, 1841 - March 4, 1845

Captain Williams Postmaster Geneva Bay


In 1844 Captain Williams was the first postmaster and at that time [Williams Bay] was called Geneva Bay.

Capt. Williams now opened a built house in his new building. A magnificent pair of antlers served as a sign and his house was known all over the country as the Buck-horn Hotel. It was the headquarters for land seekers. Capped. Williams being one of the earliest settlers, and become thoroughly familiar with all the surrounding country, and could direct or guide any stranger to his desired location.

A stage line from Kenosha to Beloit was soon established and passed the Buckhorn Hotel. In 1844 he secured the appointment as postmaster, and with characteristic modesty named his office, not Williams Bay, but Geneva Bay. He held the position of postmaster until his death when the office was discontinued.

Williams Bay Observer - The History of Williams Bay

The sale of alcohol was prohibited by the Village of Geneva ordinance.


Blacksmith Shop Established


Blacksmith shop was established at Delap's Corners by D.P. Hadley.

Alexander Dumas - The Three Musketeers


All Village of Geneva records were lost.

1845 - 1856

U.S. Congress allotted $5,000 to improve the road from Kenosha to Geneva, which today is Highway 50.


Malaria Outbreak


In 1845 there was an epidemic of malaria and typhoid fever which caused the death of Moses and Austin Williams, and the following year Captain Israel Williams. The cause of the disease was traced to the vegetable mould from so much plowing of the land where leaf mould existed. We now know the bacteria that cause typhoid fever spread through contaminated food or water and occasionally through direct contact with someone who is infected.]

James Polk

March 4, 1845 - March 4, 1849

Mexican-American War

1846 - 1848

Mexican–American War: On May 13, 1846, the United States recognized the existence of a state of war with Mexico. After the annexation of Texas in 1845, the United States and Mexico failed to resolve a boundary dispute and President Polk said that it was necessary to deploy forces in Mexico to meet a threatened invasion.

The war ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848. The treaty gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas, established the U.S.–Mexican border of the Rio Grande, and ceded to the United States the present-day states of California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming. In return, Mexico received US$18,250,000 (equivalent to about $499,000,000 in 2015)[3] — less than half the amount the U.S. had attempted to offer Mexico for the land before the opening of hostilities.[RL30172]

111 votes for and 70 against the right of African-Americans to vote were cast in Geneva.


Captain Israel Williams Dies of Malaria

October 14, 1846

In 1845, there was a malaria & cholera outbreak that caused the deaths of Moses and Austin Williams and the following year on October 14, 1846, Captain Williams succumbed to the same maladies at the age of fifty-seven.

There was a great deal of sickness amongst the settlers at this time caused it was throat by so much new land being turned over with the law leaving the vegetable mould exposed to the air which bred malarial and typhoid fever. In 1845 Moses and Austin Williams were taken ill with typhoid fever and died within three days of each other. The following year Capt. Israel himself succumbed to the same malady

Williams Bay Observer - history of Williams Bay

Lavina Williams and son Festus move to Broom Prairie

November 1846

Lavina Williams and son Festus move to Broom Prairie. Israel Jr. had moved there earlier. Royal went back to Massachusetts

The population of the Town of Geneva was 1,238




Sir James Simpson uses chloroform for childbirth

Large scale german immigration begins


Lavina Williams and Festus move back to Williams Bay


Lavina Williams and Festus move back to Williams Bay from Broom Prairie

The Wisconsin Standard, the first newspaper in Geneva, was published.


The Sons of Temperance Lodge in Geneva was organized.


Wisconsin becomes the nation's 30th state


Karl Marx and Friedrick Engels - Communist Manifesto


Bay Hill Post Office


In 1849 Kiah Bailey secured the appointment as postmaster with the office at his home, three quarters of a mile west of the Bay. He named the office Bay Hill, and served until 1861 or 1862 when he got into trouble over some matters which need not now be repeated, and quite stole away. After a couple of years when the troubles had blown over he returned. on his departure Zina Cotton who lived where Geo. VanVelzer now resides, secured the postoffice. It was afterwards removed to East Delavan, and the 13name of Bay Hill went out of existence.

Williams Bay Observer - History of Williams Bay

Zachary Taylor

March 4, 1849 - July 9, 1850

Many residents of Geneva went to California for the Gold Rush.


Third Great Awakening

1850 - 1900

The Third Great Awakening refers to a hypothetical historical period proposed by William G. McLoughlin that was marked by religious activism in American history and spans the late 1850s to the early 20th century.[1] It affected pietistic Protestant denominations and had a strong element of social activism.[2] It gathered strength from the postmillennial belief that the Second Coming of Christ would occur after mankind had reformed the entire earth. It was affiliated with the Social Gospel Movement, which applied Christianity to social issues and gained its force from the Awakening, as did the worldwide missionary movement. New groupings emerged, such as the Holiness movement and Nazarene movements, and Christian Science.[3]

The era saw the adoption of a number of moral causes, such as the abolition of slavery and prohibition. However, some scholars, such as Kenneth Scott Latourette, dispute the thesis that the United States ever had a Third Great Awakening.[4]

