"[History is] a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man." -Percy Bysshe Shelley

Friday, December 23, 2011

stories the humus keeps


The Marvin C. and Dorothy M. Loveless Tombstone

One of our intrepid library volunteers made her way out to the Manitowish Waters Cemetery this fall, taking photos of the tombstones that commemorate many of the area's early European settlers. For history buffs, these photos may be a walk down memory lane.

Bernard Belter

 Maude Belter (of Belter's Island?)

Joseph S. Lavigne
Peter Vange "our first white settler"

Friday, November 18, 2011


Point-O-Pines cottages on Spider Lake were previously owned by a Mr. Bond, who homesteaded on the site. He secured himself 2200 feet of lake frontage -- quite an impressive amount, as anyone who's recently perused a real estate guidebook will know!

William G. Fotsch purchased the property in 1944 and ran it as Point-O-Pines cabins: "ideally located ... on a 20 acre pine covered peninsula in the center of Spider Lake, having over 2,000 feet of wonderful sand beach." Anyone who has ventured down Point-O-Pines road can indeed attest to the beauty of the location. William Fotsch sold the place in approximately 1964.

Point-O-Pines ad in Vacation Days

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lydia's Legacy: Hutter History, Pt. 3

The cottages purchased by Lydia and Eugene Hutter were originally built by "Cap" Smith circa 1917-19.* The Hutters purchased and operated them from 1941-1998, with Lydia managing them herself after Eugene passed away in 1961. She resisted selling any of the cabins off for another ten years, until the Chryst family purchased #6 and #7 in '71. The '80s saw #5 sold and repurchased, and #1, #2 and #4 sold.

Brunhilde returned "up north" in 1989. She held onto the resort, keeping cabins #3, #5, and #8. In 1990-91, #5 was gutted and remodeled.

She opened the resort as a bed and breakfast from 1991-1998, after the death of her husband Leonard. In 1999, cabins #3 and #8 were sold.

Lydia Hutter passed away on July 3, 1999.

*Such anonymous individuals, remembered only for their unique names, color the pages of northwoods history. My own family house in Manitowish was built in 1907 by a "Peg-leg" Stone. We know nothing more about him (although his real initials were probably R.D.) -- besides the obvious deduction that he had a wooden leg.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brunhilde Ventures North, Hutter History Pt. 2

An aerial view of the resort
Brunhilde, Lydia's niece, had the opportunity to help with the cottages when she was fourteen years old. She came up for two or three summers before getting a job in Chicago. Brun was very happy to get out of the city over the summer -- it was so hot there. After her summers at the resort, she worked at Woolworth's for 28 cents an hour.

When she was up here at age fourteen, Brun met Cal La Porte, as well as Elaine Hanson, John Hanson's sister. They rode up to the town of Manitowish, six miles north, on a gravel road, to get the mail at the post office -- the town of Manitowish Waters did not have postal service back then. The girls rode up once or twice a week. It was a long bike ride. They didn't have access to an automobile, so they had to ride a bike or walk.

For fun, Brunhilde and her brother went to Koerner's Resort on Manitowish and Spider Lake, where they had a big boat house, soda fountain and dance floor. They went dancing there on Friday nights and met other kids. To get there, they followed a deer trail through the woods, at night, and got on Manitowish Road, which led them to Koerner's boat ramp.

When the work was done at Hutter's Resort, Brunhilde used some of her afternoon time to read books. Other fun afternoon hours were spent on a kayak built by her brother -- but paddling it made her aunt worry. They also played croquet. Or they made their own fun. There were few kids to hang out with because everyone was working.

When Lydia got away from work, she taught Brunhilde how to coax a chipmunk to feed from her hand. They also picked many blackberries, blueberries and mushrooms.

Brunhilde and her aunt Lydia worked hard, and there wasn't always time for fun. The cottages were rented for $1.00 a night, so the renters were given the best. New customers always had fresh sheets. They washed the sheets in the lake and hung them out to dry. Once the sheets had dried, Brunhilde and Lydia pressed them with two flat irons, which were heated up on Bunsen burners. Doing these sheets was a hot and sweaty job! Brunhilde still has these very thick sheets -- about 40 of them.

Outhouse duty was another big job. There was a three hole outhouse, which was cleaned every year and all the "stuff" taken to the landfill. At the open pit of the landfill, bears would often be out digging around.

