Clear Lake History & Beauty all rolled into one!
BY: RACHEL WUMKES
When planning a visit to Clear Lake, a definite excursion to add to your long list of fun activities is a visit to the seawall. Located downtown near City Park, this unique stone wall stands along the shoreline, a charming location for observation and relaxation.
The seawall wasn’t always a staple of our beautiful community, though.
In fact, way back in the early 1900s the space was home to the White Pier Dance Hall. A tornado destroyed the property in August of 1931, around the same time President Roosevelt formed the Works Project Administration. The seawall became a construction development for the WPA and was completed by workers from the Mason City Transient Farm in May of 1936.
The seawall became a popular gathering place for residents and visitors to the area. In 1999, it was extended along the shore, creating four additional blocks and a brick paver sidewalk for strolling along the water.
Over the years, the brutal Iowa winters began to wreak havoc on this beautiful display of craftsmanship. Sections of mortar began to fail, and chunks of the large rocks loosened, falling into the lake. With this architectural masterpiece in disarray, it was clear something needed to be done.
The City of Clear Lake and a slew of concerned citizens were determined to save this cherished piece of history in our community. Architects were called in to analyze the wall, and contractors soon began repairs, restoring it to its natural beauty. It was at this time a committee was formed to begin the process of having the Clear Lake seawall listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This would not only provide the seawall with recognition but assist in the preservation and assure the historic property is protected for years to come.
**UPDATE** Shortly after the 2023 Visitor Guide went to print, we received word that our beloved seawall has officially been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The seawall is a focal point in Clear Lake for many reasons. The obvious, of course, is to prevent erosion and keep the street from eventually falling away. But did you know it’s one of THE BEST places to see our incredible sunsets? During the summer months, hundreds upon hundreds of photos are taken at dusk, capturing the distinct hues of gold and orange as another day ends at the Lake.
It’s also a primo place for selfies, family photos, senior pictures, and more! The seawall creates the perfect backdrop to capture all your favorite moments in life!
And who can pass up a picnic at the water’s edge? A fan favorite from residents and visitors alike is to grab a lunch from one of our fabulous restaurants along Main Avenue and enjoy your bits and bobbles in the fresh air with spectacular views.
So, while you’re here, make sure you add a stop along the seawall to your “must do” list. Take in the craftmanship and beauty of this unique masterpiece. Engulf yourself within the peaceful realm of nature along the shoreline of this scenic community.
**To read more fun stories in our Visitor Guide: Destination Clear Lake, order your copy here.