1859 - The Impact of the Third Great Awakening

The Ongoing Effects of Revival

The effects of such an awakening are immeasurable. It resulted in the addition of approximately one million converts to the church­es of the United States. It added spiritual strength and material pros­perity to a decadent Christian cause everywhere. Baptists added almost 200,000 to their numbers by baptism. The revival gave new importance to the work of laymen in churches. It encouraged good interdenominational relationships in ways that had never been encouraged before. It added a large number of young men to the ranks of gospel preachers and filled theological seminaries with those who had committed themselves to preach Christ. It also result­ed in the formation of some new seminaries. The awakening gave the nation a badly needed moral lift. It tied the gospel with social work in a manner that had not been seen in this country before. It gave a boost to missionary giving and resulted in unusual mission­ary efforts during the War between the States. It prepared the nation for the blood bath it would soon experience in the war years of 1861-1865. It gave birth to the great revivals which swept the armies of the South during the days of the war. It softened the hardship of the period of reconstruction for the South. It continued in the work of later evangelists who labored until the end of the nineteenth centu­ry. [From When Heaven Touched Earth by Roy Fish, page 205]

The Revival of 1858 was easily the most unique awakening this country has ever experienced. Its beginning, its approval from almost every source, its spirit of cooperation, and its lack of emotional excess easily set it apart from other awakenings. It contained all the wholesome features of other awakenings and sifted out the questionable ones. Never before or since has evangelical Christianity received such widespread publicity or promotion from the public press. Ultimately, this awakening gave birth to a new era in evangelism and did not actually terminate until its force had been felt on three continents. [From When Heaven Touched Earth by Roy Fish, pages 206-207]

Recruits for Ministry and Mission Field

The Awakenings of 1792 and 1830 onward had exerted a helpful effect on recruitment for ministry and missions, but denominations in North America had suffered for years, because the supply of new ministers was not equal to the demand. In 1858 it was predicted,

This general Baptism of the Holy Spirit, this wonderful turning to God on the part of the young men throughout the country, will multiply the number of candidates for the ministry, and give those who enter it a more entire consecration to the service of their divine Master. 1

This prediction was fulfilled. An editor noted late in 1858: "the effect of the religious revivals of the present year has already seen an increase of students for the ministry. 1' 2

Union Theological Seminary in New York reached a new peak in enrollment of students, drawing from the Middle Atlantic States and farther afield. Seemingly all denominational colleges, when they reopened in autumn 1858, reported greatly increased enrollment which they ascribed to the interest from the Great Awakening. Many of these students later enrolled in theological seminaries. [From The Event of the Century by J. Edwin Orr, page 299]

The Resurgence of Evangelisim

One notable characteristic of the awakening was its short-term effect in bringing such very large numbers of adults to conversion. It was not that young folk were left untouched, rather that so many cases of conversion were occurring among both men and women in "maturity of life, heads of families, absentees from the sanctuary, those who had lived through many seasons of awaken­ings, and still remained destitute of religion." So widespread in the churches was Horace Burshnell's emphasis upon Christian nurture, and so prevalent was the expectation of seeing converts only among the young, that the denominations had virtually lost faith in conversion of adults as such. Now a lead article in The Watchman was insisting that "the large majority of converts in the powerful revival now sweeping over the land are of adult years." Some were in late middle life and not a few advanced in old age, all being accessions of experience and maturity to the churches.

Of the converts, Sylvia Penn of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, wrote:

They are from the unknown and the well-known; the fanner in his field, and the sailor on the wide sea; the princely merchant, and the humble artisan; the old man of three-score years, and the little child .. .

God's grace could change the hearts of rich, poor, elderly, middle-aged, youth, farmers, bankers, merchants, clerks, statesmen, judges, housewives and servants, as easily as those of children. This was the lesson of the 1858 Revival. [From The Event of the Century by J. Edwin Orr, page 310]

Social Impact of Revival

Because of evangelical preoccupation with evangelism first, then social action, Unitarian "keepers of the social conscience" asserted that a true religion was not merely a spiritual experience to enjoy and a holy life to be lived. But the Evangelicals also had advocates of "self-sacrificing zeal in good works." H. C. Fish rebuked big businessmen for consecrating pews but not their counting houses.

Gilbert Seldes termed the 1858 Revival "a penitential outbreak after the panic" and wrote that it did not have any profound effect on the social and intellectual life of the American people. William Warren Sweet took exception to this uninformed opinion and declared that it was based on a too limited knowledge of the facts:

Out of [the 1858 Awakening] came the introduction of the Y.M.CA. into American cities. It produced the leadership, such as that of Dwight L. Moody, out of which came the religious work carried on in the armies during the civil war. It gave impetus to the creation of the Christian and Sanitary Commissions and numerous Freedmen's Societies (hat were formed in the midst of the war. All benevolent enterprises flourished during the civil war, and the period saw charities on a larger scale than ever before. Though war always loosens purse strings, charitable giving at any time must depend chiefly upon people whose sympathies are the most touched by the sufferings of their fellowmen and, in the great majority of instances they are the ones whose hearts have been warmed by a divine flame.

Timothy Smith also noticed that the churches were bettering the condition of destitute and needy as well as giving them the Gospel message. Interdenominational societies as well as the local churches distributed food and clothing, found employment, resettled children, and provided medical aid for the poorer classes. 27 From just a few before the Revival of 1857-58, the city missions increased to several hundreds by 1860. It must never be forgotten that a great Civil War erupted within three years of the 1857-58 Revival. The energies of the nation were absorbed into military action or dissipated by civil disruption. To understand what the 1857-58 Awakening might have done, one has only to look at the proliferation of the societies for social betterment in Britain following the 1859-60 Revival there. [From The Event of the Century by J. Edwin Orr, page 315-316]

Nathanial Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter


Millard Fillmore

July 9, 1850 - March 4, 1853

Melville - Moby Dick


Sewing Machine


Singer patents sewing machine

Lavina Joy Williams dies

June 28, 1851

June 28, 1851 Lavina Joy Williams dies in Williams Bay, Walworth County, Wisconsin

Jonas G. Southwick settles on the hillside north of the Bay


Royal Williams returns from Massachusetts


Reinforced Concrete


François Coignet invents reinforced concrete.

