Swan Park Revitalization Championed By Historical Society

(Beaver Dam) Beaver Dam’s Swan Park has evolved quite a bit since taking root in the late 1800s and a local historian is doing what he can to see the tradition continue. The Dodge County Historical Society held a special event in Swan Park over the weekend, as the city of Beaver Dam begins a multiphase project to revitalize the city’s first park.

Historical Society President Patrick Lutz was at one of the history-themed stations in the park Saturday, detailing the storied past of what was initially called Vita Park and later Swan City Park. Lutz was also at a public meeting hosted by the city on Thursday discussing revitalization and how best to restore the aging lagoon area that is part of Phase One.

Lutz says he likes the idea of the naturalizing of the lagoon, returning it how it was when it was first developed by Dr. Swan. He notes that Beaver Dam is all about water and the park’s natural spring complements Beaver Dam Lake and the river.

Over the years, Vita Park evolved from a private spa capitalizing on the area’s natural springs to a city-owned park named after the resort’s founder Dr. George Swan. Several amenities were added over the years, including the park’s band shell, which he says was modeled after the Hollywood Bowl in California and Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Lutz says Hollywood celebrities were among the guests in the bandshell, which back then had water features highlighted by majestic colored fountains. Little ponds that Lutz describes as being in front of the band shell that had illuminated water sprays that were coordinated with the music.

For the park’s revitalization, city officials are hoping to maximize taxpayer dollars with grants and private donations. Pat Lutz and his wife Diane donated $10-thousand dollars to the park, which holds a sentimental place in their hearts.

He says it was the spring house in the park that made him join the Historical Society back in the 80’s, when he and his wife moved to the area. The Vita Spring Pavilion was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Anyone looking to learn more about the history of Beaver Dam, or Swan Park can do so by contacting the Dodge County Historical Society at 920-887-1266 or visiting dodgecountyhistoryDOTorg.


Listen to our conversation with the Dodge County Historical Society here: