St. Germain, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society has announced the listing of the Peacock Inn, St. Germain, Vilas County, in the National Register of Historic Places. National Register designation provides access to certain benefits, including qualification for grants and for rehabilitation income tax credits, while it does not restrict private property owners in the use of their property.
When the log, one-and-one-half story, Peacock Inn was completed in 1930, it was a welcoming roadside stop for the many Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois residents who were in search of good food, relaxation and the chance to catch a big musky during their northwoods vacation. Large muskellunges roamed the lakes of Vilas County and the chance to land one of these demons of the deep would attract fishermen for the ensuing decades.
The Peelen brothers, Joseph and Andrew, recognized that a location along State Highway 70 would offer access to many travelers and tourists. Situated between the highway and the west shores of Fawn Lake, the brothers contracted local builder Joseph C. Zellner to construct a rustic inn. The exterior was built entirely of logs and incorporated elements of the Rustic style. The interior has a beautiful bar constructed of log and bent saplings. The inn was completed in 1930.
In the north woods of Wisconsin, during the early part of the twentieth century, self-taught local builders, who relied on simple tools, timeworn techniques, and native materials, built lodges and cabins for the newly emerging tourist industry. The Rustic style combined relatively inexpensive indigenous materials, with the characteristic composition of the American pioneer cabin and the Adirondack summer homes of New York State. The resulting building complimented the surrounding natural environment. The Peacock Inn is a nostalgic reminder of the early resort era in Wisconsin. It remains today a visible and enduring contributor to the twenty-first century tourist industry of northern Wisconsin.
The register is the official national list of historic properties in America deemed worthy of preservation and is maintained by the National Park Service in the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Wisconsin Historical Society administers the program within Wisconsin. It includes sites, buildings, structures, objects and districts that are significant in national, state or local history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture.
We gratefully acknowledge the Fuldner Heritage Fund which paid for the preparation of this nomination. This endowed fund, created through a generous donation by the Jeffris Family Foundation and administered by the Wisconsin Historical Society, supports the nomination of historically and architecturally significant rural and small town properties.
To learn more about the State and National Register programs in Wisconsin, visit www.wisconsinhistory.org.