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The breakwater was constructed to provide shelter for boaters and swimmers alike. It was constructed using teams of horses, logs, and rocks from the area.
When the marina and rental boats were located on the waterfront in the townsite, this area was the focus of the community.
An annual regatta featured various water sports like swimming races and many types of boat races. Thousands of people would line the breakwater and banks to watch.
During the day, the breakwater hosted swimming lessons and sunbathers and a diving board was provided.
In the evening, people strolled the breakwater to watch the sunset.
In Dorell Taylor's Waskesiu Memories Volume III, John O. Davis tells the story about an encounter on the breakwater in 1955 with NHL hockey legend Gordie Howe, who spent summers here working on the golf course.
“The following summer the Howes came again to Waskesiu on holiday, when an interesting event took place. I was sixteen and interested in girls. One sunny Saturday, I was laying on the breakwater with a crowd of girls when along came Gordie and Colleen. Gordie picked me up by the back of the shirt and the bathing suit and dangled me over the water. Against my pleading and that of Colleen he dropped me into the water. I felt embarrassed in front of the young ladies, but wisely held my tongue.
"The next day, being a Sunday, the Howes came again to the breakwater all dressed up in their Sunday best – same scenario, except this time I got up and sat on the raised portion of the breakwater so there would be no repeat. Gordie obviously felt that no skinny sixteen-year-old would dare to do anything, but the moment he turned away from me I shot up from the cement and knocked him into the water – suit, shoes, tie and all!
"I imagine that I ruined a suit and shoes but was not thinking of that in those days. I have often wondered if Gordie has ever forgiven me for his little swim.”
The video below shows the popular and amusing canoe jousting competition which was part of the annual regatta. Then two audio clips feature former lifeguards reminiscing about the regatta and swimming lessons.
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