Malmgren, Carol
History of White Birch Village, The
Ballard-Irving-White Birch Lakes Assn, Summer 2020 Newsletter, P. 6
Star Lake
Original Date

Notes Indian nams (White Elk One, Two, Three, Four) for White Birch, Ballard, Irving, and Laura Lakes.

  • Bookwood Historical Collection, Star Lake

The History of White Birch Village, as written by Carol Malmgren, edited by Jennifer Heitz

Legend has it that Native Americans had a village where the recreation building of White Birch Village Resort currently stands. There were sightings of white deer on the shores and the lake was called White Elk One, with Ballard, Irving and Laura named White Elk Two, Three and Four. The land was purchased from the U.S. government in 1875 by John Hoxi and was then known as White Birch Lake. Subsequently it was sold to the Menasha Wooden Ware Company and logged until 1910. A railroad spur had a trestle across White Birch Lake to haul lumber. The old dance hall from this time still remains as Hillcrest cabin. (*It's also possible that the lakes were named for white elk. The Boulder Junction area continues to have many albino deer, and elk also lived throughout northern Wisconsin until the 1880's when they were eliminated due to over-hunting and habitat loss.)

In 1915, the main lodge was built from a Montgomery Ward catalog order and in 1922 became the White Birch Resort Company. By 1930, there were five or six cabins, an ice house and a stable. It was said to be visited by many people from Chicago.

In 1941, the resort was purchased by Pat and Kelly Wilsie and became "Wilsie's White Birch Lodge”. In 1943, Carol Ackerson began vacationing at the resort with her parents. Carol remembers those first years with a shower house (with cold water), no electricity and an outhouse. About that time, it became an American Plan resort. Pat was very innovative and brought it to eleven cabins. After marrying Dick Malmgren, Carol continued coming to the lodge with husband and family. In 1963, the resort sold to Fred and Arlene Dreyfus and was renamed “Motel in the Woods”. They owned it for almost 20 years. Those were fun years for the Malmgren's. A memory from the mid-1970's concerns the clean towels delivered every day by cabin boy Joe Heitz to the consternation of their dog! During their vacation in 1981, Arlene approached Carol and Dick about buying one of the lots as they were selling. Crazy as it was, Carol and Dick went hom owning a resort. They spent the winter putting kitchens in all of the cabins and changed the name to White Birch Villa and it seems they have been building ever since. There are now 18 units plus 2 suites in the rebuilt lodge. In 2006, Ca and Dick retired and their daughter Sue and her husband John Altschwager became managers and have brought it to t present day.