Goodspeed, Charles Ten Broeke
Thomas Wakefield Goodspeed
Kessinger Legacy Reprintsd
Univeristy of Chicago Press
Original Date

Full text reproduced here contains all reference to Minocqua and Plum Lake. Many names of persons on Plum Lake are included, as well as a bit of Sayner history. It mentions the railroad arriving in Star Lake.

  • Bookwood Historical Collection, Star Lake
  • UW Madison/Wis Hist Soc

Text references to Minocqua and Plum Lake:

[P. 24]  For the next three years [following 1882] the Goodspeeds enjoyed brief summer vacations on the lakes of northern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin.  In 1886 Dr. Northrup, Dr. Hulbert, Dr. Goodspeed and his boys, spent a month in a rough cabin in the ten almost unbroken wilderness surrounding the Upper Eagle chain of lakes in Oneida County, Wisconsin, not far from Three Lakes.  The next year the three men, with Dr. Northrup’s son George, spent some weeks camping on Torch Lake near the east shore of Lake Michigan.  In 1888 the Gogebic Club, of which Henry E. Thayer of Morgan Park was president, invited Dr. Goodspeed to join its members in camping on Big Tomahawk Lake near Minocqua, [p. 25] Wisconsin. Mr. and Mrs. Goodspeed and the boys spent four weeks camping with the club.  They made a visit to Minocqua and were charmed with the lakes that surround the town, and resolved to spend a vacation there.  The next year they did so, renting a little frame cottage from the local carpenter.

In 1889 they selected the finest point on the mainland west of the town, and without considering it necessary to ask anyone’s consent, put up a frame shack twelve feet by twenty-four, with a roof of tar paper.  This was Dr. Goodspeed’s first country home, and the family enjoyed it so greatly that they used it a second season, adding a six by twelve “lean-to.”  Althou9gh this house was only roughly boarded up for summer use, someone used it for at least part of the winter of 2889-90, pasting newspapers on the inside of the walls.

[P. 36] When they reached $200,000 [contributed for the University of Chicago], Dr. Goodspeed and his family went up to Minocqua, Wisconsin, for a month’s vacation in the little frame house described in the last chapter, building it themselves, with a little aid from a carpenter.

[P. 59] From the completion of the raising of the first fund for founding the University [of Chicago] until his death, a month’s vacation in the north woods was a regular part of Dr. Goodspeed’s life.  In 1891 it was spent on Island, now Sunday, Lake, a few miles west of Minocqua.  In 1892, 1893, and 1894, delightful vacations were passed as John Mann’s botel, the Manitowish, on Trout Lake, a dozen miles north of the same town.  The great event of that summer was the discovery of Plum Lake.  The Goodspeeds were fond of exploring, and seeingf this long narrow lake on the map miles from any town and far from any railroad or even wagon road, they decided they must visit it.  After crossing three lakes and three portages, they came out at last in a beautiful open grove of Norway pines, a few hundred yards southwest of where the Warwick Woods Girls’ Camp now is.  From this point the longest view on the lake can be had.  There was not a clearing or even a boat in sight.  It was exactly as nature made it, and one of the loveliest lakes in the country.  The returned, set on spending a summer there.  During the next winter they learned that O. W.  Sayner was opening a resort on the lake, and that the Chicago, Milwau- [p. 60] kee and St. Paul Railroad had built a branch line to Star Lake to serve the great sawmill being built there.

In the summer of 1895, therefore, Dr. Goodspeed, his nephew, George S. Goodspeed, and their families spent an enjoyable vacation at the new wilderness resort.  The party was early attracted to the high wooded island in the middle of the lake.  Later in the season it occurred to them that they might build a rough cabin there for use the next year.  It was government land, so that no one was likely to object.  They therefore spent the last few days of their vacation in starting a cabin of small upright logs.

