graphicOn behalf of the Delavan - Delavan Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, welcome to Delavan, Wisconsin. The Delavan - Delavan Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is organized for the purpose of advancing the local business and economic environment and the cultural and civic welfare of the Greater Delavan area.

It is also part of the chamber’s mission to work in unification with other local development groups, and in common effort with our local governments.

The city’s oldest brick building, located at 52 E. Walworth Ave., was built in 1841, and has been acquired by the Chamber of Commerce for their office. It has been used for the Delavan History Museum, a display of historic exhibits depicting Delavan’s rich heritage. The museum has been moved into a specially designed room at the Aram Public Library.

So we invite you to stop in and let us make your visit to our city as memorable and enjoyable as possible.

Give us a call, toll free at 800-624-0052 or visit our website at

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graphicDelavan, with a population of over 11,000 (town and city combined) serves as the focal point for thousands of visitors to the area. It is a clean, friendly place, located in a region of sparkling lakes and rolling Wisconsin farmland. Rustic roads wind through the countryside past ducks and Canadian geese, delicate wildflowers, stately trees and quiet pastures. Delavan is surprisingly different, with a unique circus history, outstanding recreational and educational facilities, prosperous agricultural, commercial and industrial firms and people genuinely proud of their community. Delavan exhibits a cosmopolitan and metropolitan flavor seldom found in smaller cities.







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graphicWhen the land that would become Walworth County was divided by act of the Territorial Legislature on January 2, 1838, the town of Delavan was formed in the southwestern quarter of the county. This region steadily grew around the settlements that are now the towns of Darien, Sharon, Walworth and the present town of Delavan. On February 2, 1846, the town’s borders were permanently established.

Henry Phoenix and Col. Samuel F. Phoenix were the town’s first settlers. They were men of strong principles seeking to start a community pledged to temperance, sobriety and faith. They believed they could build such a town here in the new Wisconsin Territory, which was mostly undeveloped in the early 19th century.

graphicIn May 1836, the brothers began to explore sites in northern Illinois and then southeastern Wisconsin. They found that the lush green hillsides, the ample water supply from Delavan Lake and the rich surrounding soil were perfect for their needs. Thus the town was born.

Delavan has a storied history steeped in circus myths and legends. By the middle of the 19th century, the nation was continuing its westward expansion, bringing circuses from the east to the young territories in the upper Mississippi Valley.

In 1847, Edmund and Jeremiah Mabie, proprietors of the U.S. Olympic Circus - then the largest traveling show in America - chose Delavan for their winter quarters, a year before Wisconsin attained statehood and 24 years before the Ringling Brothers raised their first tents in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The Mabie brothers chose Delavan due to its ability to support the circus horses and other animals. These animals were the most important assets to the 19th century circus, both for transportation and performance. Delavan’s abundant pastures and pure water provided everything the Mabies required. The Mabie Circus stayed at the present site of Lake Lawn Resort on Delavan Lake, where it created a circus dynasty that survived in Wisconsin for the next 100 years.

graphicAs time passed, the circuses grew in strength and numbers; hundreds of clowns and circus performers from over 26 circuses set up their winter quarters in Delavan from 1847 to 1894. The P.T. Barnum Circus, "The Greatest Show On Earth," was founded in Delavan in 1871.

But, as times changed so too did the circus era in Delavan. It came to an end in 1894 when the E.G. Holland Railroad Circus folded its tents. Except for a handful of local performers, who continued the tradition, the circus vanished from the community. Within a generation, the familiar ring barns and circus landmarks were gone. On May 2, 1966, the U.S. Postal Service selected Delavan to issue the five-cent American Circus Commemorative Postage Stamp. Today, more than 150 members of the old Circus Colony are buried in Spring Grove and St. Andrew’s cemeteries.

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graphicThe massive sheet of glacial ice that retreated from Wisconsin over 10,000 years ago carved Delavan Lake out of the native countryside. The spring-fed lake is one of the finest fishing locales in Wisconsin. In fact, a lucky angler once landed a 50lb. Northern Pike here. Recent rehabilitation and restocking of the lake guarantees even more exciting game fishing.

Delavan Lake has it all, 365 days a year. During the mild months, you’re sure to enjoy fishing, sailing, canoeing, swimming, water-skiing, and parasailing. When the weather turns colds, ice fishing, ice-skating, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are sure to please one and all.

graphicLake Lawn Resort

One of the most popular and scenic resorts in the nation, Lake Lawn Resort is synonymous with pleasure and wonderful memories. Nestled among 275 wooded acres along the shoreline of scenic Delavan Lake, the world-class resort is the perfect setting for vacations and business meetings as well.

Since 1888, the tradition of Lake Lawn Resort has been passed from generation to generation. Guestrooms provide the comforts of home, with fireplaces and separate sleeping areas or lofts. The Frontier restaurant serves the best heartland cuisine, a scrumptious Wisconsin Fish Feast, Prime Rib Buffet and Sunday Champagne Brunch. The beautiful golf course, nature walks and a myriad of activities - from the KidZone to the nearby Geneva Lakes Greyhound track - will bring out the kid in everyone.

With everything it has to offer, it’s easy to see why Delavan is the "Destination for All Seasons."

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