Most hotels and restaurants today have a “cookie cutter” feel to them as if they are afraid to be something "different". That was NOT the case when local poultry plant owner, Clarence Hartwig, opened The Gobbler in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin at the intersection of Highway 26 and I-94. Halfway between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, The Gobbler was a motel, supper club, and roadside attraction.
Designed in the late 1960s by Fort Atkinson architect, Helmut Ajango, The Gobbler truly stood out from the Wisconsin landscape. The unique super club had a dome ceiling, rock surface walls, and a rotating circular bar that completed a rotation every 80 minutes. On the menu, patrons enjoyed turkey, prime rib, and steak. Sadly, The Gobbler Supper Club closed its doors in 1992.
Across the street from the supper club, The Gobbler Motel had an adventurous, futuristic Googie architecture ( a popular style in the late 60's, very Jetsons-esque) design that featured 49 rooms with symbol-shaped waterbeds (such as a heart-shape), 8-track players, round sunken bathtubs, and different colored shag carpet that extended up the walls in each themed room. The colors, décor, and shag carpet was all different for a reason... to attract people. One brochure had a quote that said...
And we would have to agree! Floor to ceiling shag carpet, round waterbeds, space-age decor, this hotel had something that others didn't, style. Whether it was good or bad style depends on your own taste. At least the folks behind The Gobbler went for something different, and “being different” will always have a place to stay here at Wonder Weird.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the glory that was The Gobbler Supper Club and Hotel...
Click Image Below to Enlarge
What happened to The Gobbler?
After multiple changes in ownership, a renaming to The King Arthur's Inn Motel, and years of unrepaired wear, the motel was abandoned in 2001. Shortly thereafter, the Johnson Creek Fire Department burned the motel to the ground as a "practice fire" for their firefighters. The hotel was gone but the supper club building remained. Recently, The Gobbler building received a 2 million dollar renovation. Now known as The Gobbler Theater, it’s open as a live music venue that includes the rotating bar! So if you watch a band from the bar and you don’t like the view, just wait a few minutes. The view will improve.