Dr. Goodspeed wrote of this cabin: “Had it been built by others, we should have found a score of things to be dissatisfied with.  The fireplace smoked; the cracks in the floor let in the cold air; the roof sagged, the rafters being too few and therefore too far apart.  Rain came in about the windows and the construction generally was far from perfect; but it was our own.  We had built if with our own hands.  We, who knew nothing about carpentry, had constructed our own house.  I compared fairly with the two or three other wilderness houses on the lake, and we took immense satisfaction in it, imperfect and poorly constructed as it was.”

This cabin was intended merely as a temporary shelter to be used a couple of summers and then abandoned.  They enjoyed it so much, however, that they began soon to make improvements, to add conveniences and then extra rooms.  After a fewe years efforts were initiated, which, after a long delay, resulted in obtaining from the government a titles to the island, which was named Paradise Island.

As the years passed, many cottages were built about the lake, and a village grew up at the railroad station.  Dr. Goodspeed, as one of the oldest settlers, came to e a well-known and prominent member of the community.  Although he had ceased to be a pastor fifteen years before going to Plum Lake, he was looked upon as a kind of pastor of the community in the early days.  When the village storekeeper’s baby died, he was asked to conduct the funeral; and when Judge William C. Hook, the eminent United States Circuit Court judge, died as his country place on the lake, Dr. Goodspeed conducted the services in the open air under [p. 61] the pines, befor ethe funeral party started by boat for the train on their way back to Leavenworth, beginning his remarks with the words of Zechariah, “Wail, O fir tree, for the cedar is fallen.”

Up to the time he was seventy, Dr. Goodspeed had never handled a golf club.  Then Mr. Fred S. James, a near neighbor at Plum Lake, whose family were golf experts and enthusiasts, financed the starting of a golf club.  As a matter of public spirit, Dr. Goodspeed attended the organization meeting.  He shortly became treasurer and principal recruiter of membership.  He became a regular user of the course and an enthusiastic golfer.  He never became a good player, but could be relied on to play an accurate and careful game and, with the aid of a generous handicap, one won a cup from a large field.

He remained treasurer for ten years and found greaat enjoyment in the friendship of Mr. James, Judge Hook, [Wisconsin State] Senator A. L Kreutzer, Robert W. Wilmot, and Mr. Joseph M. Hixon, the “elder statesmen” of the lake, as they were called.

Not only was Dr. Goodspeed a skilled oarsman, he was also an expert swimmer, to which accomplishment he and his companion probably owed their lives wen their canoe was upset in midlake one day after he was seventy-seven years of age.  Until he ws eighty he always began his swim by diving off the pier.

[P. 64] On his birthday, September 4, 1916, he and Mrs. Goodspeed celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at Plum Lake, in the attractive new house which that year replaced the old cabin.  In the evening the Plum Lake friends gathered to extend their congratulations, rounding out a joyful and memorable day.

[P. 69] Two years later [1924] the family motored from Plum Lake to the Black Hills, thence to Estes Park, across Wyoming to the Tetons and the Yellowstone, and home by way of Montana and North Dakota.  He was much interested, especially, to see Yellowstone Park.

[P. 70] In May of that year [1927], the new President [of the University of Chicago] asked hiim to prepare a biogaphy of President Harper.  Mrs. Harper and Professor Samuel N. Harper added their request, and in view of their combined wishes, he promised to undertake it.  He at once began a study of the immense mass of material available....  He took the materials furnished by the family with him to Plum Lake and there wrote the story of Dr. Harper’s life before his coming to Morgan Park.  During this vacation a definite paralysis of the right side of his face developed.  Returning to Chicago in late September, he was fortunate in obtaining the help of Mr. J. V. Nash in the examination of the Presiden’t files....   [He died on December 16, 1927.]

[Note: The author, Charles Ten Broeke Goodspeed is one of two sons of Dr. Goodspeed, the other being Edgar Johnson Goodspeed. They are never referred to by name in the book, only as “his sons” or as part of “the family.” It should be noted that Charles Goodspeed was present for most of the acitvities described at Plum Lake, so that this really should be considered a first person account.]