Our History at The Waters

The Waters Oshkosh is the home of the Oshkosh Yacht Club (OYC) and a great venue for any kind of event. The Waters has been around for many years and has a lot of interesting and fun history about it. Anytime someone is new to the area and comes to tour our venue, we get the question, “This place is absolutely beautiful, what is the history behind it?” We can’t help but give a short story, but there’s so much more to know than that. People who rent out the building love to see all the historical photos around the building. So what exactly is the history of this beautiful property?

The Waters Oshkosh was originally designed for the Oshkosh Yacht Club in 1903. A local architect, William Waters, designed and built the building in a short 3 month time span. William Waters has designed and built many historical buildings in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and are known for their charm and mansion-like architecture around the city. One can find many of his builds elsewhere in the fox valley area in Wisconsin. Waters became attracted to the Oshkosh area because of its history of fires that started in 1859. He then moved to Oshkosh in 1867 and lived in the area until 1917. In the span of 50 years, Waters created a city full of renowned desire. 

The Oshkosh Yacht Club started out gaining members in 1869. The Yacht Club was started so lake schooners and cutters could add formality to informal competition between commercial vessels on the lake. In 1903, the Oshkosh Yacht Club building was built. Summer Regattas were coordinated with other cities on the lake and other inland lakes to host a yacht competition on Lake Winnebago. Regattas were then a huge summer social event that was attended by many along with press and newspaper journalists to catch a glimpse of what the Oshkosh Regatta entailed.

What is known now as “The Waters” building was lost to the City of Oshkosh on two occasions due to failure to pay property taxes during wars and hard financial times. The American Legion owned the land of the building and the harbor until 2007. Throughout many years, Oshkosh sailors waited for the homecoming of buying the OYC building back in hopes of rebuilding and enhancing the harbor for decades to come. 

In 2008, OYC members purchased the property and renamed it, “The Waters,” after the original owner, William Waters. The original building was restored and renovated to its original state and charm with modern capabilities to adapt to new times. Not only is the building used for the Yacht Club, but it is also Wisconsin’s Premier Waterfront Venue on Lake Winnebago. 

Many weddings and events were then planned at The Waters starting in 2008 and have continued to be beautiful as years have passed. People who have toured The Waters have noticed its wonderful elegance and history just by looking at the building. On the outside, the lovely white Nantucket-looking architecture was completely restored as well as the elegant feel on the inside of the building which makes for a great venue for many kinds of events. The Waters has the unforgettable waterfront which cannot be underestimated as it quite literally brings chills to your skin (especially in the winter months). 

Not only is the building quite exceptional, but so is the staff. At The Waters, we understand that exceptional service is one of the most important qualities to have at a place like we have. We will bring you and your party the best service with the best people. If you’re planning an event and would like to host it at our venue, don’t hesitate to contact us. We have onsite event coordinators and managers to help with any questions you may have. We hope you love our venue as much as we do at Wisconsin’s Premier Waterfront Venue. 

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Email, message, or call us:

Email: [email protected]

Message us from our website: https://thewatersoshkosh.com/contact-us/

Call us: (920) 231-6800

Photographer Credits: Abigail Miles Photography (2020)