One of Brunhilde's most vivid memories comes from her first summer at the cottages. Sometime in July, there was a big storm. This storm lasted three days straight, thundering and lightning and pouring heavy rain on the tin metal roof. No customers were staying at the time; only Brunhilde, her aunt and her brother were there. Lydia and the brother stayed in bed, too terrified to come out, while Brun did the work of cooking meals. It was all very frightening. Fortunately, the storm did no damage.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hutter History, Pt. 1

A photo collage of the resort, Lydia and Eugene
Lydia's Housekeeping Cottages
Hutter's Lakeview Resort
Hutter's-Nystrom Lake View Resort Bed & Breakfast
Nystrom Bed & Breakfast
35 Park Rd.
Manitowish Lake

Interview with Brunhilde Nystrom, 7/13/10
Lydia's Housekeeping Cottages opened in April 1941 and was owned and operated by Eugene Karl and Lydia Aichele Hutter. The property was purchased from "Cap" Smith. The property had two fisherman's shacks (#3 and #4), a central well, and no electricity. The "Cap" Smith family used #4 cabin as an ice house when they lived up here.

Eugene and Lydia Hutter had both emigrated from Germany after the first world war and made their lives in Chicago. In order to moved to the United States, Lydia had to have a sponsor -- someone already living in the U.S. Her sponsors were two uncles, August and Gottloeb Aichele. After they made their life in Chicago, the opportunity came up to buy the land and cabins in Manitowish Waters. Against Lydia's desires, they made the purchase and moved to the northwoods.

At first, the cottages were mostly rented out to fishermen from Illinois and Wisconsin. The same people came back every year. Later, their wives came, and families. Some folks were also from Chicago. Cottages #1, #2, and #5 were built new by the Hutters. Cottage #8 was an existing small cabin which was purchased and moved back on the entry road, becoming the office and summer home of Lydia.

Cottages #6, #7, and #8 were moved onto the property -- physically built elsewhere and transported to the Hutter's land -- and bedrooms added on. #7 had three bedrooms.

Electricity came in after World War II, about 1946. Until then, Lydia and Eugene used kerosene lamps, Bunsen burners or propane gas burners. Boats were rented with the cabins because most people did not drive up north; they took the train. If they did drive, they didn't bring their boats along! (Did they even have trailer hitches for cars in those days?) The speed limit back then was 40 mph on the highway.

The additional cabins at the resort were built between 1946 and 1960. Eugene died in a car accident shortly thereafter -- a runaway horse ran into his moving car in October of 1961.

to be continued...

Williamson's Stonelake Cottages

Now Tellefson's Lor-wood Resort, owned and operated by our own Annette Tellefson, the story of Williamson's Stonelake Cottages is another iconic chapter in the history of Manitowish Waters. Read on for Janelle Kohl's November 11, 2010, interview with Annette.

Merlin and Evelyn Peterson bought the resort in 1956. The Peterson's had owned a summer cabin on Little Star Lake in Manitowish Waters before buying Williamson's Stonelake Cottages.

The resort had seven cottages and one main house. There were no bathrooms, just cold running water in the cabins. But after purchasing the property, the Petersons quickly updated the cabins with indoor plumbing and hot water.

Cabins were rented for 10 weeks in the summer, and that would be a good year. No activities were planned for visitors because most of them came to fish. Merlin Peterson was not a guide. Some of the resort owners were seasonal and returned to their winter homes in the fall, returning before the opening of fishing season. Boats were provided with the cabins.

Evelyn provided all but kitchen and bath towels for the visitors. A phone was in the main house; none were in the cabins.

In 1965, on May 30, Merlin Peterson died. His wife Evelyn continued to run the resort. In 1973, daughter Annette Tellefson became the new owner. Since then, all but three cabins have been sold, and the main house was torn down so that a new residence could be built.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Memories & Memorabilia

Carl Christensen's coat, riddled with holes courtesy of Baby Face Nelson

We've come across some of Carl Christensen's memorabilia, including the coat that he wore when he was shot by Baby Face Nelson. Six holes from the bullets are visible in the coat, going through the back and on the undersides of the arms. Their placement suggests (to me, at least) that Carl must have thrown his arms over his head in an attempt to protect himself from the attack. (He also took bullets in the foot and knee, which resulted in his hospitalization and being on crutches for several months. Photos from the original newspaper articles to come!)

Carl Christensen's scrapbook
Carl put together a scrapbook that included newspaper clippings and articles about Dillinger and the shoot-out at Little Bohemia. (We will share some of these treasures in the near future!) After he was shot by Baby Face Nelson, Carl's local fame sky-rocketed, and he was the subject of a number of articles and interviews. Piggy-backing off of this media attention, he made up postcards that showed him holding up the coat he was wearing (pictured in this blog post as well as in its current condition, above). Obviously, Carl knew how to turn a life-threatening situation to his advantage! The story about his survival certainly seems to have enhanced business at his place, as well as being a source of personal pride to him.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Carl Christensen built and owned the main building and cottages that make up what is now Cozy Cove. The Cozy Cove is right on Highway 51, less than half a mile north of the Koller Library and on the other side of Rest Lake Road. Here we have pictures of Cozy Cove as it looks today.