Franklin Pierce

March 4, 1853 - March 4, 1857

The Geneva Express began publishing.


Thoreau - Walden




Smith & Wesson invent revolver.

Albert Hollister born on the family farm

June 15, 1854

Albert Hollister was born on the family farm in East Delavan. Recalling his youth, Albert told the editor of the Bay Leaves that a band of Indians were
roaming around these parts every summer. They had a permanent camp
near Lake Koshkonong and three or four hundred came down to Delavan
Inlet and Duck Lake (now Lake Como) for the summer. The children had no
fear of them and they were kind to them. Occasionally they would ask for

Royal Williams is appointed administrator of the Williams estate.


Royal Williams is appointed administrator of the Williams estate. Royal and his family moved into the Williams homestead.

Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass


First Railroad Train from Chicago Arrived in Geneva.

June 1856 - 1860

The Chicago to Geneva ceased to run because of a bad track in 1860.
Annals of Lake Geneva

James Buchanan

March 4, 1857 - March 4, 1861

The Genevan was Published


First steam boat on Geneva Lake


Atalanta was the first steam boat on Geneva Lake

Heavy rainfall caused Geneva Lake to be filled to full capacity.

June, 1858

The Geneva Independents militia company was organized.


Fifty residents of Geneva went to the Gold Rush at Pike's Peak in Colorado.


Abraham Lincoln

March 4, 1861 - April 15, 1865

American Civil War

April 12, 1861 - May 9, 1865

Over 90,000 men from Wisconsin served in the Union armed forces during the Civil War.
Sixty members of the Geneva Independents militia company enlisted in the Union Army. Within a week, a company of 100 had been raised. The company drilled in the public square (Maple Park) until the 14th of July when it went to Racine, where it became Company K of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry, which then went by train to Baltimore an Washington. The 4th Wisconsin Fought in the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia and was then sent by ship to Louisiana, where Company K fought in the attacks on Port Hudson, Louisiana on the Mississippi River on May 27 and June 14, 1863 where it was virtually wiped out.
Annals of Lake Geneva
96,000 Wisconsin soldiers served in Civil War; losses were 12,216.

Company C of the 22nd Wisconsin Infantry Formed


Company C of the 22nd Wisconsin Infantry, comprised of men from Geneva, was formed.
Annals of Lake Geneva

Edouard Manet - Luncheon on the Grass


Black Plague


Black Plague" in Lake Geneva (Diptheria and Whoooping Cough).

Pasteurization Process


Louis Pasteur invents the pasteurization process.

Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace


The Siemens-Martin Process (Steel)


The Siemens-Martin process for making steel is invented by Carl Wilhelm Siemens and Pierre-Émile Martin.

Southern Reconstruction

1865 - 1877

Southern United States – Reconstruction following the American Civil War: The South is divided into five Union occupation districts under the Reconstruction Act.

Andrew Johnson

April 15, 1865 - March 4, 1869

Fyodor Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment




Dynamite, the first safely manageable explosive stronger than black powder, is invented by Alfred Nobel.

Camp Collie


By 1882 Camp Collie, now known as Conference Point Camp, was widely known for its assemblies. In 1868 a group of members of the Congregational Church in Delavan met on the shore of the lake together with their pastor, Reverend Joseph Collie. In 1874 the group would moved to facilities at the point.

Union Pacific meets Central Pacific


Union Pacific meets Central Pacific.

Ulysses S. Grant

March 4, 1869 - March 4, 1877

Prohibition ordinance was passed in the Village of Geneva.


Second Industrial Revolution

1870 - 1969

Through the introduction of a division of labor landmass production with the help of electrical energy. First assembly line Cincinnati slaughter houses, 1870

The population of Lake Geneva reaches 1,700.


First train from Chicago to Geneva arrived on the restored railroad line.


Rail Service


The village of Geneva had a railroad as early as 1856 but by 1860 the track was in such bad condition that the service was abandoned, not to resume for thirteen years.

The first railroad completed from Chicago to Geneva Lake allowed wealthy families an easy way to get out of the city while their homes were rebuilt.

The Chicago Fire of 1871 caused many Chicago families to move to their summer homes on the lake while the city was rebuilt. The construction and maintenance of these mansions, as well as household employment, developed a separate industry in the town adding to the milling, furniture, wagon and typewriter manufacturing enterprises. After arrival of the railroad, thousands of tons of Lake Geneva ice were shipped each year to the Chicago market, until the beginning of World War II.

Peshtigo Fire

October 10, 1871

Great Chicago Fire

October 10, 1871

The Geneva Lake Herald Began Publishing.


Lewis Carroll - Through the Looking Glass


Heavy snow storm hits area

April 21, 1872

The temperature was -20 below zero.

December 20, 1872

Generals U.S. Grant and Philip Sheridan summer on Geneva Lake.


Generals U>S> Grant and Philip Sheridan spent parts of the summer in Geneva.

Kaye's Park was opened.


Kaye's Park was opened on Geneva Lake's south shore east of Fontana. June 21, 1873.

Ice boats first appeared on Geneva Lake.


