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

Saturday, May 14, 2011

bathing beauties

"Koerner's Resort Recreation Hall, 1940"

Lest it be thought that life in 1940s Manitowish Waters was all work and no play (or all hardy people stomping about in plaid), take a gander at the bathing beauties at Koerner's Resort. The lady on the middle right was Miss Kenosha -- which if you didn't know is the fourth largest city in Wisconsin. Clearly Dillinger and friends were not the only ones who thought the Northwoods worthy of a visit! (Presumably we can be prouder of Miss Kenosha than of Dillinger, even if she has not been portrayed by Johnny Depp. ...odd as that might be.)

Koerner's, once on Spider Lake, no longer exists as a resort and few of the original buildings remain. As Bev Trapp kindly wrote up for us:

Koerner's Spider Lake Resort was probably first built, but run by Fayette Buck, about 1900 (1901-02).

Ted Koerner was an Alderman in Milwaukee and bought the resort about 1910 or a little later, as he died in the 1930's and his son Alvin Koerner more or less took over, as his mother was still alive and not driving. The old Highway 10 (51) that made a loop through the Koerner resort in the years may be her house is still there. Alvin Koerner's house is still standing and our telephone service was housed in the home with the old family lines, hand cranked phones. Pete Williamson was the phone company repair person. Pete and Charlie owned what is now Tellefson Resort on Stone Lake. Pete had about seven house-keeping rentals.

Alvin Koerner's Resort was an American Plan Resort ("Gentiles only"). They also had a couple of house-keeping cabins on Manitowish Lake and a long hall building and long dock extending onto Manitowish Lake. The beautiful sand beach exists today. The building served sandwiches such as ham and had a small fountain serving ice cream. In about 1949/50 he added the oval bar to the Soda Fountain Restaurant, with his liquor license. Fire destroyed that building and the property was purchased and made into a boys camp. Later it was purchased by relatives and subdivided. The Blue Bayou Inn and the first building to the West are the only buildings remaining on the south side of the highway.

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