Cozy Cove, Manitowish Waters

Cozy Cove & Cottages
Cottages at Cozy Cove

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

an excerpt on the "Mercer, WI" Dillinger Shoot Out

Of course, as we all know, the headline is misleading -- because the events actually took place in Manitowish Waters, not Mercer! (Which are not only different towns, but different counties!)

From Life and Exploits of John Dillinger: America's Public Enemy No. 1, R.C. Remington, Publisher (Mt. Morris, IL), 1934.

a final blessing from Carl Christensen

Carl Christensen in his old age -- still looking pretty hale!

A bon voyage from Carl at the end of the transcript. We are grateful to him, as well, for preserving all this history for us!

I’m very happy to know that there is someone that has interest enough in Manitowish Waters to bring back some of this history. I’m very happy that Hurley is going to relinquish and let the folks pick up my coat and my scrapbook and bring it to Manitowish Waters, where it really belongs. Because at the time that I sent that to Hurley, I sent it up to one of the reporters, Armand Cirilli (sp?), a reporter for the Iron County Miner [whom] I knew very well. I asked him if he would take care of it and bring it over to them. He wrote back to me, that’s too bad, he says, that you don’t send it to Manitowish Waters, he says, because that’s where it really happened, that’s where it should be.

I didn’t write but I telephoned back to him and I says, you know Armand, I says, there’s no place in Manitowish Waters that they can keep it. I didn’t know at that time that they had the nice new town hall and all those different things that they have there now. So that’s how it got into Hurley. Now I know from the curator up there, I’ve talked to her both on the telephone and also correspondence, that they are willing to turn that coat over to Manitowish Waters. I’m very, very happy to know it.

I also, through Mark (Leistickow), I have learned so much about Manitowish Waters and how it has grown and everything else. It really does my heart good. I don’t know how much time I’ve got left in this world now because I’m going to be ninety two years old now on July the fifth this year (1993). I’m still physically able to be around but when you get up in years, why, your get up and go is went. Mine is beginning to go. I would love to see what Manitowish Waters was like now, but there is no chance at all anymore. So take care and God bless all you folks in Manitowish Waters, and enjoy life as much as you can.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Carl's Postcard

"Carl Christensen, Victim of Eight Bullets in Dillinger Raid, April 22, 1934"
Our regular readers will remember that Carl, newly elected as town constable, went to investigate the Dillinger shooting at Little Bohemia. Baby-Face Nelson shot him eight times in the back, chest, hip and foot! Here is a postcard where he displays the coat he was wearing, showing the bullet holes.

Carl Goes Dancing

In another reflection, Carl Christensen recalls how the Northwoods community would get together to organize dances and activities in the shoulder season. Read on for his tongue-in-cheek description of classic northern Wisconsin fun...

After the season was over, the women could all get together and they would organize our card club. And then once a month they would go from one place to another place and they’d play cards and spend an afternoon and enjoy themselves.

Then they would organize parties. Every once in a while, some birthday or something would come on, they’d have a party. We’d have it in the town hall and everybody was invited. We’d all chip in about fifty cents apiece to buy half a barrel of beer and the women would all bring something for pot luck and we’d get together and we’d have a dance.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

the story of dan devine

Back in May, we posted some photos and information about Danny Devine, who was killed by a mysterious gunshot off of Hwy K. The perhaps less than politically correct Carl Christensen fills in some of the missing pieces of the story. Read on...

Ann and I had a couple of Indian friends that lived on the shore of Clear Lake by the name of Mary and Tommy Haskin. Mary was one of the Devines from Danny Devine’s children, he had several children there. He lived on that shore there and Danny Devine was a trapper and also a guide and worked in the camps, lumber camps. He was married to a full-blooded Indian squaw [sic]. How they got the land and that I don’t know because Mary could never tell. She used to tell a lot of things about when she was a little girl, about what things were around the lakes in those days. She was up close to her fifties when she was telling those things.

So we would sit in the [kitchen], they would come and visit us and especially in the winter time when things were slow. ... Mary would tell us about all the different things. How the lakes were years and years back when she was a little girl. So one time I asked her, I says, Mary, I says, was you born here on the lake? She says no, she says, I don’t know where I was born because we were on a trapping trip, my father was on a trapping trip when I was born. So she says I can’t tell you where I was born. And that was the same way with one of the other ones because when I was working for Ilg he had some litigations to take care of, and one of them was Tommy Devine, who was one of the older ones. He asked him where he was born and that was the same thing, he was born on the trapping trip. So that’s way back in the early, early days of the timber industry in Wisconsin.