"Lady of the Lake" launched on Geneva Lake


Invention of typewriter


Invention of typewriter by C. Latham Sholes.

Whiting House


Whiting House Hotel opened for business in Lake Geneva. A fine 4-story structure.

"Pickeralville" Ice Shanty Village

December 1873 - February 1874

The cluster of ice fishing shanties on frozen Geneva Lake was dubbed "Pickeralville."

Whiting House Hotel opens.


Whiting House Hotel at the south end of Broad Street just north of Geneva Lake's outlet.

Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and General Philip Sheridan Visit


Summer 1874

Festus Williams returns to Williams Bay


in 1870 Festus Williams returned from Virginia, where he had been superintending a large plantain near historic Jamestown, and took up his residence in Beloit, from whence he came again in 1874 to the farm where he now resides, and commenced reclaiming the march lands extending towards the bay, How well he succeeded, his productive fields show for themselves.

Williams Bay Observer - History of Williams Bay

First impressionist exhibit in Paris


Four trains to and from Chicago to Lake Geneva.


First big commercial ice house, Gross & Briggs.


Lake Geneva Yacht Club Founded


Kayes Park opens on south shore.


Inaugural Sheridan Race

August 31, 1874

Seven boats—they were known as sandbaggers—competed in the inaugural Sheridan Race. The winner on corrected time was the 21-foot topsail sloop Nettie, owned by Julian S. Rumsey. The Sheridan Prize was named in honor of Lieutenant General P. H. Sheridan who was visiting
Lake Geneva.

Fifty days with below zero temperatures

January 1875 - February 1875

Steamer Lucius Newberry Built


Steamer Lucius Newberry Built in 1875 by John French cost Lake Geneva residents $16.000. Decorated lavishly and adorned by painting by artist and photographer John Bullock.,4367547&hl=en

6,000 young bass placed in Geneva Lake

August 1875

N.K. Fairbank placed six thousand young
bass in Geneva Lake and along with L.Z. Leiter built a fish
hatchery in what is now Big Foot County Club

The first Sheridan Regatta was held.

August 28, 1875

Richard Wagner - Ring of the Nibelung




A patent for the telephone is granted to Alexander Graham Bell. However, other inventors before Bell had worked on the development of the telephone and the invention had several pioneers.[207]



The first working phonograph is invented by Thomas Edison.[208]

Rutherford B. Hayes

March 4, 1877 - March 4, 1881

Temperature was 70 degrees

December 20, 1877

Temperature was 70 degrees; lake didn't freeze until January 7 and lake was open by March 7.

Gilbert and Sullivan - H.M.S Pinafor


The Geneva Lake News began publication.


A daily newspaper.



Thomas Edison produces the first practical lightbulb and is granted a U.S. patent.

Telephone line around the lake completed.


Three passenger trains and two freight trains arrived and departed from Geneva daily.


Population of Lake Geneva 1,969


Oak Hill Cemetery opened.


Pishcotoqua Hotel opened on the north shore.


Heavy snow blocked trains for 3 days

February 1881

Heavy snow blocked trains for 10 days

March 3, 1881

James Garfield

March 4, 1881 - September 19, 1881

Heavy snow with drifts up to 20 feet blocked trains for 4 days

March 18, 1881

Melting snow caused flooding

April 1881

Ice gone from lake

May 13, 1881

Water spout observed near Camp Collie

July 24, 1881

A water spout, over a hundred feet high, was observed near Camp Collie

Chester Arthur

September 19, 1881 - March 4, 1885

Congress Club


The Congress Club, a pleasure club of young married people mostly living on Congress Street in Chicago, purchased a ten acre plot of land in 1881. By July 1, 1882 the members had a clubhouse and several cottages ready for use.

Nineteen steam-powered boats were operating on Geneva Lake.


Fredrick Nietzsche - Thus Spake Zarathustra


The Wisconsin Telephone Company was given a license to erect telephone poles adjacent to the streets in Lake Geneva.

March 1, 1883

The Lake Geneva chapter of the YMCA was founded.

June 1883

Cold temperatures caused ice to cover lake from Geneva Bay to the Narrows

December 21, 1883

Steam Turbine


Modern steam turbine invented by Sir Charles Parsons.

Machine Gun


Hiram Maxim invents the recoil-operated Maxim gun, ushering in the age of fully automatic and portable machine guns.

Village of Lake Geneva becomes a city.


Population 2,300. First cement sidewalks.

Population of Lake Geneva 2,281


Construction of Snake Road on north side completed.


Grover Cleveland

March 4, 1885 - March 4, 1889

Oakwood Sanitarium on "Catholic Hill" opened.

July 1885

Hook and ladder fire company organized in Lake Geneva.

September 1885

YMCA George Williams College


YMCA George Williams College Camp was the next camp to open in 1886 (now owned by Aurora University). It was the vision of I. E. Brown, William Lewis, and Robert Weidensall, YMCA leaders com- missioned to develop the movement in the western United States.
Photo courtesy of Aurora University
The Lewis Auditorium
The campus thrived as YMCA workers from across the country gathered for physical activity, spiritual
reflection and service learning. The training camp grew rapidly, and it moved to the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago in 1890 and became an institution of higher learning for students entering human service professions such as parks and recreation, education, and social work. The Lake Geneva campus served as a "college camp" used for retreats.
The first permanent camp building to be constructed in Williams Bay was the Lewis Auditorium in 1890.

