Our History: The Racquetball Club 1976
Back in 1976, a few Milwaukee businessmen co-founded, built and operated our very first club. Our West Allis club opened on March 28, 1976 and was originally an 8-court racquetball and social club called "The Racquetball Club." At the West Allis club in the 70's you would have found a fireplace, large lounge areas and couches, pull-out bleachers off the glass court, liquor lockers and a single Nautilus machine downstairs. Members enjoyed cocktail and tournament parties while watching national racquetball tours and US champions visit the club.
In 1978 a second "Racquetball Club" in Waukesha opened and followed the West Allis model, quickly developing strong court sport programs and a wide variety of social activities.
In the 80's and 90's these two racquetball clubs continued to evolve and expand hosting every major racquetball tournament in the U.S. As the fitness components of these clubs evolved they were eventually renamed the "West Allis Athletic Club" and "Waukesha Athletic Club."
Three new clubs added in 1998-1999
In 1998, our owners teamed to develop three new clubs in Greenfield, Wauwatosa and Downtown Milwaukee. The name changed to the Wisconsin Athletic Club along with the recognizable WAC swoosh logo. It was around this time that the WAC was honored nationally by IHRSA as having the largest and most successful racquetball and handball league system in the entire USA!
The Greenfield club was the first to open in 1998. Originally built in 1982 as the former Club Universe, it received a complete facelift including state-of-the-art equipment, expansion of the building and a refurbishing of every single area of the club. This friendly suburban club offers a wide variety of group fitness classes, including a beautiful outdoor pool!
The Downtown Milwaukee club opened in 1999 and now occupies the entire 6th floor of the 411 building on Wisconsin Ave. This club offers breathtaking views of the city and is a convenient place for everyone in EastTown to catch a quick workout morning, noon or night!
The Wauwatosa club has the most interesting history of all. Originally built in the early 1900's as a firehouse, it was later converted to a warehouse by Milwaukee County. The redesign of this building in 1999 capitalized on it's unique historic charm, keeping the original Cream City brick and high ceilings. The Wauwatosa club is also distinguished by its unique affiliation with Froedtert Memorial Hospital.
Photos of the Old Wauwatosa Firehouse in early 1900's....now WAC-Wauwatosa!
North Shore joins the WAC family in 2006
In 2006, WAC owners opened our 6th club on Milwaukee's North Shore. WAC-North Shore is proud to have one of Milwaukee's largest fitness floors and is the midwest debut site of the new Krankcycle! The beautiful open design along with stunning furnishings, tilework, hardwood courts/studios and cutting-edge cardio and strength equipment makes this one of "Milwaukee's Top 5 Best Places" as noted by "M Magazine."
<--click to read article in M Magazine
First Member still a member today!
Carl Zeiler was the first member to join The Racquetball Club as it was being built in 1975-76. Carl is still a member today and works out at our West Allis and Wauwatosa clubs. Here Carl speaks at WAC's 30th Anniversary Gala in 2006 about his journey with us and how WAC has enhanced his life!
WAC founding member of IHRSA: 1980-present
The WAC is very proud to have been one of the founding members of IHRSA (International Health and Racquet Sportsclub Association) in 1980. IHRSA is the most respected club group organization in the industry and is made up of over 9,750+ high quality athletic clubs and 740 supplier companies in 78 countries worldwide.
IHRSA promotes ethical standards, high quality services and integrity in the club industry. Through annual conventions, seminars, continuing education and Club Business International (CBI), IHRSA informs owner/operators of the latest management and operational techniques in the industry.
The WAC has been deeply involved in IHRSA's development over the years, including presenting as guest speakers/experts at international conventions, service on the IHRSA Board of Directors and serving as IHRSA President.
Our Mission: To Make a Difference in People's Lives
The Wisconsin Athletic Club (WAC) has been committed to providing the highest quality of service to our members since 1976. With local Milwaukee ownership, onsite daily management and our degreed/certified staff, the WAC organization has been honored locally and nationally year after year as one of the finest private athletic club groups in the U.S.
Now with six convenient locations: Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Greenfield, Waukesha, West Allis, and the North Shore; we continue to attract the most talented professionals in our industry and truly make a difference in the lives of our local community members. Visit us soon!