buildings of the week – lithia spring and resthaven hotel
Lithia Spring was owned by James K. Anderson, who was also the owner of Arcadian Springs and eventually the Resthaven Hotel. The spring was located north of the Arcadian along Hartwell Avenue. In 1982, half of the interest in the company was sold to Eliphalat Remington (grandson of the founder of Remington Firearms), Joseph Leiter, and others. In June 1892 improvements to the Spring were begun, and by the end of the year carloads of Lithia Spring water products were being shipped.
Promotional materials, such as the above Waukesha Lithia Spring Company Trade Card, circa 1900, were circulated. The outside of the card pictures a Waukesha-Lithia bottle, and the inside has a description of the spring and the health benefits of drinking its water.
In 1905 the extravagant Resthaven Hotel was built atop a nearby hill to serve visitors of the springs. The hotel offered a full range of recuperative and therapeutic activities including curative baths, a swimming pool, gymnasium and solarium. Golf, tennis, and other lawn games were also available. The furnishings were extravagant, and it was seen as the logical hotel to replace the Fountain Spring house, which closed the same year Resthaven was built. Currently, it is considered to be the grandest remaining resort structure in Waukesha. 1
Key Project Information
Address: 915 N Hartwell Avenue
Year Built: 1905
Year of Waukesha Local Landmarks Designation: 1980
National Register of Historic Places Designation: 1983
Architectural Style: Classical Revival
Architect: John H. Foster & Sons
Historical Use: Hotel, sanitarium
Current Use: Bible Institute
In April of 1920, the Lithia bottling plant lots were sold to the Modern Woodworking Company and the Lithia reception house property was sold to the Veteran’s Administration. In January 1921, the Waukesha Lithia Spring Company was dissolved and soon the springhouse, reception house, and bottling plant were torn down. The Resthaven Hotel became a veteran’s hospital, and later a tuberculosis hospital. In 1963 the building was sold to New Tribes Bible Institute, and was designated a local landmark in 1980. 2
1 Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Resthaven Hotel, Waukesha, Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Reference Number 16807. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Content.aspx?dsNav=Ny:True,Ro:0,N:4294963828-4294963814&dsNavOnly=Ntk:All%7cLITHIA+SPRING%7c3%7c,Ny:True,Ro:0&dsRecordDetails=R:HI16807&dsDimensionSearch=D:RESTHAVEN+HOTEL,Dxm:All,Dxp:3&dsCompoundDimensionSearch=D:RESTHAVEN+HOTEL,Dxm:All,Dxp:3