Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: Diarymen's Country Club History

After posting a few weeks ago with a photo of my dad and his two older siblings at Dairymen's Country Club in Wisconsin, I decided to learn a little more about this place that has such good memories for my dad.

I found a book via WorldCat called The Story of Our Club: An Interpretive History of Dairymen's Country Club, Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, by Felix B. Streyckmans, published in Evanston, Illinois (my birthplace) by Schori Press in 1968. I requested it through interlibrary loan and the 79-page book arrived a couple weeks ago.

Dairymen's Country Club was established in 1925 near Boulder Junction in Vilas County in north-central Wisconsin, by a small group of Midwestern dairymen, primarily from Chicago and Milwaukee, with the purchase of the 1500-acre A. B. Dick estate on what was then known as Big Clear Crooked Lake (now known as Home Lake). The estate had nice woods with virgin timber, the big lake (with a beautiful white sandy beach and stocked with muskies and walleyes), cabins, a dining hall, boat house, barns, and other improvements, along with equipment such as farm implements, an automobile, boats and canoes, firefighting apparatus, and road machinery. The estate had originally been the Oliver Goff public resort that had opened in 1895, with the oldest cabin dating to 1892. Fifty members were able to use the facilities as they were in the summer of 1926.

A golf course was built in 1930. Additional major land purchases in 1937 and 1945 as well as some smaller purchases (in 1952 and 1963) brought the size of the club up to around 6000 acres in 1968. These acquisitions included complete control of six additional lakes and access to four others, as well as other resorts. Camp McKinley on the southern shore of Wolf Lake, just to the north (established in 1901 by the Oxley family), which at that time could accommodate 35 guests, was acquired in 1937, and the Mel Majors resort, also on Wolf Lake at Piney Point, was acquired in 1963.

Besides its lakes, fishing, and forests, Dairymen's is also known for Patsy, the pet deer (c. 1931-November 14, 1949), the longest-lived deer on record (in 1968), and the trio of rare albino deer that lived on the grounds in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Camp McKinley and its facilities eventually became known as Wolf Lake Lodge, while the original facilities were called Home Lake Lodge. In 1968, there were accommodations to lodge 100 people at Home Lake in 28 cabins and a dining hall that would seat that many, as well as a clubhouse, shuffle board, tennis courts, swimming beach, diving area, and boat landing. Wolf Lake had 12 cabins and a chalet that could accommodate 40, with a dining hall/clubhouse that could hold 50, while Piney Point had five housekeeping cabins. Besides typical summer activities, Dairymen's is used in the winter for cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and snow shoeing.

On July 10, 2005, fire destroyed the Wolf Lake Lodge. A new 11,450 square-foot lodge was finished in June 2007. It's topped with a muskie weather vane pictured above (photo taken by Fabian A. M. on August 4, 2007, and used under a Creative Commons license).

Despite the name, Dairymen's has long included members beyond the dairy industry. I'm not sure yet how my dad's family became members.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

26 comments:

  1. Terrie Pape ZitzelsbergerSeptember 7, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    Amanda, I love your blog on the family. I remember going to Dairyman's with mom and dad when we were kids!!! Thanks for writing this and keeping it up!

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  2. I wonder if this is the bases of the current "Wolf Creek Lodge" resorts nationwide? I know they supposedly started in WI!

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  3. Tracy, thanks for the comment - the Dairymen's lodge is Wolf Lake, not Wolf Creek - I had it as the latter in one sentence in the post above which I have now corrected. Terrie, you are so lucky you got to go there! I would love to go some time. Talked to Dad some last night and I'll do another post later with some of his memories, but he did say your dad took over the membership after Grandpa Pape.

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  4. Amanda - I stumbled across your blog while searching for Daiymen's info. I am currently a member of Dairymen's and my grandfather was President of the Club when the book was written. I have been visiting Dairymen's since the early 1960's. The Club is still doing well and is a wonderful place to visit. I have some "DCC" pictures at Google's Picasa if you are interested. The address is: http://picasaweb.google.com/eoschas

    Charlie

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  5. Charlie - thank you for commenting! I will share this information with my soon-to-be-82-year-old dad, and the link to your pictures. He is making contact with an old friend who may still be a member, in hopes of arranging a visit to Dairymen's sometime next year.

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  6. Spent a few summers up there from Madison w/my family in the mid 60's. We always got a cabin by Wolf Lake Lodge, and dined there. Bummer it burned down. Caught and released my first muskie there. Scared the living bejeesus out of me: it was bigger than I was at the time. Water skied on Big Crooked Lake. There was horseback riding back then also. All good memories, and I still have pics!

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  7. Thank you for the comment, Phil! My dad (now 82) would love to go back for a visit. If you have your photos posted somewhere, I'd love a link!

