Oconomowoc’s Village Green was once home to a grand hotel that backed up to Fowler Lake and promised its guests unparalleled service.
Opened in 1916 by Charles Draper (whose grandfather ran Oconomowoc’s famous Draper Hotel in the 1880s), the Majestic Hotel took its name from a prominent establishment in New York City.
Billed as “Newly Furnished” and “Modern Thruout” [sic] in a 1918 automotive blue book of driving tours, Oconomowoc’s Majestic offered rooms either with or without baths. A 1921 business directory called it “a perfectly appointed hotel with superior service” and listed that rooms started at $1.50 per night.
Guests entered the lobby through a glass veranda and could enjoy live music on the second-floor balcony overlooking downtown. A 1927 ad boasted: “Boating, bathing, fishing, and golfing. Private bathing beach. Coffee room in hotel featuring waffles, toasted sandwiches, and A La Carte orders. Open day and evening.”
Millionaire businessman John Beggs, president of Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company, who created the 6-acre estate known as Begg’s Island on Lac La Belle in 1911, was a frequent visitor. Every day at 7 a.m., his chauffeur drove him to the Majestic Hotel where he would read the paper and eat breakfast.
The building changed owners and names many times over the ensuing years, until it was eventually condemned and razed in 1975.