Mary would tell about how they would pull the lakes down so low sometimes that there would hardly be any water in them. She said at times we could walk across from the north side of the dam where we used to pick up our food before the bridge was in over the dam over the lake between the north and south end of the road. They could almost walk across the bottom of the bay over to Nash’s island on the other side of the lake (Rest Lake – Fox Island), where the donut king had built his big fancy home years back.

And other things she would tell about, the Manito Island on Manitowish Lake. She says there was an Indian chief died on that island and was supposed to have been buried there. And the same way, where Deer Park Lodge was on that point, there was an Indian stopping place when they were traveling on the lakes. When they were fishing and coming through there traveling. Those days, you know, they just traveled with the seasons. There was a lot of other things she used to tell about how that country was and so forth. How they made their living hunting and fishing and everything else. Her father was a big trapper. His name was Danny Devine and he was a red-headed Irishman.

He had a son that lived on the lakes too by the name of Danny Devine. He was a guide and [trapper] because at that time there was fur to be gotten yet, beaver and things of that kind. In the deer seasons and that Danny would be one of the biggest guides that you could get up there. He had a party that he was guiding up around Winchester. He came out on the main roads, on W, going on the road to Winegar, and they were all gathered together there and they were going to make another drive. Danny was talking to the men and he lifted his left arm up to make a point, and as he did that, he dropped down. They checked him out and he was dead.

So when they got down to Pat Gaffrey’s (sp?) undertaking parlor in Eagle River they had a post mortem on him, an autopsy. They checked him over to find out what it was. And what happened as he raised his arm up – a bullet hit him in the arm pit, went down through his heart, killed him instantly. No one heard the shot. They never found out where that came from or anything else. They found the bullet – it was a thirty six bullet, a high powered rifle bullet. They never knew where that ever came from. That was the end of poor Danny Devine.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Carl Christensen & Baby Face Nelson

Like many Northwoods "old-timers," Carl had his own story to tell about the night that the FBI tracked down the Dillinger gang at Little Bohemia. Read on for Carl's part in the shoot-out!

Baby Face Nelson
We had been very busy, Ann and I. She was making sandwiches, she did a lot of that, sandwiches, and I was tending bar and everything else and we hadn’t even had a chance to eat anything because the people kept coming and coming and coming. So that was toward evening when two fellows walked in. They wanted to know if I was the constable, which I had been elected constable. I says, “Yes.” Well, they says, we need your help. We think we’ve got Dillinger locked up in Little Bohemia but in case they should get loose, we need you to go and show us how to set up road blocks, where we can set up road blocks and roads that were going out from there. So I says all right.

So I got my jacket on [now located in the Frank B. Koller Memorial Library in Manitowish Waters], and I had a pair of old shoes on and a cap. I says to Ann, my wife, I says we’ll be back in a little while and we’ll get a couple of sandwiches. We’ll make some for these men too and I’ll have something to eat. But I never got back. And you know the rest of the story from there on.

Dillinger & Emil Wanatka, owner of Little Bo
We stopped at Koerner’s to check a car out there. Baby Face [Nelson] was in that car and he shot Newman under the hat and also Brown [sic]* was shot right above his vest, through the throat, and he caught me with eight bullets. I never found out till after I was out of the hospital that George La Porte was walking back and forth with a rifle in the crutch of his arm. So I asked George one day what he was doing. Oh, he says, I was on guard, he says, in case they should come back. And another thing I found out was when Emil Wanatka was being held prisoner by Baby Face Nelson in that car, which was George La Porte’s Model T Ford and when Nelson saw us coming he got out of the car. Emil got out and he crawled into a snowbank and he had dark trousers on and Emil told me, he says, I tried to cover my pants with snow, he says, so he wouldn’t see me. I was afraid he was going to shoot me. So all that came out after I was out of the hospital. So the rest of the story that’s newspaper, you have that in my scrap book. [at the Frank B. Koller Library in Manitowish Waters]

Johnny Depp in the Little Bo scene in Public Enemies
After I came home from the hospital, we had a tremendous business. All the publicity, newspaper stories about me and everything else. We really had people stopping, curiosity seekers. They wanted souvenirs from me, and so on and so forth. I had postal cards made up with my picture on it and sometimes they’d buy four or five of them, take them along to give them to friends. I had that much publicity. So things were going along real good and we were taking in money and it was really, in those days, rich money, you know, good money. So I go out to Hank Coonan, he had promised me that if I could make good of that place there he would sell it to me when we first started in. So I says to Hank, I says, now I’m in a position, I says, I can buy from you, buy your share out, buy the building off you. Oh, no, no, he says, I can’t sell that, he says, that’s too valuable a piece of property now. Well, I says, if that’s the case then I’m just going to pull my share out. You can pay me off and I’ll pull out and you can get somebody else to run it. Which he did.

