Oconomowoc"the Newport of the West"was a summer home and tourist destination for Milwaukee, Chicago, and St. Louis families of prominence from the 1870s through the 1930s. Names like Pabst, Miller, Armour, and Ward built sprawling mansions along the shores of Lac La Belle. They arrived by train every summer to Oconomowoc's stone railroad depot, a popular restaurant today, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to local lore, there were 97 millionaires living in the Oconomowoc area during this era of opulence. The lavish living began to wane in the 1930s and drew to a close as a result of World War II, after which Oconomowoc was transformed into a hub of commerce and industry.
About the Author
Journalist and writer Mary A. Kane is an Oconomowoc native who began her journalism career at the Oconomowoc Enterprise during her junior year at Oconomowoc High School. Kane edited the Oconomowoc High School Reflections yearbook for three successive years and has since worked for several daily newspapers as a staff reporter and freelance writer.