After the lake road was rerouted in 1912 due to lake erosion, businesses began to be built on what previously had been the “backyards” of homes that faced the lake.
On the north side of the new main street, the New Inn was built by Newton Mott and Gary Swan. Started as a sandwich shop, the inn was soon expanded to a hotel that employed 32 workers and served up to 500 meals a day (Sunday was the busiest). The big attraction were the “milk fed” chicken dinners, although Mrs. Swan would confess “those chickens never saw a drop of milk.”
The New Inn, for many years, was the home of the summer post office of Geneva-on-the-Lake. Mrs. Swan would go to the railroad depot in Geneva every morning to pick up the mail and have it back to the post office by 6 a.m.
This area was still farm land; next to the New Inn at North Warner Drive was a cow pasture, where a large tent was set up in the summer, presumably for religious meetings. The tents would eventually give way to large dance parlors.
The Swiss Chalet now stands where the New Inn was.