Gas Powered Automobile


Karl Benz invents the first petrol or gasoline powered auto-mobile (car).[210]

Lake Geneva incorporated as a city.

March 31, 1886

John B. Simmons elected first Mayor of the City of Lake Geneva

March 31, 1886

Royal Joy Williams Dies

August 26, 1886

August 26, 1886 Royal Joy Williams was the 5th son born to Israel and Lavina Williams dies in Williams Bay, Walworth County, Wisconsin

George Williams College Camp, operated by the YMCA, opened.

September 1886

Holiday Home


Wind Turbine for Grid Electricity


James Blyth invents the first wind turbine used for generating electricity.

Kodak Camera


Eastman's Kodak camera begins amateur photography.

Rockford Camp


Rockford Camp was located adjacent to the YMCA Camp on land leased from Joseph Stam by Josiah Sloan and Milton Brown in 1888. The camp has also been known as Stam's Woods and Dartmouth Woods. Originally a tent camp with a shared kitchen and dining room, there was an icehouse and outhouses located behind the tents. Drinking water came from Collie Spring. The tents and shared kitchen and dining room were replaced by cottages; the icehouse was replaced by refrigerators, and the outhouses by indoor plumbing.

Railroad arrives in Williams Bay


Chicago Northwestern Railroad


Prior to June 1, 1888, Williams Bay was considered a rural area but the arrival of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad brought considerable growth to the village. Steam yachts would line up at the piers across from the depot waiting to take passengers to their lakefront homes, camps, and resorts around the lake.

Ball Point Pen


John J. Loud invents the ballpoint pen.[211]

Benjamin Harrison

March 4, 1889 - March 4, 1893

Water, street light, waterworks, well, water tower, fire hydrants company organized.

March 31, 1889 - 1890

Annals of Lake Geneva, Simmons

E.L. Baker plan to merge Como with Geneva


In 1890 another project was put underway that ended disastrously. E.L. Baker, a surveyor and civil engineer whose home was in Lake Geneva, had long had in his mind a plan which at first thought appears wild and impossible, and as it failed we may say it was a hair-brained scheme. Had it succeeded it would have been a grand triumph of genius. It was as follows: 1st to buy up all the land about Lake Como at as low a price as possible, 2nd. To dam up the outlet of Lake Como, and raise that body of water to a level with Lake Geneva. ((t is now about 14 feet lower.) 3rd. To dig a channel, large enough for the passage of any boat in Lake Geneva, from Williams Bay to Lake Como. This would make the Como shores about as valuable as Geneva shores, and in this way prove a highly profitable investment.
Williams Bay Observer - History of williams Bay

Crane Farm owned by Lakeshore resident R.T. Crane


Steeped in history a section of land northeast of Williams Bay on highway 50 was once home to three beautiful estates - Crane Farm owned by R.T. Crane, Kemah Farm owned by A.W. Harris, and “Boulders” summer home of H.A. Wheeler. An archaeological dig conducted by The Great Lakes Archaeological Research Center that began in 1989 discovered forty historical sites and prehistoric dwellings belonging to the mid–late woodland Indians. Today, it is the site of Geneva National Resort. The main entrance to Geneva National was also the location of the Crane Farm entrance.

Though Crane Farm and the original Colonial Revival home are long gone, the Greek Revival-style house built in 1915 remains. Over the years Crane Farm was a home, retreat for Crane Plumbing Company employees, and more. Today the Hunt Club Restaurant is located in the Greek revival-style house.

In 1928, a group of executives from Crane Plumbing, following the commitment of the late R.T. Crane to care for the employees and families of the Crane Company, decided to provide a summer camp for children of Crane employees. Calling themselves the Duck Lake Committee, they had a numbers of cabins built north of the barn for the children attending two-week summer camping adventures. Boys and girls went to camp separately, enjoying activities such as picnics, playing ball, and swimming in Geneva Lake.

In the early 1930s, the Greek revival style house became Crane Farm Sanitarium. Crane employees who had tuberculosis could go to the sanitarium to recuperate from the deadly disease after they were released from the hospital. The sanitarium had a capacity of 18 patients. Equipped with a sun room with quartz glass, billiard tables, and pheasant hunting in the fields of the farm, patients were able to come and go as their health permitted.

The development of the antibiotic streptomycin in 1946 made effective treatment and cure of TB a reality and the sanitarium was closed. Crane Farm remained an active farm for many years, The Greek revival house was rented to a family in the 1970s. Crane Farm was purchased in 1989 and was operated as a hunt club until 1999 when work began on the Gary Player golf course.

21 steam yachts on Geneva Lake

July 1890

A telephone line from Lake Geneva to Chicago was completed.

July 1890

Ground frozen solid

October 30, 1890

Lake Geneva Railroad Depot Opened


Northwest corner of North and Broad Streets

Steamer Lucius Newberry Destroyed by Fire


Fire believed to be caused by "hobo" smoking on or near the Lucius Newberry. See Milwaukee Sentinel article in Evernotes.

Scandinavian Free Lutheran church


In 1891 A.H. Arneson, Eric Anderson and G.L. Jensen, incorporated the Scandinavian Free Lutheran Church and proceeded to buy the land and build the church, which later was remodeled and enlarged into the present Gospel Tabernacle.

Lake Geneva Ice Co.


In 1891 the Lake Geneva Ice Co. built a large ice-house, employing 125 men in season. Need to double check this info!!!!!!



zipper: Whitcomb Judson

Lake was completely frozen

January 6, 1891

Lake was completely frozen; ice was very smooth making for great sport for skaters and ice boaters

Lucius Newberry Burned and sank in Geneva Lake

December 6, 1891

Cedar Point Park in Williams Bay platted.


