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

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.


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  2. Thanks, Humberto! We're glad to hear you enjoyed the blog. Yours looks great too -- we wish we were more fluent in Spanish. =)