*While our transcript records the name as Brown, Carl Christensen most likely meant to refer to W. Carter Baum.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

the powell marsh fire

Powell Marsh went up in flames in 1932, and Carl Christensen was on the scene. Not only did he fight to contain the fire, but he survived it in a pretty amazing fashion when he seemed likely to be engulfed in flames! Read on...

That summer, they had someone out on Powell Marsh and they was gonna heat up a cup of coffee or something. They made a fire out there and they started Powell Marsh on fire. That fire swept up to the Powell Road. We fought with as much as we could fight with to keep it from going across Powell Road because it would have got into Manitowish and wiped out everything. So the wind went down and the fire died out, which was lucky for us, but on the other side, into the marsh, it kept going.

Powell Marsh today: a rather nondescript photo courtesy of the DNR

The life and times of Carl Christensen

Carl Christensen, entrepreneur and man of at least nine lives, moved up to the Northwoods in 1930. We will dedicate several blog posts to following his story, which he recorded on tape and which was subsequently typed up. Janelle and Annette recently uncovered it on the library's dusty shelves and have brought it to light. Here we'll enjoy a few excerpts, cleaned up a bit for easier reading!

Carl did his dictation in 1993. We hope you will come to enjoy his distinctive "voice" as much as we have.

I have to tell you how I came into Manitowish Waters in 1930. That’s 63 years ago. Height of the Depression and there was no work. I was a carpenter. No work, couldn’t get work, any kind.

I put an ad in the “Wisconsin Agriculture,” a magazine, saying that I would do carpenter work for anyone who wanted me for my room and board. Anyone that needed any remodeling or anything else, I would be willing to do it for my board and room. I got a letter from Chicago and we answered it. The letter writer had a resort up in Spider Lake Wisconsin [Manitowish Waters] on Rest Lake and he wanted someone that had a strong back to come up there and take care of it... I answered that letter and told him that I was just the guy he needed – I had a strong back and a weak mind. I got another letter from him that said to meet him at the Northwestern station in Racine. I had another partner that went along with me.

Everyone come to the dance

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

skiing skeeters


A follow up to our Fast Girls! Fast Boats! post. A few images of the Skiing Skeeters have come our way -- here are some for you to enjoy, too. See anyone you recognize? Let us know!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


A new MW Library History Challenge!

Do you know what's hot and what's not? Have you read recent bestsellers? Kept up on your classics? Look no farther than the quiz on the right-hand side of the page: Name That Book!

Winners may enter the library and receive adulation. Losers... you better beef up your reading!

For each quiz, you must correctly match the opening line to the author and book title. Good luck!

fast girls, fast boats

Fast girls! Fast Boats! Island Lake Manitowish Waters
Paul Lehmkuhl, volunteer extraordinaire, sent us this image of a vintage poster! Fast Girls! Fast Boats! We can only imagine "fast" girls had a less licentious meaning than the one that springs to mind ... although for those with a not-so-distant memory of the shenanigans of Hurley, WI, the double-meaning may be appropriate.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A little history from Little Trout Lake

Fishing in Southgate Canal (Bud Smith photo)
Some history of Little Trout Lake, just south and west of the main chain of lakes.

From a Janelle Kohl interview with Cal La Porte.

Heinz Resort
Little Trout Lake
Heinz built a big home/resort on Little Trout Lake. The sidewalk was all lumber -- very long. It had a fire tower, a windmill and a boat house. He had two million-gallon tanks to hold his gasoline. He also had an outhouse. On the edge of the lake was another boat house, built near the ice house, with a room above that overlooked the lake. Cal lived in the caretaker's house until about 1928. Cal remembers his dad feeding a big buck deer, which would sneak up behind him and put his front legs over Cal's dad's shoulders. He was a very quiet deer and this sneak attack would be a huge surprise!

The caretaker's house had inside plumbing, but also had four outhouses. There were gardens and a barn that held a cow and a huge 900 lb pig. The pig went out in the marsh in spring and didn't come back until fall. He was rooting in the mud.

Later, in the 30's, the fires came through and burned down everything but the caretaker's house. The caretaker's house had a fireplace right in the middle.

Heinz was friends with the railroad owners of Chicago/Northwestern. When the railroad workers got laid off in winter, they were sent up to Heinz' place to build the canal. They dug it with shovels. It went from Little Trout Lake to Alder Lake. The workers lived not at Heinz' place, but around the area.

Southgate Canal, between Alder & Little Trout Lake (Bud Smith photo)
The boats used for the canal were square and the motor was moved to either side depending on which direction one wished to go. Heinz wanted this canal so that he could move from one lake to the other. Also, when there was no water, a truck could drive down it. (Presently this canal is part of the cranberry marshes. The only place from which to see the canal's remains is from Alder Lake. The canal went right behind the caretaker's house.)

