The Hotel World: Koerner’s Spider Lake Resort

Welcome to Discovering the Northwoods from the Manitowish Waters Historical Society. We will take you on a journey through our local history with the help of primary source documentation. To learn more about this rich history or about the historical society – check out our website at for blog posts, YouTube Channel, and Show Notes for a full transcription of this episode including photographs and maps.

As with many historical works from this era, there are phrases, terms, and descriptions that are inappropriate to our modern sensibilities. The Manitowish Waters Historical Society in no way condones these offensive remarks or passages but chooses to read this publication in its entirety for educational purposes and accurate historic context. 

We would like to introduce the article titled, “Good Example of Summer Resort Advertising,” published by The Hotel World: The Hotel and Travelers Journal on January 1st, 1921. This episode is read by me, Brenna Reilley.


A good piece of resort advertising always appeals to the operator of a resort hotel, whether summer or winter, and The Hotel World offers no apologies for devoting so much space to the circular issued by Koerner’s Spider Lake Resort, believing it will be of interest to not only resort proprietors but to commercial hotel men as well.

 The illustrations, the advertising text calling attention to the attractions of the resort, the letter to old patrons and to inquiring tourists, and even the letterhead, are all presented in a manner to catch the eye and interest the reader.

The circular consists of six pages, the first page containing the letterhead, and on it the letters, follow-up matter, etc., are typewritten or printed in imitation typewriter; next follows the two-page spread, in the center of which is neatly displayed reading matter descriptive of the resort; page four is the one-page group illustration, with the fine “mess” of fish shown in the lower right corner; page five is another one-page cut, showing two landscape views and a map of the region about the resort; on page six is a resume of information useful to the would-be guests, giving particulars as to railroad facilities, auto routes, boating, fishing, bait, tackle, fishing season, and other facts the tourist likes to know before going to a resort, and also on this page at one side appears the autoroute table shown herewith. 

Altogether, when it is printed on good paper, with good ink and good presswork, the product is an attractive piece of advertising that ought to draw the business. 

The text matter below appears properly displayed in the center of the two-page illustration shown herewith:

Koerner’s Spider Lake Resort is situated in one of the most beautiful and picturesque spots in Northern Wisconsin. On Spider and Manitowish Lakes, the center of the famous Manitowish Waters, a chain of fourteen lakes in Vilas County, noted for their excellent bass, muskellunge, and pike fishing, and in the heart of a forty-two acre grove of balsam, birch, and pine trees, it makes a retreat for the person looking for health, rest, recreation and sport beyond compare. 

Koerner’s Spider Lake Resort consists of a main lodge and fifteen cabins. The former is of concrete construction, contains a big, cozy lounging room, with a large open fireplace, and a spacious dining room which is enclosed in French windows, all screened. When opened, this is practically an outdoor dining room. 


All cottages have a comfortable living room, two or more light and airy bedrooms with a roomy, screened porch. They are furnished with excellent iron beds, tables, chairs, stove, etc. Several of the cottages are equipped with bathrooms complete with hot and cold running water. 


Particular attention at all times is paid to the preparation of eatables. Our kitchen is in charge of an able and competent chef. Home-grown vegetables from our garden and fish in season from our lakes are on the daily menu. Our drinking water is excellent and pure, drawn from deep, cool wells. 


This part of the country is on the highest elevation in the state, Being approximately 1,250 feet above the level of Lake Superior. This with the resort being surrounded by heavy forests causes the climate to be cool and healthful and is ideal for the one looking for much-needed rest. The air is dry and those afflicted with Hay Fever find almost instant relief. 

Daily Hikes 

There are many well-marked Indian and Logging trails through the woods where guests enjoy taking their daily hikes. Along these trails offtimes deer, partridge, and numerous other wild birds and animals are encountered. Our Northern Woods are noted for their beautiful wild flowers and abundance of delicious blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and wintergreen berries which everyone enjoys picking, and are served on our table. 


Following is a soliciting letter sent to prospective patrons, in imitation typewriter, under the letterhead; 

Dear Mr. Vacationist,

You are looking for a place to spend an enjoyable, restful, and all-around pleasant vacation in Northern Wisconsin, with good fishing, good eats and beds, and comfortable surroundings. Koerner’s Spider Lake Resort on the Manitowish Waters is the place you are looking for. 

Our lakes are infested with fighting muskellunge, gamey bass walleyed pike. With one of these on your line, you are having the time of your life. 

Home-like meals, properly cooked, are served appetizingly and to please you. We use only the best of fresh fruits, meats, and poultry, no cold storage materials whatsoever, and our large garden provides home-grown vegetables for the daily menu. All cottages are electrically lighted and equipped with clean and excellent full-sized iron beds with the best of mattresses and springs. Some of the cottages have bathrooms complete with hot and cold running water.

The large pine and birch forests with their winding trails, the beautiful shorelines of our lakes, the moderate temperature, and the invigorating air can not be beat. Here you feel that “homey” atmosphere, the kind that makes you comfortable in your rough clothes and those suitable for outdoor life. We make it a point to do all possible for the comfort and pleasure of our guests. The cares and wants of the ladies and children are looked after personally by Mrs. T. J. Koerner.

Make your reservation now, so that suitable accommodations may be set apart for you. We certainly shall be pleased to have the opportunity to entertain you at Koerner’s Spider Lake Resort. 


Following is a letter sent to former guests of the resort, printed in imitation typewriter, under the letterhead: 

Just to let you know that Koerner’s Spider Lake Resort opens on May 28 for the season of 1921.

Our fishing season for muskellunge and pike opens June 1 and no doubt you are looking forward to a few days of real good fishing on the Manitowish Waters. The Manitowish Waters Conservation Association has planted hundreds of cans of spawn, and has strictly enforced the protection of game fish in the past. This, therefore coupled with an early Spring, which caused the ice to go out about two weeks sooner than usual, permitting the fish to spawn a good deal earlier leaves no question in my mind, but that fishing will be the best at the opening of the season that it has been for many years.

The boats are all repainted and repaired, our resort is in first-class shape, and with our good chef, who will furnish you plenty of good things to eat, you may be sure of enjoying a very pleasant outing here. 

As our son Alvin, has taken such an interest in the business, to help make it a grand success, I have taken him into partnership, and hereafter we will be doing business under the name of T. J. Koerner & Son.

We are making reservations daily and if you are anticipating coming up, which we hope you are, I would advise you to make a reservation at once, so we can have your favorite room ready for you. 

With best wishes and kindest regards, we remain. 



Thank you for listening to this episode of Discovering the Northwoods. Our listeners can learn more about this rich history or about the historical society by checking out our website at If you enjoyed this episode or any previous episodes please review us wherever you listen to podcasts. To access our podcast you can go to our website at in the podcast section, or find us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Youtube, and Spreaker by searching “Discovering the Northwoods”. We greatly appreciate your support as a listener and we welcome feedback and also ideas for future episodes. Thank you!


All images are from the original article posted in “Good Example of Summer Resort Advertising,” published by The Hotel World: The Hotel and Travelers Journal, Chicago. January 1st, 1921.