Williams Bay Land Co. Proposal

1892 - 1893

During the winter of 1892-1893, Dr. M.E. LeClerque, of Chicago, put in operation a scheme of magnificent proportions which, however, has been very unfortunate. If it could have been carried through successfully it would have been a great thing for the town of Williams Bay. He purchased sixty acres of the flat land north of the depot, organized the Williams Bay Land Co., laid out his purchase into blocks and lots and commenced improvements. Lewis H. Falley, of Chicago, was engaged as general manager, and contracts for the erection of several houses were let to James C. Hedrick, also of Chicago. Harley Williams took the contract for ditching and tiling. The land had formerly been partially under water, but, as it was from ten to twenty-five feet above the level of the lake, drainage was a comparatively easy problem. Mr. Hedrick employed a large force of carpenters and commenced the erection of four houses and a store building. Several lots were sold at a high price. It was just previous to opening of the World’s Fair and Chicago. times were good, wages high and everything was flourishing. It looked as if the village on the bay was going to “boom”, and no doubt it would have done so but for the financial crash that struck the death blow to prosperity that fatal summer. One of the first sales made proved a curse to the growing village. Thos. Quinn and M. Cleary, of Lake Geneva, bought two lots, put up a building, and opened a liquor saloon. Dr. LeClerque was directly responsible for allowing this venture, but it was under representations that the place should be conducted in a respectable manner, and in accord with the regulations of law and decency. How well these promises have been kept the residents of Williams Bay know only too well.

Williams Bay Observer - History of Williams Bay

Post Office Established


In February 1892, Marie Williams, wife of Edward F. Williams (second son of Royal and Lucretia Williams), secured appointment as postmistress and the post office of Williams Bay was established. For the first two years mail was brought from Lake Geneva, bi-weekly at first and in 1893 it was delivered daily. In the fall of 1894, the mail came by train from Lake Geneva and in 1895 a through mail to and from Chicago was established providing two mail deliveries per day.

Mrs. J. Pemberton opened a boarding house.


Financial Panic of 1893

1893 - 1897

Like most major financial downturns, the depression of the 1890s was preceded by a series of shocks that undermined public confidence and weakened the economy. The Panic of 1893 provided a spectacular financial crisis the contributed to the economic recession.

In the last days of the Harrison administration, the Reading Railroad, a major eastern line, went into receivership. That collapse was soon magnified by the failures of hundreds of banks and businesses dependent upon the Reading and other railroads. The stock market reacted with a dramatic plunge. Fearing further collapse, European investors pulled their funds from the United States, but depression soon gripped the other side of the Atlantic as well. An ongoing agricultural depression in the West and South deepened, spreading the misery to those regions.

Although thousands of businesses were ruined and more than four million were left unemployed, Cleveland did little. He believed, like most people of both major parties, that the business cycle was a natural occurrence and should not be tampered with by politicians.

One economic matter, however, did concern the president deeply. The nation’s gold reserve had been steadily declining during the last years of the Harrison administration. The lavish spending of the “Billion Dollar Congress" and the gold drain caused by the Sherman Silver Purchase Act were the prime factors of the surplus reduction. A few weeks after Cleveland was sworn in, the nation’s reserves dipped below $100 million, a psychological barrier whose breaching further weakened public trust. The president acted to rescue the gold standard, but in the process divided the Democratic Party and alienated the silver forces of the South and West.

When Congress adjourned at the end of June 1893, President Cleveland – fearing a possible adverse impact on the markets – secretly dealt with a major health problem.

The Panic of 1893 and other factors had a lasting impact. The depression of the 1890s did not fully abate until 1897. One response to the series of failures and bankruptcies was an upsurge in business consolidations. The poorer elements of society believed they had been ignored during the hard times and then were left at the mercy of the trusts. The reform efforts of the last quarter of the 19th century had not been sufficient; new leadership was needed for the next century.

Lake Geneva Ice Company


1893? The following winter Henry McBride and Frank Harville of Chicago purchased a piece of land from Harley Williams on the east side of the town line road for an ice house. They organized the Lake Geneva Ice Company and built one of the biggest ice houses in Wisconsin. It had a capacity of 40,000 tons of ice, employed 125 men for about six weeks in the winter to fill cut the ice and fill the house, and from five to fifteen men during the shipping season.

The Norway building was moved to Lake Geneva.


The Norway building was moved to Lake Geneva by train from the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and reassembled on Geneva Lake's north shore on the C.K.J. Billing's estate.

Norway building moved to Lake Geneva


The Norway building was moved to Lake Geneva by train from the World's Columbian Exposition in chicago and reassembled on Geneva Lake's north shore on the C.K.J. Billings' estate.

Ceylon building moved to Lake Geneva from Chicago.


The Ceylon building was moved to Lake Geneva by train from the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and reassembled on Geneva Lake's eastern shore as "Ceylon Court".

Harley Williams opens coal, lime and brick business.


In 1893, Harley Williams opened a coal, lime and brick business

C.M. Williams opens general store.


World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago


1893 - United States Chicago, United States - World's Columbian Exposition[12] - Palace of Fine Arts and the World's Congress Auxiliary Building

Grover Cleveland

March 4, 1893 - March 4, 1897

W.A. Lackey establishes bus line and livery.


First U.S. film - Fred Ott's Sneeze


Cold temperatures caused ice to form.

