Shrake Family at Star Lake
The Shrake family, consisting of Thaddeus (Ted) and Alice and their six children, twins Ted and Fred, Don and a third boy, and Suanne and Ruth Ann, also twins, leased the Star Lake schoolhouse from the 1930's to the early 1950's The boys were all of military age and served in World War II. The girls were just little girls during the war, and have childhood memories of their time in Star Lake.
Ted, their father, was a trainman on the Milwaukee Road's Northwood Hiawatha, running from New Lisbon, where the family lived, to Star Lake until 1944. In the early 1950's, with the Northwoods Hiawatha no longer running, the family moved to Wausau. In the mid-1950's they gave up their lease on the schoolhouse with the girls, the youngest children, in high school.
Suanne has wonderful memories of Hazel and Edith Fredrickson and the Minnow Stand. The men bought minnows to fish and candy for the girls. The Fredrickson sisters would baby-sit for the girls while the men fished. They "kept a watchful eye on the girls while they tried to catch frogs by hanging out of a rowboat in the lily pads near the minnow shack." Suanne notes that the family name can be found in the diaries of Hazel and Edith, now preserved in the schoolhouse.
The Shrake family has kept in touch with Star Lake over the years. In 1995, and again in 1998 with Ruth Ann, Suanne returned to visit the Fredrickson sisters, then in their nineties, and still selling minnows. They visited the schoolhouse which they found converted by Libby Scott into a gift shop, gallery, and museum. Ted, one of the twins, returned in 2007 staying at Hintz's North Star Lodge. With him were two children, Celesta and Brad, as well as Brad's son Chris and his two boys--the fifth generation of Shrakes visiting Star Lake. Brad returned every summer and manages a campground in the area.
"In 2012, the children and grandchildren of Don Shrake, the third brother, also returned to the Star Lake area for a family reunion. Four of Don's children, John, Rick, Jane and Dan, spent a week at Froelich's Lodge on Plum Lake with their families to carry on the Shrake tradition begun by Alice and Ted 80 years before!"
Suanne, living in Wausau, met John Pearson there. He had summer roots in Three Lakes. Now married, they have continued their love of the Northwoods. Suanne contacted Charles Forbes, webmaster of this site, and provided the above information. She and her husband visited me in Star Lake in 2021. The quotations above are from John Pearson's narration of "Four Cabins" a story of both their families in the Northwoods.
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