The Resort Era

  • Article

    The resort era in the Northwoods begins as the logging era ends, though there was substantial overlap. (In a sense the logging era has never ended, since their continue to be extensive logging operations.) For the area north of Wausau, resorts and tourism began slowly during the second half of the nineteenth century, with fishermen and hunters being the major source of visitors. As the century ended, there began to be an influx of vacationers whose main intention was to relax, enjoy the lakes--including fishing--and escape the heat of the cities to the south.

    In Star Lake the "hotel" was one of the early buildings built. It became the No topic [75 waldheim] (later Oliver Lodge and North Star Lodge) and its history is written in a separate topic. There were No topic [74 other resorts] on Star Lake as well.. No topic [81 ballard lake], No topic [88 white birch lake], and No topic [86 lake laura] also saw resort development.

    Nearby towns saw similar development. In fact, in No topic [185 sayner] development along the shores of No topic [312 plum lake] was much more extensive than on Star Lake, though the lakes are of similar size.

    An interesting aspect of the resort era, virtually unknown in the inland Star Lake area, was the developing tourist industry along the shore of Lake Superior. With the opening of the Soo Locks at Sault Sainte Marie in 1855, travel to No topic [lakesuperior lake superior] ports from Chicago and points east became possible. After a decline during the Civil War, steamship travel on Lake Superior became popular. One could sail from Buffalo or Chicago, go through the St. Mary's Ship Canal into Lake Superior and head west through the last visiting numerous ports in Michigan and Wisconsin. No topic [1764 wis mag of hist.]

    Charles P. Forbes
    January 23, 2009
  • Bibliography

    Comprehensive References

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    ****. Everett Resort Gets Historic Places Listing. [Vilas County News-Review, Nov. 12, 2008, B-1.] Eagle River, 2008. View Full Entry
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    Brenner, Paul. Transition from Logging Camp to Resort. [Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Forest History Assn. of WI, Oct. 3-4, 1997.] Woodruff, 1997. View Full Entry
    Currey, J. Seymour. Vilas County Notes, 1906. [State Historical Society of Wisconsin Archives, Call # Northland SC 28] Evanston, IL, 1906. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Dunn and Lewis, Eds.. We Were Children Then, Volume II: Stories from the Yarns of Yesteryear Project. Madison, 1982. View Full Entry
    Ebert, M. A.. Traveling Among Wisconsin Resorts. [Wisconsin Land of Lakes Magazine, January, 1929.] Rhinelander, 1929. View Full Entry
    Ellerman, Cecelia. Resort People, The. Star Lake, 1989. View Full Entry
    Gard, et al.. We Were Children Then: Stories from the Yarns of Yesteryear Project. Madison, 1976. View Full Entry
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    Major References

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    Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. [Brochure] Chicago, 1934. View Full Entry
    Davis, Mark. Northern Choices: Rural Forest County in the 1920's. [Wisconsin Magazine of History Vol 79 (1995): Part I: #1, Autumn, pp. 3-31; II: #2. Winter, pp. 109-138.] Madison, 1995. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Disturnell, John. Upper lakes of North America. New York, 1857. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Drew, Michelle, compiler. Backward Glances. [Vilas County News Review, July 31, 2019, p. 6B [Backward Glances]] Eagle River, 2019. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Ellerman, Cel. White Birch Lodge built in 1921 Has Interesting History. [Star Lake column, Vilas County News-Review, unk. date, 1963] Eagle River, 1963. View Full Entry
    Espeseth, Edmund. Early Vilas County. [Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 37, #1. Autumn, 1953, pp 27-34 & ff.] Madison, 1953. View Full Entry (Full text available)
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    Huhti, Thomas. Wisconsin Handbook, Including Door County. [First Edition] Chico, CA, 1997. View Full Entry
    Irvine, Cyndy. Mary Lincoln and Her Visit to Wisconsin's Wild Region. [Wisconsin Magazine of History, 95:4, Summer 2012, pp. 2-11.] Madison, 2012. View Full Entry
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    Lambrecht, Ralph. Wisconsin Legend, Ole Evinrude and His Outboard Motor. [Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 89, # 3, Spring, 2006, pp. 16 ff.] Madison, 2006. View Full Entry
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    kfkf. kfkf. . View Full Entry

    Minor References

    ****. Living on the Lake. [Magazine] Rhinelander, 2012. View Full Entry
    Baker and Magnuson. Limnological Responses of Crystal Lake to Intensive Recreational Use, 1924-76. [Trans. Wis. Acad. Sci., Arts, and Lett. 64:47-61. 1976] Madison, 1976. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Brooks, Paul. Roadless Area. New York, 1964. View Full Entry
    Lydecker, Ryck. Outboard Museaum Gears Up. [BoatU.S. Magazine, 10:3, May 2005, pp. 26-27.] Alexandria, VA, 2005. View Full Entry
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    +++Vilas County Resorts in 1930

    In 1930 the //Vilas County News// reported that "an informal survey indicated that Vilas County alone boasted 229 resorts, enough to host a total of 8,808 people" as reported in the //Vilas County News-Review's// Backward Glances, September 1, 2010.