Tourism

From the early days, Bayfield’s fresh air and spectacular setting attracted tourists, particularly those seeking relief from the pollen-laden humidity of the Midwest. The hotels were generally located in proximity to the passenger dock on the east pier. The Island View Hotel was located on North First and Washington Avenue on a bluff overlooking the lake. It later expanded across Washington Avenue and a bridge connected the two buildings. Other hotels flourished, such as the La Bonte Hotel (119 North First) and the Bayfield Inn (Rittenhouse Avenue and First Street).

Some summer visitors built homes. No doubt the largest and grandest of the summer “cottages” was built by General Allen Fuller (301 Rittenhouse Avenue), a Midwest asthma sufferer. Passenger excursion boats were busy during the short summer. Many excursionists made use of the “waiting” pavilion at the foot of the pier. But by the 1920s the private automobile and post-war depression closed most of the large hotels. None of these early ones exist today. Now the tourist, the sailing enthusiast, and the sightseer are rediscovering Bayfield and the Apostle Islands.