May 17, 1894

Cold temperatures caused ice to form, followed by a week of cold weather

The Whiting House hotel burned to the ground.

July 9, 1894

Population of Lake Geneva 2,452


7% increase since 1890

L.E. Francis establishes general merchandise store.


Lake Vista Hotel


Joe Keat bought the hotel part of C.M. Williams store and called it Lake Vista Hotel.

H.G. Wells - The Time Machine


Charter Boat Dispatch Sinks in Storm off Cedar Point

July 7 1895

Newspaper accounts from July, 1895 describe Sunday, July 7, 1895 as intensely hot. That afternoon, five people, guests at Kaye’s Park, chartered the steam launch Dispatch, perhaps in the hopes of catching a cool lake breeze, for a tour of Geneva Lake.

Failing to heed the signs of the approaching storm, the party resumed their tour of the lake’s north shore after a brief stop in Lake Geneva. Storm clouds had already begun forming in the western sky before the launch left Lake Geneva. By the time the Dispatch reached Elgin Park, the storm was already over the lake.

The Chicago Daily Tribune describes the storm that hit the area: “Delavan, Wis., July 8.--
The most destructive rain and wind storm that ever visited this locality came yesterday afternoon. The wind... blew down houses and barns, uprooted trees and plowed up corn fields, great trees were broken like pipestems. The wind was accompanied by a deluge of rain and great hailstones that broke windows and leveled fields of grain

The Dispatch was one of the launches at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The launch was about 30 feet in length, had no deck, was built of oak, brass-trimmed, and had plush upholstery. It was brought to Geneva
Lake by Mr. Albert L. Ide of Springfield, Illinois who used it as a private yacht. At the time of the disaster the Dispatch was owned by the Lake
Geneva Steamer Line and used as an excursion boat.

31,000 tons of ice cut from Geneva Lake


31,000 tons of ice cut from Geneva Lake, comprising 450 carloads were shipped to Chicago

Anton Chekhov - The Seagull


Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham New Thought School


Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham (1833-1912) was a physi- cian, author, publisher, and successful business woman and suffragist worker. In
1897 she launched a New Thought School in Williams Bay, called the Vrilia Heights Metaphysical School to provide a site for formal discussions inspired by the 1893 Columbian Exposition and World Congress of Religions.

J.P. Smith Ice Co.


J.P. Smith Ice Co. where Wallaby Shores is now located.

Yerkes Observatory Complete


William McKinley

March 4, 1897 - September 14, 1901

Eleanor Camp


Wesley Woods Camp began as The Eleanor Camp in 1898. The purpose of the camp was to provide a proper vacation retreat for female students and business women. As times changed the need for the vacation retreat declined.

Spanish-American War


Spanish–American War: On April 25, 1898, the United States declared war with Spain, ostensibly aligned with Cuban rebels. The war followed a Cuban insurrection, the Cuban War of Independence against Spanish rule and the sinking of the USS Maine in the harbor at Havana.[RL30172]

Wisconsin sent 5,469 men to fight in Spanish-American War; losses were 134.

First School in Williams Bay


The very first school in Williams Bay was started in November 1899 when State Superintendent of Schools, D.D. Harvey met with residents at the home of Festus Williams. The first elected school board members were: Director Festus Williams; Treasurer W.G. De Groff; Clerk F. Ellerman. Arrangements were made to hold classes in the Free Evangelical Lutheran Church basement (corner of Geneva and Williams Street) for a rent of $5 per month until a permanent location could be built. Funds were appropriated for building a schoolhouse and for erecting a 7x12 foot outhouse on the church property with the stipulation that it would later be moved to the school yard.

Philippine-American War

1899 - 1913

1899–1913 – Philippine Islands: Philippine–American War, US forces protected American interests following the war with Spain, defeating Filipino revolutionaries seeking immediate national independence.[RL30172] The U.S. government declared the "insurgency" officially over in 1902, when the Filipino leadership generally accepted American rule. Skirmishes between government troops and armed groups lasted until 1913, and some historians consider these unofficial extensions of the war.[4]

Fred Webster hired to teach at school District 7 in Williams Bay.

January, 1900

Fred Webster, son of composer Joseph
P. Webster, was hired to teach at the newly organized
school District 7 in Williams Bay.



The first Zeppelin is designed by Theodor Kober.

AM Radio


Human voice transmitted wirelessly (by radio) for the first time by Roberto Landell de Moura. The first AM radio factory is opened in 1912.

Theodore Roosevelt

September 14, 1901 - March 4, 1909

Kemah Farm


In 1902, Albert Harris purchased a 140 acre farm from descendants of Captain Israel Williams, and named it Kemah (a Native American word that means "in the face of the wind"), Farm. This was the farm he traveled to in the prairie schooner. The family used the Williams farmhouse until 1938 when it was razed and a new white cottage with a gray shingle roof was built in its place.

Henry Granzow bought grocery store from W.H. Howe

October 6, 1902

First Motorized Aircraft Flies


First manually controlled, fixed wing, motorized aircraft flies at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina by Orville and Wilbur Wright. First modern fixed wing aircraft. Gustave Weisskopf (Whitehead), a German-American immigrant, is credited with motorized aircraft flight in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1901. Flights are witnessed by citizens and other associates and recorded in the Bridgeport Herald, a local newspaper, but were not mentioned in a 1904 article in Scientific American.[212]

Gas Turbine


The first successful gas turbine is invented by Ægidius Elling.

