Pewaukee {Historic} Walking Tours

It is no secret. I adore Pewaukee. I spend most of my summer days at Pewaukee Beach, and shopping + supporting all things downtown Pewaukee from shopping to dining! But did you also know that Pewaukee has self-guided + educational walking tour? (or you could drive) Check it out!

Pewaukee {Historic} Walking Tours • The Lake Country Mom

Pewaukee {Historic} Walking Tours • The Lake Country Mom

Historic Downtown Pewaukee

Pewaukee {Historic} Walking Tours

1. Asa Clark House

206 E.Wisconsin Ave.; 1844

This Greek Revival was built by the son of Asa Clark, the first white settler to the area. It once served as a hotel on Watertown Plank Road [now Wisconsin Avenue). The home is currently the community’s museum.

2. Charles Schumann Home 209 Clark St.; circa 1889

This home of a German immigrant, is the only house in Pewaukee built of native Pewaukee Limestone and was built with hand tools by the owner.

3. Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church 202 Clark St.; 1894

Parishioners and $740 built this church and carriage house, which became the Town Hall in 1950 when the congregation moved to the new church on Prospect Avenue (Clarks former apple orchard] and today the building serves as the V.F.W. Hall.

4. Brandt’s Grocery
346 Oakton Ave.; circa mid tolate1800’s

Among other things, over the years this building served as carpenter and boat shop, broom factory, printing company, saloon, and currently a retail gift shop. But many people remember it as Brandt’s Grocery where you got a free bag of candy if you paid your monthly bill on time!

5. Peter Larson House 322 Oakton Ave.;
circa mid to late 1800’s

Mister Larson was the first Mason to arrive in the area and built this lovely home over 100 years ago, complete with arched windows, mansard roof and a porthole window signifying he haled from Denmark – a seafaring nation.

6. McDowell – O’Neill Home
316 Oakton Ave.; circa 1870’s

In 1901, the site of this charming cafe was the location where hardware store proprietor, Sherman McDowell, organized the first telephone service for Pewaukee – rates for subscribers were $1.00 a month for farm and party lines, $1.25 for private residential lines, and $1.50 for a commercial phone.

7. Methodist Church
302 Oakton Ave.; 1870

The church, with its 15 inch walls and large oak beams, cost $4,000 to erect – over fifty times the cost of the land purchased from original settler Asa Clark. After 90 years, the church moved and the building became the library. In the fall of 2005 the library moved to a new location, and the future of this wonderful old building is unknown.

8. Masterson – Rombough Home 237 Oakton Ave.; circa 1880’s

Thomas Materson, Scandinavian immigrant who operated a lime kiln nearby, built the original tall, narrow, steep-roofed house. The stucco and block style porch was added by J. Rombough.

9. Rombough Grocery
235 Oakton Ave.; circa late 1800’s

A typical retail blockhouse structure with false front, this store was covered with galvanized sheet iron with an embossing to simulate bricks.

10.Odd Fellow’s Hall
227 Oakton Ave.; 1876

The three links pictured in the relief on the building signify friendship, love, and truth. This hall was Pewaukee’s social center for many years, and was the setting for plays, concerts, graduations, dances, and public meetings. The lodge rooms were housed on the second floor.

H.Caldwell Store
215 Oakton Ave.; circa mid to late 1800’s

Justice of the Peace, Alexander Caldwell, arrived in Pewaukee in 1843. Eventually his grocery store occupied this building with his office in back and a temporary home for the library on the second floor. The building was remodeled in 1905. Alexander’s sister, Margaret, became the first woman doctor in the county and one of the first in the state. Grandson, Robert Shaw, spent most of his grade-school years in Pewaukee and eventually became famous as a screen writer for movies and television. (He wrote the infamous “Who Shot J.R” episode of TV’s “Dallas.”)

12. First Water Works
214 Oakton Ave.; 1929

Goodbye outhouses, and hello inside plumbing! This classic little reminder of modern conveniences, is now the home of Pewaukee’s Chamber of Commerce.

13. Frank Garret’s Harness Shop
210 Oakton Ave.; circa late 1800’s

Frank took over the harness, furniture, and saddlery business and added the second story years later.

14. The bridge abutments on the river at Oakton Ave.

If you look upstream past 121 Oakton Ave., you will see evidence of the railroad bridge abutments. This spur ran from the main line to the Savoy Ice House at the lakefront.

15. Savoy Court

Take a peek down tiny Savoy at the old feed mill and implement sales company and note the preserved tin siding.

16. Pewaukee State Bank
101 W. Wisconsin Ave.; 1914

This plain brick building housed the bank on the main floor, with the second floor rented to a dentist, and Bell Telephone Company, which had 300 customers. The hair dresser and barber had businesses in the basement.

17.Rexal Pharmacy
117 W. Wisconsin Ave.; circa 1900

Built around the turn of the century, in 1917 the building was altered by combining it with the little galvanized sheet iron building next door that formerly served as the post office. The owner rented the part of the newly formed building that wasn’t used for the pharmacy for offices, and the basement housed the “Canteen” – an ice cream parlor.

18.The Owl Theatre
119 W. Wisconsin Ave.; 1914

The theater was named in a contest, and in the past there was an archway that said “Mutual Movies” over a ticket booth sided by two entrances. Two clocks at the entrance indicated show times for the 100 seat theater. A local pianist accompanied the movies. In 1928 it was remodeled for use as Alton’s Grocery Store, which operated long into the 20th century.

19. The Beach Front Wisconsin Ave.

When Pewaukee first became a thriving community, the lakefront was dotted with harness shops, boat building businesses, a granary, and icehouses. At one time a bowling alley was added, and a pub or two. Today it flourishes as a retail center, and the reconstructed train depot serves as a location for free concerts, ski shows, and events on the waterfront.

20. Main Street Blocks
•The Zaun Hotel 100 Main St. –

built originally by the proprietor of a successful steamboat business on Pewaukee Lake, as the Heath Hotel in 1847 to accommodate 50 guests. The popular “steamboat” architecture, filigree arches and balustrades were added.

•American Legion Hall;
118 Main St.; 1929

A typical example of a hall of the era. •Masonic Temple – 126 Main St.; 1923 A Classic temple style architecture.
•Baptist Church – 175 Main St.; 1859 & 1875 parsonage (to the west).The church’s bell tower was used for many years as a “town crier” announcing curfew, meetings, fires, services at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and on July 4th. The bell tolled the WWI Armistice.

1950’s – TheHeyday of Cinema 121 Park Ave.; circa 1950’s

Although serving new purposes today, you can still see the original marqueed movie

theater architecture that made this cinema a typical example of its era.

22. The Athenaeum
145 Park Ave.; 1905

This building constructed of natural Pewaukee stone, was once the cultural center of the area. It contained a bowling alley, billiard table, bath houses, and refreshment areas. The stage on the second floor was used for recitals, lyceum programs, plays, and graduations.

See the attached PDF to print off and take along or just open it up on your mobile device: HERE. 

You can learn more about Pewaukee, from our friends at Positively Pewaukee, HERE

Positively Pewaukee • The Lake Country Mom

If you happen to go and check it out or have been, we would love to see your pictures!

We love you, Lake Country!


  1. Rose Jones says

    I was born and raised in Pewaukee. Moved away before Pewaukee became a city and before the downtown area was renovated. I still love coming back every now and then to visit.

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