We Bought a Camp!
Saving a legacy
The 86-year-old camp has had many lives. Trap doors in the floor of the main building hint at its life as a Prohibition-era speakeasy. The long line of small rooms in “the hotel” echoes a stint as a brothel. And an altar under big pine trees reveals its more recent role as a Latvian church retreat.
In the 1970s, David came to Wandawega on family retreats where Latvian moms from Chicago led their kids through summers of flag raisings, canoe outings, crafts and flying above the lake on a tire swing. By the 1990s, the camp had fallen into deep disrepair, and David saw a chance to save a legacy. So he brought Tereasa (then his fiancée) up from Chicago for a look.
“It had ceilings falling in, and it was full of raccoons,” Tereasa says. But then she saw old photos of the place and heard David’s stories about four generations of his family coming to Wandawega. And she signed on. “The deal I made with him was that we really had to commit. ... And we did.”
Pictured: Tereasa Surratt and David Hernandez with daughter Charlie.