Vista Del Lago Condominium
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Vista History

A Very Special Complex is Born

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The very first home located on the Vista Del Lago property was built by George Walker in 1884.

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Life as we know it at Vista Del Lago today started during 1966 with the purchase of approximately 14 acres of prime lake front land (400+ feet of lake frontage) on the east end of Lake Geneva from the Cavedo family. The purchase included a home that comprises about one half of the current Recreation Building, the maintenance shed, and the A-frame. There was a small bath house on the heavily wooded property located on the western edge of the current Building One location, plus the far south (short) pier.

The original Vista plan was to construct Building One as a seven story building, but area lake front home owners (including P.K. Wrigley and the Maytag family) fought and won to reject the building of seven stories. That battle caused the construction of Building One to stop in 1966 for a short time then later resumed for completion in 1969. The compromise is what you see today as a two story building.  First Vista owners purchasing units in Building One included the Gomez, Dorner, and Vondra families.

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As Building One was being constructed, the builder contemplated adding an outdoor pool between the areas of Building One and Building Two. The new owners in Buildings One and Two rejected that idea and recommended an outdoor pool be attached to the old house which became the Recreation Center. The pool turned into an indoor pool, hot tub, two saunas, and the addition of two tennis courts once plans were finalized.

The North pier was the first pier to be completed during the same time Building One was under construction. Unit owners of Building One were offered and used two boat slips until additional units were constructed and purchased. The middle and south piers followed during the mid to late 1970s. Sometime during the late 1960s and the early 1970s the common area property (less the individual units) changed hands. Gary Van Brock purchased the property and continued the construction of buildings two through seven, but first completing building five. Construction of buildings two through seven started in 1972 and all were completed in 1973. Buildings ten through thirteen were started in 1974 and completed in 1975. To close the shoe horn buildings eight and nine were also constructed during the years 1974 and 1975.

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The A-Frame was always there from the start, but the building went through renovations to the point of what you see today.

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Buildings 14A through 14E (the Town Homes) were originally going to be constructed as sixteen units (eight on the North side of the property, and eight on the South side of the property.) The city of Lake Geneva shot that idea down and the compromise was the five units we have today. The three town home garages and the five town homes were constructed during the 1977 - 1978 period. Those were the last and final buildings constructed on the Vista property.

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The original driveway consisted of gravel starting from the guard house entrance and ending at Building One. The homeowners finally made the decision to pave the driveway and much of the gravel removed ended up being used to form the stone area down the middle of the courtyard. During the Town Home construction the second entrance off Lake Shore Drive was opened. The final driveway layout we have today soon followed the opening of the second entrance.

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During the construction phase of Vista, Gary Van Brock purchased some land from an Elkhorn, WI farmer for another project. That farmer was Marcel Rathje who consequently ended up as Vista's first on-site manager. Marcel took loving care of Vista from 1975 through the early 1990s. Two other managers (Elliott Los and Mark Heckert) took over until 2002 when our current managers Tony and Jody Panozzo arrived. Tony and son James perform 7x24x365 keeping Vista looking top notch, and Jody has done and continues to do a knock out job keeping the Vista books in order and the budget in line very year.

Ever wonder why the Minutes from monthly meetings has a logo of pine trees? That is because early Homeowners will remember the beautiful sixty five foot two trunked pine tree that adorned the property located right in the middle of the courtyard located between buildings three and four. One fateful night when we had a BIG storm the tree went over, but we keep the vision alive in the letter head. The picture is circa 1978.

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Early life at Vista included a large family atmosphere that brought many of the homeowners together for fun and good times. Past activities included Sunday morning hot (and loud) boat races at 06:00 AM (thanks to the Heads and Duntemans), early year and year end dinner parties at local Lake Geneva restaurants, Homeowners being picked up at the Vista pier by one of the Gage tour boats for a Wrigley fireworks night out, miniature golf outings, and joining the August Venetian boat parade with Vista boats adorned with lights and clever designs.

Vista has had some notable homeowners. Included on the list was Cook County sheriff James O'Grady and WGN talk show host Forest Tucker rented at Vista for a season.

Our property (one of a kind on Lake Geneva) has seen many changes though the years. It is a special spot on this Earth.

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