In The News, July 3

Bayfield County Press, July 3, 1941

Body Thought Snagged by Trolling Hook

Numerous stories have been circulating this community since last Sunday when a trolling line held by Ms. Marie Brauns became snagged near Wilson Island and was thought to have raised pieces of human flesh.

Miss Brauns was trolling with Francis LeBel on Lebel’s boat Northern Light.

The hook was difficult to release and pieces of flesh in the state of advanced decay are reported to have come to the surface.

The incident was reported by LeBel to Ashland County authorities for investigation. Speculation was immediately aroused concerning several drownings of years back in which the bodies were never recovered.

Last reports of officers indicate that the search has not proven successful.

Now that must have been a surprise. “I got something, I got something…. oh my God!”

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In The News, July 2

Bayfield County Press, July 2, 1881

Among the many attractions in and around Bayfield and the Apostle Islands should be numbered the new Light House, in course of construction on Sand Island. Superintendent Louis Lederle and family have located on the Island and will be pleased to point out the various points of interest.

Supt. Lederle has cleared about ten acres of ground and opened a fine quarry of red sandstone, which will be used for the government buildings. The Light House proper will be thirty-eight by twenty-eight feet in size, and the light will be placed about fifty feet above the water level.

No structure could have a more profound connection to its environment than the exquisite little lighthouse on Sand Island, constructed from the same stone as the promontory on which it sits. It is as if the builders simply reshaped the fabric of the island into lighthouse form.

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In The News, June 30

Bayfield County Press, June 30, 1911

Summer Resort To Open

Messrs. E. C. Garwood and D. J. Carpenter came up from Minneapolis yesterday to commence the work of getting the Hermit Island summer resort in readiness for the opening tomorrow. Mr. Garwood is the president of the company promoting the Hermit Island project and brought Mr. Carpenter along with him to superintend the resort during the season. Mr. Garwood stated to a Press representative yesterday that the hotel on the island would be formally opened up tomorrow, July 1st, to the pleasure and rest seeking public. He states that every preparation has been made for the accommodation of all who visit the resort and every possible point of interest has been put in readiness for the large number he expects will visit the island during the summer months.

The hotel was formerly the Bark Cottage with which every Bayfielder is familiar. The old cottage has been left as it was with the exception of renovating and the addition of several new portions to secure more accommodations. The company will put a gasoline launch on the run between Bayfield and the island this summer and will offer every inducement to tourists to spend at least a part of the time on Hermit Island. Mr. Carpenter, the gentleman who will have charge of the hotel during the season, is a man very capable of making the resort attractive as far as the management is concerned.

The advent of the summer tourist is generally a welcome occurrence to Bayfield merchants, and in fact all Bayfield people. The number which spend the season in or near this city has reached up into the hundreds and the marketing they do does much to enliven the merchants’ business during the summer. Several tourists have already arrived in the city and hundreds more will come, practically every train bringing in new ones. The season on Chequamegon Bay gives promise of being the best in history and Bayfield people rejoice.

Garwood and Carpenter had big plans for Hermit Island, with ideas of building a dance pavilion, selling lots for summer cottage development, running a shuttle boat service, and more. They went so far as to fix up Cedar Bark Lodge, which was already showing the results of neglect, but that’s about as far as they got..

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In The News, June 28

Bayfield County Press, June 28, 1887

Half the business part of Hurley, Wis., was destroyed by fire to-day. The town is one of the mushroom settlements in the mining region, and the buildings were not very valuable. The loss will not exceed $80,000, and none of the individual losses are over $5,000. For a time it was thought that the whole town was doomed.

The fire started in the rear of the Gogebic Meat and Provision Company’s building and a brisk wind rapidly fanned it into a roaring blaze that spread from building to building until a dozen merchandise establishments, several hotels, and a boarding house were in flames. About 1,000 men employed in neighboring mines came to the rescue, but the fire could not be subdued until a number of vacant lots were reached. Then it was with the greatest difficulty that buildings several hundred feet distant were prevented from igniting, so intense was the heat. The roofs and sides of the houses were covered with wet blankets during the early progress of the fire.

It appeared so certain that the whole town would be swept away that merchants hired large gangs of men to pack and load their goods on vehicles of all descriptions and cart them away, and a number of railroad cars were loaded and engines were ready to convey them out of town had necessity presented itself.

Catastrophic fires made 1887 a terrible year for Hurley. Less than a month after this conflagration, eleven lives were lost in a fire at the Klondike vaudeville theater. The theater was hastily rebuilt, but burned again in November, claiming ten more victims.

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In The News, June 27

Worth quoting at length in light of current events: the 1946 flood, nearly forgotten now, may not have been as catastrophic as the Great Bayfield Flood four years earlier, but did wreak further destruction on a community that was still rebuilding.

