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

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.