Header Image for Historic Homes and Places




Blooming Grove Town Hall

Fair Oaks Village Hall

Hiestand School

Lowell Elementary School

Nichols School

St. Bernard's Church

Spring Haven Pagoda


Frank Allis Farm

Nathaniel Dean Home

Femrite Farms

George Kalbfleish Farm

George Nichols Farm

Fred Schleuter Farm

William Schultz Farm

William Witte Round Barn



Chet Clarke House

Philo Dunning House

Charles Fix House

Knute Reindahl House

Simeon Mills House

Edward Riley House

John Sachs House

Otto Schroeder House

Stang-Wirth House

Alexander Smith House

Cora Cadwallader Tuttle


Adolph Wagner House

Walterscheit House


Eastwood Theater

Ernie's Trading Post

Schlitz Hotel

Tonyawatha Springs Hotel


French Battery & Carbon Co.

Hoffman-Kennedy Dairy

Horse Barn

Madison-Kipp Co.

United States Sugar Co.


Black Bridge

Interurban Trolley

Royal Airport

Back to Index

Back to Town of Blooming Grove

Photograph of Tonyawatha Springs Hotel

4300-4500 Winnequah Road

One of the grandest structures to grace Monona's lakeshore was the Tonyawatha Springs Hotel. This hotel and resort complex sprawled over land that is now the 4300 through 4500 blocks of Winnequah Road. Because it was destroyed by fire in 1895, few persons remember the resort hotel and its surrounding attractions. However, there do remain pictures and descriptions that take one back to another century, when not only the view and water for recreation were valuable assets, but also natural spring water was exploited as a tourist attraction. In its earliest presettlement days around 1830 this land was occupied by Winnebago Indians who were attracted to it by a natural spring. The Indians called this spring "Gat-che-waukee", while the white men called it "Tonyawatha". In either case the words meant "healing water", for it was said that many people were mysteriously cured through the use of this water. In 1879 Dr. William H. Jacobs, the owner of the Park Hotel in Madison, decided this land was a suitable place to build a summer resort. He probably speculated that the spring and its renowned curative powers would add to the attractiveness of the beautiful setting on the bluff. The resort formally opened on July 9, 1879, and eventually consisted of many buildings, including separate guest cottages. A gazebo-like structure with a bottling house was built over the spring, and a small band pavilion stood on the bluff. A separate building housed a billiard room and bowling alleys. A light "ornamental Swiss design" was chosen for the two-storied frame hotel. The central portion contained a dining hall, office and reception room on the first floor, with parlors and ladies' drawing room on the second level. A veranda surrounded the entire building. Although it was quite a drive by horse-drawn carriage from Madison to the hotel, the guests were not out of touch with the city. The hotel had one of the first telephones in the area, with a direct line to the Park Hotel across the lake; and mail was delivered by boat. Madisonians could board a steam yacht for 20 cents round trip and be transported across Lake Monona to the hotel and later enjoy dancing on the grounds. Tourists from as far away as St. Louis, Kansas City, Louisville and Chicago traveled by rail to Madison and were summer regulars at this resort, escaping the heat of the larger cities. At eight o'clock on the evening of July 31, 1895, a fire broke out in the hotel and spread quickly through the building, completely destroying it within two hours. Amazingly, no one was injured in the blaze, but 50 people lost their belongings.

Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society