Heinz was digging for shale oil in Colorado during his stay in Manitowish Waters. He was very rich, but lost money looking for this oil. He was broke when he died. His wife remarried -- her second husband became a bellhop in a hotel in the Chicago Loop.

Locks in Southgate Canal between Alder and Little Trout Lake, Manitowish Waters, WI (Bud Smith photo)

After his place burned down, the canal grew in with the rest of the swamp.

We don't know whether Heinz went broke after or before the fire that destroyed his resort.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

bang! bang! you're dead, or, Public Enemies scene at Little Bo

For those interested in such things, here is a YouTube video of the shoot out at Little Bohemia Lodge from the 2009 film Public Enemies. The film starred Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Marion Cotillard. Despite a good week of filming and interrupting people's sleep with machine gun shots at 2 am, the part that takes place in Manitowish Waters occupies a relatively short part of the film. Also, as we locals cannot help but notice, the outside scenes were clearly not filmed up here. Only the inside of the lodge is "authentic."

Although the cast is impressive, the film disappointed this viewer as it seemed more of a "shoot 'em up" than to possess any redeeming value. In fact, it makes one wonder about the values of our society -- why is the hero (or anti-hero) of the film Dillinger himself, a man who by all accounts appears to have been pretty repulsive, and who doesn't impress as anything else even being portrayed by Johnny Depp? I am not saying that the main character should have been Christian Bale's character, the FBI agent Purvis, who appeared equally uninteresting. OK, so basically I am wondering what good making this movie did for anyone at all, except for local businesses who profited from the monetary income.

Nevertheless, it is a moment of fame for the Northwoods. Let us revel in our brief moment of glory.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

and the polls read....

It looks like we have a tie, folks! Stone Lake has tied with Other for "What's your favorite place on the Manitowish Waters chain?"

Stone Lake, we know. But "other"? Our imaginations are spinning -- what could you mean???! Leave a note in the comments to tell us, or we'll all remain on tenterhooks!

Check out our new poll -- "What would you most like to see on the library blog?" Vote for as many answers as you like! And make sure to tell your family and friends!


voting is good!

Tellefson's Lor-wood: pictures from the past, part two

A few more images to share with you from Tellefson's Lor-Wood!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

another Belter's Island reminiscence

a vintage ad

From a 2010 interview with Cal LaPorte, conducted by Janelle Kohl:

Cal remembers that Belter's Island was there before 1925. Years later, when Cal turned 21, he was allowed to go there for a beer. Drinking age was 21 back in the 40's.

Belter's Island Resort was neat and clean. It was a local bar and run nicely. Lots of music and dancing. Mrs. Belter had a lot of antiques. She also had a piano that she played.

In order to get there, one would have to get picked up from the mainland and taken over by boat. Whenever you wanted to leave the island you could get a ride back.

Belter's owned the island and Beaumont's were there too. They were related by marriage. [As the previous article indicates, Mrs. Beaumont was the daughter of the Belter's.]

Cal recalls a story about a happening on the island:

There was a bachelor named ----. He always had his car at the main landing to get to the island. In the winter you walked over to the island. A few people each year might take a chance and drive over. ---- was known to drink a lot. One winter he disappeared. Townspeople looked for him all winter and no one could find him anywhere. Come spring, when boats were out and about, he was found in the bottom of Stone Lake at the main landing. Evidently, he took a drive right into the lake and never made his way back out. All on the Stone Lake parking lot to the island.

Memories of a Forgotten Island

pictures from the article
Reprinted from the Lakeland Times, January 2, 2009, by Joyce Laabs.

Editor's Note: Memories fade, but some are captured to be renewed. This was the case of Beaumont's Island on Stone Lake in Manitowish Waters. The following appeared in The Lakeland Times in July 1978. We thought our readers would enjoy a piece of forgotten history.

My Sweet Little Miss as Manitowish
I've got a sweet little miss at Manitowish, Wisconsin 
With golden hair and blue eyes -- blue as the sky
When the moonlight shines on those Northern pines
She'll be waiting there for me.
On that island of Bliss -- I'll steal a little kiss
That will send me in ecstasy.
We'll find romance galore -- on the shores of Beaumont's Island
I'm in love -- so in love with my sweet Little Chick-a-dee
I'll take her into my arms -- with all of her charms and her beauty and love for me
Gee -- but I miss -- my sweet little miss
At Man-Man-Manitowish
At Man-Man-Manitowish.
  Last week the strains of the above song, written in 1948, echoed across Stone Lake in Manitowish Waters for the last time when Mitzi Beaumont again sat at the piano in the now-deserted bar on Beaumont's Island to knock out a little "honky tonk" jazz.

For those who heard it, memories of an era that spanned the years from 1932 to 1960 flooded back.

Those were the years when the bar and resort on the island really "swung" -- the years it was under the ownership of Maude Belter -- and after her death -- her daughter Mitzi Beaumont.

