Pelican Lake Hotel
745 US Highway 45, Town of Schoepke, Oneida County
Date of construction: 1928
Builder: Susedik Construction Company
The Pelican Lake Hotel has always had a significant presence in the unincorporated community of Pelican Lake. The strategically sited hotel is not only on the shore of the 3500 acre Pelican Lake, but also, when it was built, it was across the street from the railroad depot (since razed). Later, the modern road brought people to the hotel by automobile.
The current hotel replaced an earlier building on the site. The original 1898 Beach Hotel was a large three-story frame building, complete with a wraparound veranda on all four sides, gabled dormers and an open bell tower. It was the first resort built on Pelican Lake. In 1912, new owners undertook a dramatic remodeling and updating and renamed it the Hotel Pelican. Besides adding electricity and indoor plumbing, they drastically altered the front of the hotel. The veranda was removed and replaced with a brick façade starting at ground level. However, the frame building behind the brick façade remained the same.
Calamity struck in 1926 when a huge fire swept through the village and destroyed most of the buildings. The brick façade was all that remained of the Hotel Pelican. Frank Susedik, with his daughter Mary and her husband Fred Chermak, bought the property the year after the fire. They built a commercial brick hotel on the same foundations as the 1898 Beach Hotel and they began operation in May of 1928. They called their new business the Pelican Lake Hotel.
The Pelican Lake Hotel reflects the important role that hotels played in small and large downtowns. The first hotel on the site had been a large Queen Anne building. Located across the street from the railroad station, it had the feel of a large domestic building. As the building evolved into the current all brick Pelican Lake Hotel, it acquired a greater commercial appearance and commercial presence in the downtown. The new building had an urban feel, having the appearance of a business block. Its commercial impact in the downtown was greater than the lodging provided by the hotel. The new building took on storefront business functions; a small grocery and meat market operated out of the building. This business, as well as the hotel bar had a separate public entrance on the street elevation. The bar was a gathering place for the locals as well as the hotel guests. The hotel also operated a restaurant that was open to the public. In the small downtown, this building had a major commercial presence.
The hotel, closed for a time, has reopened under new owners.