Located On The Shores Of Geneva Lake N2009 S Lake Shore Drive, Lake Geneva, WI 53147 262-248-5680 800-441-5881
The Potawatomi living on this site had permanent lodges; circular domes built upon arched poles. The sides were covered with mats woven from reeds pulled from the marshy lake shore. Large slabs of bark usually formed the roofs. More woven mats covered the floor, and skins and furs hung on the interior walls. With a fire pit in the center that vented to the outside through a hole in the roof, these lodging homes were practical and comfortable, even through the cold winters spent on this eastern shore of Geneva Lake.
The first white man to build a home in this area was A. H. Button. He and his family settled in the early 1850's on land just south of what is now Big Foot Beach State Park. This part of the lake is known as Buttons Bay in his honor.
When the Grandview Restaurant serves a special dish containing clams, it harkens back to some of the earliest meals enjoyed on this spot. The Potawatomi Indians, who had a campsite on these grounds, often dug for clams along the lake's muddy shores, or in its sandy bottom.
The clams were tough back then, not like those served here today, but they were nourishing food, cooked fresh or dried for later. The Potawatomi were good carvers, and used the shells to make beads and decorative ornaments. Many arrowheads were also carved in this area, a fact proven by the flint chips and fragments once found regularly by those walking the lake shore path.
Nearby Big Foot Beach State Park is named after the chief of the Potawatomi Indians, Maunksuck. Literally translated, his name means "Big Foot," and the entire lake was known by early French traders as Big Foot Lake.