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Geneva Lake Museum

255 Mill Street
Lake Geneva, WI 53147

262-248-6060

History:
About 10,000 years ago climate change caused the retreat of an enormous glacier that covered much of the northern portion of this continent. One lobe of that glacier had carved out a broad valley in what is now southern Wisconsin.  As the glacier melted back it left large deposits of soil and rock that it had scraped off the surface on its advance. It also produced a huge amount of water that formed rivers and, in the deeper basins, lakes. At that time Geneva, Delavan and Como Lakes were probably all part of the same glacial outflow system, but soil deposits and receding water levels eventually formed them into separate lakes.

As the climate warmed, humans gradually moved back into the area. By 1000 A.D. an agriculture-based group known as the Oneota populated much of southern Wisconsin. By 1600 most of the Oneota had been driven out by migrating hunter and warrior tribes. By the time European settlers first discovered the lake in 1831, the Potawatami tribe had established a substantial village on the west end of the lake in what is now Fontana and another smaller one in what is now the City of Lake Geneva.

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