Mahanaim completion and formally opened on the west shore of Williams Bay by George Chaney.

May 1903

Mrs. Elizabeth Boynton Harbert present as speaker.

Jack London - The Sea Wolf


Matisse begins Fauves with Woman With a Hat


Lake Geneva Yacht Club


In 1906, with the membership numbering at more than 100, it built its first clubhouse, leasing property at the tip of the Cedar Point for $500 per year from Kellogg Fairbank. Fairbank had been the club's commodore in 1890 and was the son of the club's first commodore, N. K. Fairbank. The Cedar Point clubhouse was an attractive two- story building with a wide veranda, set among trees. The future seemed promising. Sailing in 1906 was in four classes, designated by size as A, B, C, and D, and the club held some big regattas in those early years, most importantly the Northwestern Regatta Association's events in 1906, 1907, and 1908. In 1906, the regatta attracted more than 50 boats.
A few years later club members registered some concerns about the terms of the lease and by the time it expired in 1916, Mr. Fairbank chose not to renew it. The club was homeless once again, holding races from club member's piers, until club members bought an existing building and property across the lake in Linn Township in 1926.

Barrett Memorial Library


Barrett Memorial Library was established in 1907 by Storrs Barrett

Picasso begins cubism with Les Demoiselles d'Avignon




Leo Baekeland invents bakelite, the first fully synthetic plastic.

Olivet Camp


on of Vice accused her, under the Comstock Law, of sending improper matter through the mails. She hired a lawyer and the case went to trial but she was found guilty and her books banned, forcing her publishing company to close.
The legal fees were so costly she was forced to sell Vrilia Heights. The property was purchased on January 2, 1909 by The Olivet Summer Assembly Association led by Rev.
Norman B. Barr and re-named Olivet Camp.

Ezra Pound - Personae


Williams H. Taft

March 4, 1909 - March 4, 1913

Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring


Woodrow Wilson

March 4, 1913 - March 4, 1921

World War I

1914 - 1918

World War I: On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war with Germany and on December 7, 1917, with Austria-Hungary. Entrance of the United States into the war was precipitated by Germany's submarine warfare against neutral shipping and the Zimmermann Telegram.[RL30172]

D.W. Griffith directs Birth of a Nation


T. Tzara - DADA


Williams Bay Joint District 1 - New Brick School Built

September 1916 - June 3, 2016

For the first time the village had an elementary and high school due to the efforts of Storrs B. Barrett.
In 1915, Vincent School voted to join Joint District No. 1. The same year, the School Board, through the efforts of member Storrs B. Barrett, recognized the need for a high school and the present elementary school building was started. In the fall of 1916, the old school was abandoned, and the elementary, junior high & high school occupied the new brick building, with additions added in the 1950s, 60s & 80s.

Granzow's grocery store becomes Granzow and Petersen Grocery Store


Village of Williams Bay Incorporated


Eighty-three years after Captain Israel Williams founded Williams Bay, the village had to decide whether it should incorporate or not. After much disagreement, the residents of Williams Bay voted 66 to 41 to incorporate the village. At the time of incorporation, the village had a population of 450 and an assessed value of $1,180,000—the highest of any village in Walworth County.

Williams Bay Village Board meets for the first time

November 24, 1919

Water Safety Patrol Established


Geneva Lake Water Safety Patrol was founded in 1920 by Simeon B. Chapin. He, along with other lake residents, saw a need for an organization that was dedicated to spreading the word about the importance of safety through posters and bulletins posted at area beaches. Incidences of drowning were an all too common occurrence on the lake. The first members of the safety patrol were swim instructors who offered free swimming lessons at various locations around the lake.

Williams Bay, Pop. 436



1920 - 1923

Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933. It was promoted by the "dry" crusaders, a movement led by rural Protestants and social Progressives in the Democratic and Republican parties, and was coordinated by the Anti-Saloon League, and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Prohibition was mandated under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Image Sent via Radio Wave


Édouard Belin is the first to send an image via radio waves.

Warren Harding

March 4, 1921 - August 2, 1923

Loch Vista Subdivision Development


In 1922 Loch Vista Subdivision, an A.W. Jensen development, made a fine lakeshore improvement with fine new homes; the owners coming to enjoy summers with us. Next Cedar Point Park, considered one of the most attractive home sites on the lake. There are 456 lots and nearly 150 homes already built, many all year round.

Loch Vista Subdivision


James Joyce - Ulysses


T.S. Eliot - The Waste Land


Old Williams Bay Elementary School Burns Down

September 29, 1922

September 29, 1922 Old Williams Bay Elementary School house burned down

Arnold Schonberg atonal Piano Suite


Calvin Coolidge

August 2, 1923 - March 4, 1929

International School of Surrealism


Cedar Point Park Association


S. Eisenstein - Potemkin


Quartz Clock


The Quartz clock is invented by Warren Marrison and J.W. Horton at Bell Telephone Laboratories.[215]

The Great Depression

1929 - 1939

The Great Depression (1929-39) was the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world. In the United States, the Great Depression began soon after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors.

Herbert Hoover

March 4, 1929 - March 4, 1933

Williams Bay, Pop. 630


William Faulkner - Light in August


Century of Progress, Chicago

1933 - 1934

United States Chicago, United States[40] - Century of Progress International Exposition.

FM Radio


FM radio is patented by inventor Edwin H. Armstrong.

Hitchcock - The 39 Step


Ernest Hemingway - For Whom the Bell Tolls


New Additions