Bayfield County Press, June 27, 1946

Bayfield, Ashland Counties Survey Widespread Destruction by Flood

The City of Bayfield and the surrounding area, including almost the entire two counties of Bayfield and Ashland have been busy digging out of the havoc and chaos caused by the torrential rains of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and resultant floods of almost unimaginable proportions.

Here in Bayfield, a great ditch has been cut across the main street — as in 1942, but not so deep nor wide. The full width of the alley between the Wachsmuth building and the “corpse” of the Weber building, gutted in the 1942 flood, the cut widens to some forty feet across Rittenhouse avenue, with an average depth of perhaps eight feet. From the foot of the alley intersection with Manypenny Avenue, one block south of the city’s main thoroughfare, the flood spread out fanlike, to encompass almost the entire southeast corner of the community.

Actual damage, other than to the alley and street, is relatively slight until one reaches the railroad tracks. Here, the damage begins to mount. Unofficial estimates place the damage to railroad property at less than $5,000. Major damage to Haugen Oil company property or to the Booth Fisheries “cold house” was prevented only by the vigilance and determined efforts of scores of citizens erecting sandbag barricades and dikes. Tons upon tons of sand were carried on down to the lower flats. The waters overran the Bayfield Canning company’s property, filling the sheds with sand. The Northern Wisconsin Power company, hard-hit by the total loss of their Orienta plant, suffered likewise through the practically complete inundation of their new office building. Only through constant labor and toil were the waters kept from well-nigh ruining the place.

Fred LaPointe’s cement block factory was inundated, and hundreds of tons of sand were spread all over the place. Muhlke’s boat building shop, almost directly in the path of the flood, was kept from major damage by the efforts of the crew that worked to save the Haugen Oil Company property.

That was a blessing for Frank Muhlke, grandfather of my friend Bobby Nelson- his shop was totally destroyed by the 1942 flood. In the aftermath, Leo Capser, of Madeline Island Museum fame, very generously helped Muhlke get back on his feet.

Highway 13, leading out of the city to the north, in the portion between Top o’ Wisconsin Terrace and the Dal Burger home (formerly the E. R. Mitchell residence), is pretty well gone on the east, in spots having fallen away almost to the center of the highway. On Rittenhouse Avenue in the block between Third and Fourth streets, a great gap has been formed by the falling away of filling over the culvert in the big ravine. Damage in other parts of the city is what might be normally expected following a violent rainfall. Rainfall for the entire period of the storm, according to records at the Winbigler station, totaled 5.61 inches. Other figures reported in the flood area were as high as 8 or 9 inches.

In the western part of Bayfield county, bridges were swept from abutments, culverts taken out, resulting in damage to highways estimated to approach $200,000.

While damage in the July, 1942, flood was heaviest at Bayfield, the brunt of the storm was carried by Mellen and Odanah, the former city being dealt a staggering blow when the dam in the river flowing through the heart of the community gave way under the weight of the swollen waters, loosing a solid wall of water that left naught but ruin in its wake. Odanah, ten miles to the east of Ashland, was completely inundated by the raging torrents of the Bad and White rivers. There the inhabitants were forced to flee for their lives, and even today, the flood is still a menace. The Catholic school, a structure costing well toward $100,000, is badly damaged, perhaps nearing almost a total loss. Only further survey can determine whether the sagging walls can be restored.

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Keeper’s Log, June 26

Raspberry Island Light Station, Keeper’s Diary, June 26, 1886

Yesterday passed my birthday – the 46th.  On the 9th wife and two children (Edward and Joe) surprised me with their a visit.  Stayed 10 days with me cleaning and whitewashing the house.  Took them across as far as Frog Bay (on the 20th) and returning alone to the ] island, the place looked desolated more than ever.  Felt rather miserable for a few days.  Continued housecleaning (painting) and am not quite through yet.  Have been across just before noon.  Received my mail and some fresh supplies.

That’s our friend Francis Jacker writing.

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In The News, June 17

Maybe you have heard of the 1920 lynching of three black men in Duluth. Maybe you’ve even seen the monument at the corner of First Street and Second Avenue East. This is how the Washburn paper reported the incident at the time, complete and unedited.

Washburn Times, June 17, 1920

Three Black Brutes Are Lynched at Duluth

Mob of Angry Citizens Wrecked Jail and Mete Out Punishment According to Their Belief

The city of Duluth was a scene of a triple lynching on Tuesday night when a mob of citizens, driven mad over a dastardly deed committed by the black men, took the law into their own hands and meted out the kind of punishment which they thought the niggers deserved.

The crime which had been perpetrated by the blacks and for which they were later removed from the jail and hanged was for assault upon a young Duluth girl. The girl had gone to the circus with her young beau and when the two were watching the loading of the animals, when a black brute pointed a revolver at the head of the young man while the other blacks carried off the young girl and assaulted her.

