Geneva Lake

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Geneva Lake
Williams Bay, Wisconsin 042.jpg
Location Walworth County, Wisconsin,
United States
Coordinates 42°35′24″N 88°26′06″W / 42.59000°N 88.43500°W / 42.59000; -88.43500Coordinates: 42°35′24″N 88°26′06″W / 42.59000°N 88.43500°W / 42.59000; -88.43500
Basin countries United States
Max. length 12 km (7.5 mi)
Surface area 21.17 km2 (8.17 sq mi)
Average depth 19.1 m (62.7 ft)
Max. depth 44m (144 ft)
Settlements Lake Geneva, Fontana-on-Geneva-Lake, Williams Bay

Geneva Lake is a body of freshwater in Walworth County in southeastern Wisconsin. On its shores are the city of Lake Geneva, and the villages of Fontana-on-Geneva-Lake, and Williams Bay.

The lake covers an area of approximately 8.14 square miles (21.1 km2), has a maximum length of 7.5 miles (12 km), mean depth of 62.7 feet (19.1 m) and a maximum depth of 144 feet (44 m). Geologists believe that it is a filled-in kettle formed from a receding glacier.


The lake and the community of Lake Geneva were named for the town of Geneva, New York, located on Seneca Lake, which government surveyor John Brink thought it resembled.[1] To avoid confusion with the nearby town of Geneva, Illinois, the city was renamed Lake Geneva; later the lake was renamed Geneva Lake.[citation needed]

Lakeshore attractions include Big Foot Beach State Park, Lake Geneva Yacht Club, the George Williams College campus of Aurora University, and Yerkes Observatory. The observatory is owned by the University of Chicago, which has established a study group to plan a regional center for science education at the observatory.[2]

Public access to the lake is allowed as the result of a decision by early European settlers that "20 feet of land leading up to the shoreline should be public domain."[3][4][5] A shorepath, which is open to the public, completely surrounds the lake.[3][4][5] Between 21[4][5] and 26[3] miles long, it follows the route taken by Potawatomi Indians.[3] The path crosses the estates of the Schwinns, Swifts, Wackers, and Wrigleys.[3]


  1. ^ "A short history of Geneva Lake". University of Lake Geneva. 2003. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  2. ^ "Yerkes Study Group formed to consider observatory’s future". University of Chicago. 2007. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Timothy J. Tuomey and Magdalene Wise Tuomey (August 28, 1988). "A Hike Around Lake Geneva Is A Walk For All Seasons". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  4. ^ a b c "Geneva Lake Shorepath Walk". Lake Geneva Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-08-06. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  5. ^ a b c "Walk, Hike, or Run on the Lake Geneva Lake Shore Path". The Downtown Lake Geneva Business Improvement District. Archived from the original on 2013-07-31. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 

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