MW Leaders of Historical Preservation Awards
Manitowish Waters Historical Society's Highest Recognition
On May 16, 2018, the Manitowish Waters Historical Society proudly recognized seven community members as Leaders of Historic Preservation. Our celebration of "historical pioneers" marked the first MWHS recognition of what has become an annual event. The inaugural Leaders of Historic Preservation each contributed significantly to preservation of vital records, images, narratives, maps, histories, artifacts and stories that are at the foundation of our community's identity. Though the recipients may have pursued historic preservation in different manners, each are vital to our ongoing documentation of our town's history. With great honor, we post names, pictures and stories of Manitowish Waters Leaders of Historic Preservation!
Homer grew up in Manitowish Waters, so he has a deep-rooted love for this area, its history and people. He, along with today’s group of honorees, recognized the importance of capturing critical resources and family stories before the opportunity was lost. One of his major contributions in that regard was recording numerous interviews of key community members—on cassette tape.
This work truly captures our heritage, giving us a personal view of our rich history and providing a strong foundation for our Historical Society.
Homer was also involved, along with Jim Robinson, in documenting Paul Brenner’s story and historical perspective of this area and the logging days, resulting in a quality historical document.
Thank you, Homer, for your dedication and leadership in preserving our local history.
Elizabeth worked closely with Homer and Jim on initial historical projects: researching, gathering and documenting information. A major and time-consuming contribution of hers was transcribing all the audio interviews Homer and Jim had recorded. Today’s technology was not yet available, so she worked from cassette tapes, requiring many stops and rewinds to get the transcription correct. Truly, a very arduous and challenging undertaking!
She was also instrumental in arranging presentations to share Manitowish Water’s history and generate excitement for preserving it. This was at a time prior to today’s “hunger” and interest for local history.
To Elizabeth, thank you for your dedication and hard work and for being a pioneer of historic preservation in our community.
Captain James Robinson
Jim is all about the visuals. He recorded numerous videotaped interviews of local residents, recalling their stories and memories of our community. He also documented sites around town with photographs. A significant undertaking of his was putting together a collection of photographs he took around town in 1998 to depict what Manitowish Waters looked like in the year of Wisconsin’s Sesquicentennial (the 150-year anniversary of Wisconsin's statehood). The album is huge...and quite impressive.
Mark’s roots in Manitowish Waters go back many generations on both Manitowish and Rest lakes. Mark loves to research, but his passion is cartography. He has done some breakthrough work on rare, defining maps of our area. Some of them are framed and on display at the library. He has also shared many family photos of historical significance to Manitowish Waters. His excitement about local history is contagious, and his contributions to our historical society are greatly appreciated.
Ruth Dickerson Gardner
Henry Voss, Ruth’s grandfather, started collecting photos and documenting the history of the area in the early 1900s. The tradition was continued by Ruth and her mother Audrey Voss Dickerson all through the 20th century. Many historical photos and stories can be found in Ruth’s published book, “Lunch at Boney’s Mound.” Ruthie serves as a Director of the MWHS and has very generously shared much of her collection with the historical society for our archives and website. Her stories, book, videos and photos about the history of Manitowish Waters continue to delight both residents and visitors, and she is still adding to her collection.
Through Ruthie’s efforts, in 2017, the Wisconsin Historical Society has added Voss’ Birchwood Lodge to the State Register of Historic Places.
We recognize Ruthie as our own local “treasure.”
Michael J. Dunn III and David Dunn
The Dunn family has been summer residents for many decades, and the two brothers have always been active contributors to the town’s preservation of history.
Michael is recognized for documenting the first published history of Manitowish Waters and for his extensive research regarding the “waters of the Manitowish.” His collection of logging and railroad activity in the area has been generously shared with the MW Historical Society and can be found on the MWHS website. The Chamber of Commerce brochures featured Michael’s history of Manitowish Waters for many years, and he is very much appreciated for his contributions to bringing our history to life.
David has contributed details and his personal recollection of the historic fish elevator previously located at the dam between Rest and Vance lakes. He has donated some very historic maps and artifacts, and he continues to assist the Society in developing our collection. David is an active member of the MW Historical Society, and we appreciate his interest in helping preserve the area history.
Manitowish Waters Historical Society's Highest Recognition 2019
On May 22, 2019, the Manitowish Waters Historical Society proudly recognized four community members as Leaders of Historic Preservation. These "historical pioneers" each contributed significantly to preservation of vital records, images, narratives, maps, histories, artifacts and stories that are at the foundation of our community's identity. Though the recipients may have pursued historic preservation in different manners, each are vital to our ongoing documentation of our town's history. With great honor, we post names, pictures and stories of Manitowish Waters Leaders of Historic Preservation!
Carl is best known as the town constable who got tangled up with the Dillinger shootout at Little Bohemia back in 1934. He was shot by Baby Face Nelson. Carl kept a scrapbook of his story and his bullet-holed coat, both of which he later donated to the library.
Carl also recorded his story about the Devine family AND the Powel Marsh fire, all fascinating history of our area.
He also built the Chateau, which is now the Cozy Cove.
Carl’s family continues to bring his legacy alive through celebrations at the library in 2014 and 2019.
Audrey Voss Dickerson
Audrey Voss Dickerson's father, Henry Voss, was an avid photographer, and Audrey had the vision and passion to preserve his collection of photographs, which give all of us insight into the early resort days of MW. Audrey’s daughter, Ruth Gardner, one of last year’s recipients and a current board member, has shared these images with the MWHS, and the Voss photograph collection has become a cornerstone of our archives. This award is in recognition of Audrey’s leadership and pride in preserving Manitowish Waters’ and her family’s storied histories.
Palmer was an integral part of Manitowish Waters, its history and development. He served in government and several civic organizations, as well as being on the board of the Chamber of Commerce (the picture of Palmer is from the 1959 Chamber of Commerce guide when he served as its president). Palmer built classic buildings in a distinct Northwoods architectural style. One such building is the lodge at Voss’, which was recently entered in the National and State Registers of Historic Places. This award is in recognition of Palmer’s contributions to Manitowish Waters’ identity and history.
Forrest Johnson was always fascinated by his father-in-law John LaFave’s stories about Abe LaFave and his family’s pioneering efforts in the Northwoods. The stories spurred his interest to discover more about the LaFave’s impact on local history, the growth of LaFave’s Island Lake Resort and details about the rise and fall of Busswell. Forrie has generously shared with the us many of those stories along with photos and journaled family accounts as well as helped identify the earliest family landholdings on old maps of the area.