The black devils were later arrested and taken to the Duluth city jail where they were locked up.

During the early evening a report was circulated to the effect that the girl victim had died and it so enraged Duluth’s citizens that a mob was soon formed and proceeded to the jail to get revenge. The police department, the sheriff’s force, and the fire department were called out to try and disperse the mob which by this time numbered some 5000 people, but they were driven back by the mob who turned the fire hose upon the defenders of the jail, and after wrecking the jail, and removing the niggers, proceeded to hang the blacks to one of the lamp standards on a prominent corner in Duluth.

Yeah. That’s what they wrote.

Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Issac McGhie

Creative Commons Photo Credit

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Keeper’s Log, June 16

Quite often, people ask me if I know of any ghost stories about the lighthouses. I answer, “No, but I know a good horror story. Wanna hear it?”

Then I tell them this one.

Sand Island Light Station, June 16, 1915

W breeze and cloudy. Cool and showery at 12:00 noon. Mr. P. Hanson arrived at the station with the assistant’s family ‑ wife and (7) children. She came unexpected.

The really horrifying part?

They stayed until September.

[Camera pans around lighthouse grounds. Eerie music swells as voiceover whispers.]

“Four adults… eight children… three bedrooms… one kitchen… and this…”

Sand Island Light Station: the
classic brick you-know-what.
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Keeper’s Log, June 12

Whaleback steamer at the Soo Locks

LaPointe Light Station, June 12, 1896

Variable light clear. On the night of the 8, two pigs went ashore east of fog signal. They heard the signal and headed for the sound but was too close and let go of the pigs. They went high and dry. Barge No. 134 got off at 5 A.M. on the 12 instant.


Yes- a derisive nickname for the “whaleback” ships that were a curiosity seen on the Great Lakes from the late 1800s through the first few decades of the twentieth century. Designed by Capt. Alexander MacDougall of Duluth, these streamlined ships looked much like submarines, or perhaps whales to observers with imagination. Others, like keeper Joe Sexton,  called them by this less flattering name. The ships’ cigar-shaped hulls cut smoothly through the water, making them especially suitable for service as the towed partner in the “steamer and consort” arrangement, which seems to be the case here.

A total of 42 whalebacks were built from 1887 through 1898, nearly all in the shipyards of Duluth and Superior. These ships were primarily used in the Great Lakes ore and grain trade, but in later years, some wandered off to the salt seas. The advantages of their design were eventually found to be outweighed by the complications encountered when loading and unloading cargo through the necessarily small hatches, and the design fell out of favor fairly quickly.

A single example of the class has been preserved and is open for public view: the SS Meteor in Superior, Wisconsin.

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In The News, June 7

Bayfield Press, June 7, 1945

Tell the Grandchildren of Big June Blizzard

Winter came back last weekend and early Saturday morning snow rode in on the wings of a howling northeaster, piling up to a depth of five and six inches deep, with drifts in the hills of two feet. All Saturday the storm carried on and with its close came a sharp drop in temperature, officially recorded as low as 31, early Monday morning, with reliable reports of 25 and 26 from points inland.

Responsible advice is that the strawberries are “hit hard,” but there is as yet no evidence of extreme damage to the apple crop, all though all of the “experts” are speaking “off the record.”

As far as I’m concerned, we can wait a while yet for the next snowfall.

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In The News, June 5

Washburn Times, June 5, 1924

Warden Powell Pays a Fine

Convicted of Shooting Hjalmer Johnson

Fired Three Shots at Washburn Lad Who Was Trying to Escape Arrest for Illegal Fishing

Game Warden Powell of Bayfield appeared before circuit Judge G.N. Risjord at Ashland on Monday of this week to receive his sentence for conviction of the charge of shooting Hjalmer Johnson of this city. He was fined $100 and costs, amounting in all to $432.32.

Powell was arrested following the shooting of Johnson of this city last spring. Johnson was fishing before the opening of the season and was ordered to halt by the game warden. Failing to do so, Powell fired three shots after the fleeing man, one of which struck him in the back. He was laid up for many weeks in the hospital at Ashland, and at the present time is unable to do hard labor.

Seems a mite heavy-handed, Warden. Maybe a little shoot-don’t shoot refresher training is in order.

BTW, $434.32 in 1923 = approx. $5,400.00 today.

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Keeper’s Log, June 4

Outer Island Light Station, June 4, 1897

SW, light, during day changing into a heavy E gale. Cleaning Lence and Lamp, changing burner, strainer, and float, and tending to general duty. I, the Keeper, left Bayfield at 7 AM with mail and provisions for the Station. Got as far as the stone quarry where I had to stay over night for shelter on Presque Island.

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