Experience the history of the Circus Town of Delavan Wisconsin as authored by Patricia Ruth-Marsicano.
Delavan Lake, formerly known as Swan Lake, was once heavily wooded along its banks and flanked further north by prairies and groves of oaks. Eventually, the banks of the lake would become home to many seasonal dwellings, which sprang up as summertime moved Delavan residents out of town and to the lake in order to escape the heat. By the 1880s, Delavan had become a popular tourist destination and dozens of resorts were built to accommodate visitors. Ultimately, steamers and excursion boats with daily schedules were added to the lake for sightseeing and ease of movement between resorts. This additional influx of people needed entertainment, giving birth to Delavan’s ballroom era, which lasted until 1960.