Wisconsin Dells

Lake Delton Wisconsin


Lake Delton has become a sight-seeing attraction even when there is no "lake" in Lake Delton. Streams of people are continually walking down to the Hwy 12 bridge that goes over the part of the lake where the Tommy Bartlett Show was performed.

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lake delton

This is the view of Lake Delton from the Hwy 12 bridge.

lake delton

In this shot you can see the ski jumps that were used by the Tommy Bartlett Shwo.

lake delton


This motel is right on Lake Delton near the Tommy Bartlett show.

lakeside motel

Empty Lake Delton means an empty Motel.


This picture was taken from the East Adams Street Bridge.

East Adams Street

Here is a view of the Adams Street Boat Launch, from the bridge.

east adams boat launch

lake delton

walking on lake delton

This is the view from the opposite side of the East Adams Street Bridge.

lake delton

This picture of Lake Delton was taken from Canyon Road.

lake delton

Canyon Road

This picture shows the breach in Lake Delton as it washed away Highway A. This is taken from Hwy A on the South side. There is a series of pictures as the camera pans from West to East.

breach in Lake Delton

lake delton

Lake Delton at  Highway A

Lake Delton at  Highway A

Lake Delton at  Highway A

The picture below shows one of the houses destoryed by the flood waters. This was one of the houses that did not have flood insurance because of the decisions of the City of Lake Delton.

house washed away

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Village spokesman, Tom Diehl said that Lake Delton will not be refilled this year. A temporary dam project will redirect the water flow to the original channel. The temporary dam will divert the water now flowing through the breach and into the Wisconsin River. Once this is done, workers will be able to start stabilizing the and filling in the breach.

Catastrophe hit Lake Delton on June 9th, 2008. Record heavy rains caused the lake level to rise many feet over normal. The sandy soil that formed the eastern edge of the manmade lake gave out as the water overflowed into the Wisconsin River just across Highway A.

Lake Delton Wisconsin

The popular Tommy Bartlett show is on hold. No water means no boats, no skiers and no skiing portion for the show. Tom Diehl, president, GM and co-owner of Tommy Bartlett Inc. says that this is a catastrophe. Bartlett's company used to put on daily shows all Summer long which were attended by thousands of people each day. (Who could escape the Ski Show without a bumper sticker on the back of your car?) Diehl says that they are working on re-opening the show on Friday the 13th with extra stage shows to replace the skiing portions. "We'll make the Tommy Bartlett show without water" Dielh said.

Many resorts along Lake Delton are reporting heavy cancellations as people realize that they are no longer on a lake that they can go boating on or fishing. It is just plain gone. Fortunately for many people, Lake Delton the city and Wisconsin Dells is still here. While the beautiful lake is gone, temporarily, the attractions that lure tourists to the area are still up and running. Water parks, amusement parks, cheese stores, Go-Carts and etc. are not even on the lake shore. They are still available for your pleasure and you should not put off you trip to the Dells because of this disaster with Lake Delton.


Lake Delton officials say that filling the lake again will probably take many months and cost as much as $10 million dollars. The breach along highway A will have to be repaired first. The DNR says that about 85,000 cubic yards of sand was washed away. Dell Creek will take about 45 to 60 days to fill the lake again once the breach is fixed.

What is really devastating is the fact that the home owners along the lake did not have flood insurance. Apparently the village board made a decision a few years ago and the Village of Lake Delton had suspended its participation in the National Flood Insurance Program. The director of the Wisconsin DNRs' Bureau of Water Management said that the village had been a participating member in the NFIP since 1975, but failed to formally adopt a new floodplain the Federal Emergency Management Agency map in 2001. So the village had its eligibility canceled. They did not adopt the new floodplain map, so they lost their eligibility to continue to participate (in NFIP).

The program is voluntary and any community can participate and sign up at any time. If a new map comes out, local officials have to formally adopt that new map within six months. However, Lake Delton officials didn't, WISC-TV reported.

When a local TV station asked the village president why the village wasn't signed up for the FEMA flood insurance program, he flatly said he "won't answer that question." He said, strangely enough, that they should talk to the police chief. Police Chief Thomas Dorner and the city engineer said the village had a problem with the FEMA's expansion of Lake Delton's flood zone, which can make building much more costly and stop future development. Well, it was certainly more costly to those that lost their houses and did not have insurance because of this decision. Don't they look stupid now? Why is it that government officials can make such disastrous decisions that destroy lives and then just walk away untouched?

Five homes were washed away. One was told, when he protested the lack of insurance that a flood would never happen. "It's never happened and we have control on both ends of the lake with dams and you're fine."