When Lake Onalaska was created following the completion of the dam on the Black River in the spring of 1937, residents of Onalaska were asked to vote on the name for the new lake. Residents were encouraged to submit possible names for the new lake and a total of 24 suggestions made it on the ballot.
Residents had to “register” before they voted to make sure no one voted more than once and to prevent non-residents from voting.
When the voting was completed, “Lake Onalaska” was the overwhelming choice with 261 votes out of a total of 327. “Lake Roosevelt” finished second with nine votes. Some of the other choices were Lake Pooler, Lake Opacco (for the Onalaska Pickle and Canning Co.), Lake Beautiful, Black River Lake, Lake Hoofenpoof, Lake Idle-Hours, and Lake Forget-Me-Not.