Green Lake is known for being a tourist destination for many families dating back to the 1860s.
It continues to be a must-see place for many families around the nation. The first resort to open up in Green Lake was the Oakwood Hotel.
While the hotel was damaged by a fire in the 1920s and never repaired, and a lodge was demolished in 2012, the Greenway House Bed and Breakfast honors Oakwood’s historical past.
The Oakwood Hotel was the first hotel to become native to the city of Green Lake in 1867, making it the first resort to open west of the Niagara Falls.
It was opened by David Greenway, of which the Greenway House in present day Green Lake is named after.
With originally 35 acres, the Oakwood Hotel started out hosting a maximum of 75 guests, but eventually built its way up to hosting 300 guests per night.
It also included lakefront property and a vineyard.
“Everyone knew what and where it was,” Dartford Historical Society President Larry Behlen said. “The Oakwood Hotel was the very first resort for Green Lake, before the city was even called Green Lake.”
In 1905, the rate of stay per night was $7 per guest. Many cottages were added later on as tourism began ramping up.
In the 1950s in Green Lake, there were not many hotels or resorts left that still contained the rustic feel.
Most of the new resorts that had taken over were no longer made of wood like Oakwood Hotel.
As an entrepreneur, Greenway was successful with the Oakwood Hotel throughout his life.
Greenway was born in England in 1826. He stayed in England until 1835, when he and his parents traveled to America.
It was not until 1850 that Greenway made his way to Wisconsin.
Greenway continued working at Oakwood Hotel until 1890, when he retired and lived the rest of his life in the Greenway House, a large white house kitty corner of the lodge.
In 2012, the Oakwood Lodge was demolished and nothing but rubble remained. The lodge has been the sight of a bed and breakfast during the 1970s to 1990s. At one point, it is believed that the lodge was a place for Greenway's friends to stay in the late 1800's
The Greenway House, which is kitty corner from the former site of the lodge, was remodeled as a bed and breakfast in 2016 and named after its original owner.
Each of the rooms in the Greenway House is named after the most accomplished resorts in Green Lake in the 1880s.
Some of the names include Deacon Mills, which also is the name of Green Lake’s downtown park; Oakwood, the largest room in the B&B named after the Oakwood Hotel; and Dartford, which was the city’s name prior to becoming Green Lake.
“The Greenway House Bed and Breakfast honors David Greenway and what he did,” Behlen said.
The Greenway House Bed and Breakfast has a wrap-around porch providing historic elegance, as well as modernized amenities.
The current owners, Candace and Paul Hindson, are chefs who specialize in breakfast, which is what the Oakwood Lodge was well known for in the past.