Manitowish Waters History
As recalled by Betty Koller
In 1945-46 five families came to Manitowish Waters to start cranberry marshes. Vern Goldsworthy found the land suitable for cranberries – acid soil and alkaline water supplied from Little Trout Lake. The five families were Howard & Mary Folsom, Herbert & Florence Indermuehl, Delbert & Myrtle Bartling, John & June McFarland and Frank & Betty Koller. The town did not welcome us. The land was in forestry, where no one could live year-round.
We had together changed the land into agriculture. There was no telephone or electric. To get our weather reports, Ehlerts Market would get them, and then we would get them there. After a few years the growers hung wires for both utilities. We had to get to the marsh from Powell Road as there was no way to cross the Rice or Trout Rivers. There was a road we could park in, it had once been a camp. First one in had to be last one out. Everything had to be brought in by wheel barrow, stoneboats, or any other means that you could carry with. Some years later, the growers had a culvert put in so we could get to the marsh down Hwy 51.
We had to get roads into each marsh. The growers had very little equipment that they shared with each other. We all dug the ditches into Trout Lake and individual marshes with a hired drag line by hand.