Architecture buffs will be saddened to learn that Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo is celebrating 100 years by destroying part of that history. Much of the unique interior of its south shore pavilion, the Chateau, has been remodeled.
It featured an eclectic and charming blend of American Craftsman and 1930s Art Moderne, a direct link to the park's Civilian Conservation Corps past, with candy-counter-style displays and a long, curved luncheon counter framed with broad stripes of rose and onyx, trimmed with chrome.
Park superintendent Steve Schmelzer says the Department of Natural Resources wanted Devil's Lake to look more like a national park. While the design is now more generic, he adds that new plumbing and fixtures necessitated the remodeling.
"It would be nicer to have it closer to the old-time big-band-era venue it used to be," says Robert Moore, author of the new book Devil's Lake, Wisconsin and the Civilian Conservation Corps. However, he's not troubled by the update.
Happily, at least some of the tubular chrome chairs and matching tables have been retained at the park's south shore shelter.
"I'm guessing that eventually they might also be replaced," says Schmelzer.