Beaumont's Island sits in the middle of the Manitowish chain. Many, many years ago it was part of the mainland. No one is sure which year it split off -- or why -- but one day there it was: six acres of land topped by some 2,000 trees, sitting in Stone Lake.

Records do show that in 1904 the United States Government, under Theodore Roosevelt, deeded the island to Edward McQuire. We also know that a boys' camp operated on the island at one time and that the Koerner's owned the island for a period.

Apparently, five cabins had been constructed on the island prior to 1904, but there is no information as to whether they were built while it was part of the mainland or after it split off. We also know that, prior to 1932, the Hungers had operated Cedar Lodge Resort on the island, but it had laid dormant for some four years before Maude Belter saw it.

In 1931, Maude was vacationing in the area -- visiting Mrs. Walter Mewes of Milwaukee at their resort, Mewes Lodge, on Spider Lake. Mrs. Mewes was the world champion in the women's division of national fly and bait casting, a title she won in 1934.

Maude decided she would like to spend her summers in Wisconsin's Northwoods, so set about looking for something to purchase. She found the island that summer, and the moment she saw it she knew it was for her.

At that time, the island held eight buildings: a homestead cabin, six rental cabins, and a large cabin that served as a dining area. The cabins were rented on a weekly basis, with some of them rented for the entire summer season. All were built of hand-hewn logs, chinked to fit. There were refrigerators and kerosene stoves in the cabins, linoleum on the floors, and the ever present out-house behind.

Maude Belter applied for, and received, the first liquor license on the island. She then converted the dining area into a bar and dining room, and in the summer of 1932 opened for business.

Getting the customers to the island was another matter. A great bell was stationed on the shore, directly across from the island. The bar customers would be picked up at this point. They merely rang the bell and boats would go and pick them up. After drinking their fill, they were returned to the mainland. Resort guests were picked up at the Rest Lake Landing.

Belter's Bar became known throughout the north. Knowing as a place where there was always a little music and dancing. A place where you could "sit in" and play for a set or two; where there was always fun and companionship. At one time, it was known as the "show place" of the north. Now it was known as the "fun place" of the north.

Maude ran the resort and bar each summer until her death in 1949. She even spent several winters living on her island. After her death, her daughter, Mitzi Beaumont, bought the island and continued the operation -- adding a few innovations of her own.

Mitzi loved to play the piano and sing, and one could always be sure of good entertainment on Beaumont's Island.

Guests from far and wide continued to flock to the island. Now, when the bell rang, customers would be picked up by a big war surplus inboard launch that Mitzi and her husband had purchased.

Mitzi had also added another innovation. Directly over one of the stools at the bar, they drilled an opening of about 10 inches. When young men brought their dates to the bar, they tried to sit right under the opening -- then, after a few beers -- would give Mitzi the nod.

Mitzi would go outside, climb the stairs to the second floor, position herself over the opening and drop a fox skin (with the head still intact) through. This never failed to bring a piercing scream, a wild jump and a round of laughter.

Mitzi ran the bar and resort from 1950 to 1960, but just during the summer season, returning to her home in Milwaukee each winter.

"There's no way you'd get me to live up here in the winter. It's just too cold, and I'd be isolated," she said.

In 1960, Mitzi shuttered the entire operation. "It got to be just too much work and I wasn't getting any younger." Mitzi turns 80 this year, although one would never know it to look at her, and one would never believe it if you watched her play the old piano and sing. She's still full of fun, has a love for people, and a deeper love for her island.

She now spends her summers puttering around the island, and travels to her daughter and son-in-law's home -- directly across from the island -- for breakfast and a little conversation -- each morning. Her grandson and son-in-law rake the grass that fronts on one side of the island -- but other than that, the island is quiet.

The furnishings remain in most of the cabins and there are still many wonderful pieces in the bar. Now, Mitzi has made a decision. This year, each of her children will choose the section of the island they wish to own and Mitzi will deed it to them.

"I may come back next summer and spend some time on the island, but I'm concerned I might trip over a  root, for walking isn't that easy on the island. I think though that the time has come for my children to take it over.

"They may restore some of the cabins, or they may tear them down. Whatever they wish to do with their part of the island is fine. However, there will be no trees cut down. The trees on this island are so beautiful -- and breath-taking in the fall. I'm just happy to see the island remain in the family."

So, its hey-day now past, Beaumont's Island remains isolated, tranquil and beautiful. The bell still stands on the mainland, its peal silenced for the most part -- but when it does sound -- the memories of the island linger on.

"tuning in" at the library

air conditioning, plus...
Visit the library for the latest in summer extravaganza: air conditioning and Mozart! Plus books, movies and more.

