- Lake Mohawk was originally designed as a resort community
Believe it or not, Sparta was primarily a vacation spot where most residents only lived in the summer. The homes were later winterized in the 1940s. As in the picture depicted above, much of the land surrounding the country club was undeveloped, and cars would park on the grass where the Lake Mohawk Tennis Club is today and walk across to the lake.
2. The Wisconsin Glacier was responsible for creating all natural rivers and streams
Remember, not all bodies of water in Sparta were formed from this glacier, only the *naturally occurring* ones.
3. Krough's was originally known as The Sagamore Restaurant
Mind-blowing, isn't it? Our favorite restaurant without its iconic name! Shortly after it was opened, The Sagamore Restaurant was known as the Sagamore Inn
4. White Deer Plaza was named after Princess White Deer and her tribe.
An actual photo of Princess White Deer (circa 1891-1992) in the Lake Mohawk Country Club. Princess White Deer was a Native American dancer and singer of the Mohawk tribe who toured Europe, the United States and South Africa as apart of The Family Deer Brothers, a family stage act.
5. Delivery trucks used to drive across the lake to transport goods
In the 1950s, few residents lived on the lake year-round. When the lake froze over and the hills became too treacherous for delivery trucks to maneuver, they drove across the frozen lake to make quick deliveries to the residents.
6. The first official building in Sparta was the Presbyterian Church
It was incorporated into the town in 1786 by Robert Ogden, who is buried there along with with his wife.
7. Mohawk Avenue School still has a bomb shelter
Interestingly enough, the Mohawk Avenue School still has a bomb shelter from the Cold War. However, students are not permitted access, and many are not aware of it to begin with.
8. There is a sunken plane in the bottom of Lake Mohawk
This may be the most chilling of all facts… In the 1930s, a Lake Mohawk architect and his family were living on a seaplane on the lake. The lake sunk after a fire, and the family was able to escape by boat and out of the burning plane. In the 1990s, an Italian team was called to uncover the plane, but reported that the wreck was too deteriorated to be properly recovered.
9. “Winona Parkway” is not just a street name
Today, we think of the entrance to the lake when we hear “Winona Parkway” mentioned in conversation. However, Winona Parkway was originally the name of the movie theatre that resided there in the 1950s. Today, the Sparta Movie Theatre is above the parkway on top of the hill, underground below Panera Bread.
10. SHS was originally a cow pasture!
Quoted directly from the SHS website under “History of SHS”, “there were cows on the athletic fields. In fact it was the job of two history teachers, Dick Cassels and Herb Orel, to chase them off the field every third period.” Could you imagine?
Hopefully you learned something new about our town!