Atwater Park Pavillion

Shorewood, Wisconsin, USA

Demolished 1987

The Disappointed Tourist: Atwater Park Bathing Pavilion, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Atwater Park Pavilion Bathhouse was designed by Shorewood resident architect Henry C. Hengels at Atwater Beach on Lake Michigan during the Great Depression as part of the Works Projects Administration’s efforts to create work for the unemployed. It was demolished in 1987. The painting is based on an old postcard.

As a child in the 1950s-early 1960s, my friends and I would spend many summer days at the Lake Michigan beach. There were changing facilities, snacks for sale, and bathrooms available, plus you could go onto the roof of the building for sitting, picnicking, etc. We spent many fun-filled hours at the beach, and it was so nice to have these facilities available! I don’t remember when it was torn down, but now there’s nothing at the beach – no place to change, no place to buy food or drink, and only “porta-potties.” I believe in the 1940s they even had dances up on the roof, but that was over before “my” time at the beach. I think it was a shame to destroy this building! Jovanka R