As I have recently finished reading Don Campbell's The Mozart Effect, not to mention recently returned from a week studying therapeutic harp playing, it seemed appropriate to integrate what I have learned from these experiences. In The Mozart Effect, Campbell found that businesses and individuals who listened to Mozart (or Bach or some equally "structured" music) found a leap in productivity and reasoning skills. (Other music produces different effects.)

To whit, we have introduced Mozart behind the library's front desk. Already I (Callie) am inclined to spring about, pixie-like. Not that this is anything particularly unusual, mind you.
...Mozart, equals...

Campbell further found that individuals who took "music breaks" for about 20 minutes each day found themselves more refreshed and invigorated. So when you are suffering from that post-lunch "afternoon slump," pop on your iPod.

But let me add a caveat that rock music has mixed effects -- although it can initially raise the adrenaline levels, after a time it has been shown to grate on the system. You may notice more effects from instrumental music, particularly Classical. Try a bit of Baroque, some Impressionist, some New Age... see what you like and adjust accordingly. After all, if you don't like it, it's not going to do much good no matter what the experts say!

Let this also exist as a comparison to the dentist's office, where I went yesterday for my six-month teeth cleaning. (No cavities, thanks for asking.) There, they played a stream of Oldies on the radio. Although I'm sure the staff get some enjoyment out of Bruce Springsteen, not to mention the weather forecast, they would probably find that patients experience less discomfort and require smaller doses of anesthetic if they put on some very mellow, relaxing music. Personally, I find that when I'm in the dentist's chair with someone scraping on my teeth, Bruce (though enjoyable under other circumstances) causes my muscles to tighten and makes me want to clench my jaw.

....Ecstasy! (by Maxfield Parrish)
And now that we have finished a blog post entirely unrelated to the history of Manitowish Waters, go on your way -- with music!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Celebrating 20 Years with Janelle!

Last week we held a celebration for our head librarian, Janelle Kohl, to honor the anniversary of her 20 years of work here at the Koller Library! Donna made cake, many patrons brought cookies and treats, and we generally enjoyed a festive atmosphere. Please join us in thanking Janelle for her years of wonderful service to the library and community!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

travel back in time to Ilg's Log Cabin Resort

a vintage advertisement for Ilg's resort
Joe Ilg's Log Cabin Resort, on Rest Lake in Manitowish Waters, has an almost legendary property for local residents, and the Ilg name is one of those MW names you cannot grow up without hearing. Enjoy some photographs from the family and resort.

Jim Catfish & Joe Ilg, Sr.
Says the back of the photo, "Postcard Joe Ilg Jr. Collection. Manitowish Waters, Wis. Jim Catfish; Joe Ilg Sr. 30+ years old, [about] 1902. Front of postcard said, 'Jim Catfish and your old lover Moccasin Joe.' Back, 'Lac du Flambeau Feb. 8, 1914. Dear Hon, Jim & I arrived here this 4.35 AM, 24 below and went three miles to his house, like to froze [sic] to death. Love from all the Catfishes and myself. Joe.' Address: Mrs. Leonore Ilg, 941 No. Forest Ave. Oak Park, Ill."

Mrs. Leonore Ilg, Sr., Rest Lake, Manitowish Waters, Wis.
photo taken after 1891

Joe Ilg Sr. picture taken after 1891
From Rest Lake(?) Manitowish Waters, WI
From left: Joe Ilg Sr; Zoke Waldon. (sp)

Joe Ilg Sr. pictures taken after 1891
Joe Ilg, Sr. & (?)

Joe Ilg Sr. picture taken 1912 (only dated picture)
Summer home on site of Norhtern Lights Hotel - Rest Lake, Manitowish Waters, Wis.
From left, Joe Ilg Sr., [unknown], Joe Ilg Jr. (two years old), (Girlie) Elizabeth Ilg? (born 1899), Peter Vance, Grandpa Peterson (Joe Ilg Sr. wife's father), Indian girl helping Ilg family "Mebe Bjohngehi" (sp?), Francis Ilg (born 1904), [unknown, unkown]

Joe Ilg Sr. picture taken after 1891

Joe Ilg, Sr. picture taken after 1891
Rest Lake, Manitowish Waters Wis.
From left, Joe Ilg, Sr., [three unknown], Grandpa Peterson, Mrs. Joe Ilg Sr. [Leonore], Joe Ilg Jr. (?), [unkown], Bob Ilg (on boat) (?) Probably 1914 (Bob Ilg born 1912.)

Joe Ilg. Sr. picture taken after 1891 - Rest Lake, Manitowish Waters, Wis.
From left, Joe Ilg Sr., [unknown], (Girlie) Elizabeth Ilg (born 1899), Mary King (Indian lady), (two children not known), [unknown], Jim Catfish (?), Francis Ilg (Born 1904)
Date probably 1912