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  8. My family spent a week at Wolf lake each summer from late 50's through 1968, our last visit there. I was enraptured with the pristine beauty and serenity. Loved it and looked forward to our annual trip each August. James Powelson 7/9/2012

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  9. James, thank you for commenting! You are so lucky you got to go there. Some day I want to go up and see it for myself - and take Dad along too!

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  10. My Mom and Dad honeymooned at Dairymens in 1948. My Grandparents on both sides were involved starting the club in the late 20's. Spent many a summer in the 50's and 60's feeding the deer and had many treasure hunts and snipe hunts. My wife and I honeymooned there in mid 70's. Muskey fished many years with her every September. Joe Stalosky was fishing guide to our family for over 50 years I think and included 5 generations. My wife passed away 3 years ago and one of our last discussions was about "The Club". Many life memories were had, shared and remembered here.

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    1. You are so lucky you got to go there! Perhaps your grandparents knew my grandparents - maybe your parents knew my dad! I will have to ask him about Joe Stalosky. I'm glad my post brought back some good memories for you.

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  11. Amanda,
    I will also add we have films my Grandpa took of Patsey at Homelake. She would always come in to the dinning hall and bum a smoke from whoever was around and always preferred Chesterfields. Is true and she was a pack a day eater for years for anyone that was there at the time knew.
    Best Regards

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    1. My dad told me about Patsy eating cigarettes! Maybe they are good for deer since she lived so long. Thank you for commenting!

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  12. Amanda - Thank you for the blog and for all of the comments. My mom went to DCC as a child and brought all of us as kids twice a year since the sixties. We would go one week in summer and another week over winter break. My dad loved fishing and taught us all how to fish. The bear dump was the best! Back in the day, you would bring whatever garbage you had at the cabin and throw it into the dump (it was a huge drive around circle so cars could toss garbarge) then the bears would come out to eat their dinner and they would climb onto the cars. It was awesome. Still go there but no more bears. Liz

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    1. Liz, thank you for sharing another great story about DCC!

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  13. Joe Stalosky was also our family's guide and took my father and his family on extended canoe trips where they paddled all day while trolling a seductive bait like a River Runt or a Jointed Pikey Minnow. They would make camp in unimproved campsites that had never been used before and then spend time on favorite lakes fishing. On one famous expedition my Grandmother had a 7 pound Northern Pike on her Pfluger reel equipped Shakespeare rod and Joe wisely and strenuously advised her in the most ardent and echoing voice, "DON'T HORSE IT!" She landed the fish and they ate it. And, it was good, having been cooked over a raised log cabin styled crossed logs campfire (the campfire raised up on dirt infill surrounded by logs to table height). My Grand mother finally gave up smoking and all the bad things that came with it but she too fondly remembered giving Patsy her share of chew. All the best to you. JAM Winegar 1944

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    1. Thank you, JAM, for commenting and sharing your memories!

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  14. My family spent our Summers there. It was great, and we always lookedforward to seeing the same friends we met when we first started going there. All good memories through the forties. From Chicago.

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    1. Thank you, From Chicago, for commenting. If you were there in the 40s, you probably ran across my dad and his siblings and parents!

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  15. My best childhood memories are of the place! Does anyone remember Betsy the deer? Maybe a relative of Patsy? And the memories of the bear dump are still vivid to me today! And how about my very first kiss at about 13 or so? My parents were members and it was with the son of my Dad's vice pres..... Ahhh the memories! It was great running across this web page. Stephanie Reavley Walz

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  16. I recall Patsy that ate cigarettes, the Polar Bear that Orville Aussie (?) smuggled through Canada customs, my Dad flying a Queen Air so low over Home Lake Lodge that people were diving off the dock. Joe Stiloskey who was in the original 'OFF' insect spray commercial (he was also fishing guide to 5 generations of my family) Spent the 50's and 60's there, reminiscing about the Muskey my Mom (Joan Christians) caught the summer of 1969, It's still placed in the Home Lake Lodge, 55" 33lbs, don't think another that lasrge has been caught since then? Largest muskey ever caught by a Lady on those chain of Lakes.
    HC Christians, my great grandfather was one of the founders in the 20's
    All fond memories.
    Dan Christians (4th of 5 generations)

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    1. Thanks, Dan, for commenting and sharing your memories!

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    2. I was there '69 thru '71. Other albino deer included Popcorn and Snowball. also had a "cinnamon" bear (white, but brown eyes). Mayo's & Marquardts were managers then. I met the girl I married there. I spent the best years of my life there. in '71 there was the groundbreaking for the new Home Lake dining room. the old log dining room would be torn down. - Dave

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  17. To all that come here...What memories we have! After spending the 50's and 60's here growing up I remember the pride of going into the phone booth to call work for messages! oh lol what a right of passage that was. To be so important to step into the phone booth at home lake lodge to make a call to work.Great people, great times and I so miss having the Raven on the 17th hole stealing my golfball. My wife won by a stroke
    I became a man that day. What a wonderful place and time that was. It

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