History of Moon Lake
Lumbering on Moon Lake
According to information included in the abstract from Baumhart properties, the west side of Moon Lake from the boat landing to the Stephen’s (one lot beyond the current Sylvan Moon Resort property) was originally part of two government lots. Each lot was over 68,000 acres. Early records indicate that lot one was first sold for $12,000 in 1873 while lot two sold for $60,000 in 1886. These lots have been divided many times over the years. Edward P. Allis of Allis-Chalmers manufacturing bought lot 2 in 1887, the founding year of Gogebic County.
Gogebic County documents indicate that the lumber trade in the county began in earnest in 1880. Prior to that, the territory was occupied by Native Americans of the Ojibway tribe, prospectors, fur traders. and explorers who were trying to map the region. The Peninsula Lumber and Mining, Ontonagon Lumber, Diamond Match, Christianson Lumber, Minnesota Lumber and Mining and Mason Donaldson Lumber companies all had timber and mining rights over the years. Moon Lake was used as a holding pond for loggers. Information gathered in several interviews during 200 1 indicated that logs were taken out near the southwestern end of the lake (currently owned by Peter and Joy Olk) and hauled by horse to the nearby Chicago and Northwestern railroad track in Land 0′ Lakes. The bottom of Moon Lake remains a testimony to this part of the lake’s history. On clear sunny days, one can still spot large trees scattered. Across the lake bottom well away from shore and often parallel to the shoreline, evidence that the logs came to rest there by means other than falling from the shore.
There were only a few cottages on Moon Lake in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The Tansors and Cora Harris both had cottages. What would later become Camp Plagens was located at the northeast end of the lake. The camp was originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930’s. It was used as a winter training camp for troops during
the late 30’s and early 40’s. Officers stayed at the Stateline Hotel while troops used the barracks and pitched tents for three-week training stint. The troops would then be sent on to maneuvers in Alaska. Camp Plagens was later donated to the Diocese of Marquette and was used as a summer camp for youth until the middle 1970′ s. Father Samuel Battoni continued to hold Saturday evening and Sunday evening Catholic masses at St. John’s Chapel until the mid 1990’s. Shortly after Father Battoni’s death in 1995, the camp was sold to the Lac Vieux Desert tribe in Watersmeet.
In the spring of 2003 the tribe received a grant to restore the one barracks building and the chapel for use as an historical museum.
Trout Helps Close Real Estate Deal
Stan and Alice Gorski were visiting Clyde and Elsie Dussault while looking for lake property in 1956. The Dussault’s owned the lots between the Sylvan Moon Resort property and what is now Bob Hagen’s (formerly Graf). Elsie and Clyde’s family had a SU1DIIlb’ cottage located on what is now Ranger Ashby’s home. While Stan and Alice were pretty interested in Moon Lake, they were convinced that it was the lake for them when a rainbow trout jumped into their boat as they were paddling across the lake. Stan and Alice moved a cabin to their property from its previous location north of town on Highway 45. In 1980 when they began construction on their permanent home, they again moved the cabin. This time they moved it down the lake to Camp Plagens where it became the summer home for Father Bottoni. After the sale of Camp Plagens to the L VD tribe the cabin was sold and moved to Dinner Lake.
Moon Lake owes a debt to Stan and Alice Gorski for their later intervention and forward-looking vision. At one point in time, there was talk about the US. Forest Service developing a trailer park with twenty-one campsites on 620 feet of frontage on the northern shores of Moon Lake. Stan and Alice’s quick response preserved the private and pristine surroundings that still remain one of the trademarks of Moon Lake. They traded three parcels of land on Sucker Lake and two parcels on Wolf Lake for the proposed trailer park site. The site is located between the Gorski’s and Bob Hagen’s property.
Resort Life on Moon Lake
There were three resorts on Moon Lake in the 1940’s and 50’s: Sylvan Moon, Shady Lane Resort and McMahon’s Resort. The
McMahon resort included nine cottages and two large storage garages. Two and three bedroom cabins rented for $23, $25, $28 and $30 per week. The resort closed in the middle 50′ s and sat unused through the 1960’s until Lyle and Francis Dussault purchased it and subdivided the land into nine parcels in 1970. The Shady Lane Resort was subdivided in the late 1960’s. Sylvan Moon, though not operating as a commercial adventure, still is owned by Mrs. Ruth Dam beck.
Bob and Hila Johnson purchased land from the Gorski’s in the early 1960′ s. Their property was located along the southwestern shores of the lake. Shortly after buying their property, they subdivided and sold lots to Dale and Gladys Rheel and Ed and LaVerne Hanson. Bob was a music teacher at Nicolet High School in the Milwaukee area. When he became aware that the McMahon resort was to be sold by Dussault’s, he shared the news with five Nicolet administrators, who in turn each bought a lot or two. The new owners dubbed the old resort, “Nicolet Shores”. The remaining lot on Little Moon (Beaver) Lake was subsequently purchased by Fred and Ruth Willer from Brookfield, WI. Of the original Nicolet owners, only two remain; Bob and Mary Peterson and Jim and Jean Reiels. Harold and Hilda Liebherr sold to Gene and Glenda Lannert. (Gene Lannert stayed at the McMahon Resort as a child). Bob and Hila Johnson sold to Henry and Becky Ross who later sold to the Lannerts. David Johnson, of the Nicolet staff, sold to Steve and Marcia Schultz. Bill and Jeanette Radtke sold to Michael and Julie Reiels. With the past thirteen years, all but the Peterson cottages have been replaced with permanent homes and Petersons have had several additions built onto the original cottage. The cottage that was on the present Lannert home site was moved in 2000 to North Moon Lake Road next to the Sylvan Moon resort; it is owned by John and Diane Reiels. One cabin was taken down by Larry Lugar when Johnson’s bought that property. Larry, in turn, used the timbers to build his cottage on the north end of Moon Lake. It too has been razed and has been replaced by the present owners, Tom and Linda (Lugar) Wheeler. Only two original cabins survive today; Lannert’ s and Peterson’s, though both have been significantly remodeled.
Moon Lake Pavilion
In the 1970′ s when the McMahon cottages were being rehabilitated, there was a dilapidated cottage south of the resort, right along side of the road. That cottage belonged to the King’s Gateway complex and had been used as a honeymoon cottage and lastly as lodging for the cook at the Gateway. There was a sand bar and nice beach area in front of the cottage. Before the construction of the honeymoon cottage, this area was used as a public beach that was popular among the people of Land 0′ lakes. It was a well-know spot for the local folks when it became a beach because it had previously been home to the Moon Lake Pavilion. Dale Hunter’s Moon Lake Pavilion was a very popular tavern and dance hall between 1920 and 1933. This site was the location of the home that Ron and Cord Schuit (now owned by Gerald and Elaine Granat)
This property was included in the frontage (about 900 feet) that was sold by the Gateway Lodge about 1989 to Robert and Ruth Stark. They subdivided the land into four parcels within two years after purchase. The present four owners are: Dale and Rhoda Sharpee, Doug Mackett and Sally Thomsen, Gerald and Elaine Granat and Greg and Judy Voegtline.
Certainly, this is not a comprehensive history of the lake, but merely the beginning. If you have additional information to share, or believe that some of the information in this document is inaccurate, please contact the Moon Lake Riparian Association, PO Box 683, Land 0′ Lakes, WI 54540.
Any old photos you may have of the lake, old cottages or Land 0′ Lakes (aka Stateline) would be appreciated. The photos and documents would be scanned and returned to the contributors.