Lakeside House
Lakeside House
Wisconsin Historical Society Image ID: WHi 25114

Henry Turvill sold off a portion of his property in 1854 to George Delaplaine and Elisha Burdick, two early Madison real estate speculators. They built on the site a healing resort called the Water Cure which was opened in 1855. This combination hospital - spa - resort provided various forms of hydrotherapy, a newly developing medical treatment advertized to provide relief from many medical conditions. The building had steam heat and hot and cold running water which was quite rare for most buildings at the time. The Water Cure fell into financial failure after just two years and closed in 1857. 

For most of the next nine years the Water Cure sat vacant. Then in 1866, Delaplaine and Burdick came back to the property. They refurbished the former Water Cure as a summer resort hotel and renamed it Lakeside House. It became Madison's first successful resort hotel. Guests came from large southern cities such as St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans. Largely they came to escape the summer heat and humidity that was so common in the southern part of the Midwest. In August of 1877 Lakeside House burned to the ground and was not rebuilt.

Note: Historical data for this document was obtained from the internet and from the following sources:

"Reuben Gold Thwaites Papers, 1843 - 1960" located in the Archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

"Madison A History of the Formative Years" by David V. Mollenhoff

"Madison: The Illustrated Sesquicentennial History, Volume 1" by Stuart D. Levitan