Manitowish Waters, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society placed the Voss’ Birchwood Lodge (Manitowish Waters, Vilas County) on the State Register of Historic Places.
The Voss’ Birchwood Lodge, still in continuous use and operated by descendants of the founding family, is a rare survivor of the golden age of resort building in the north woods. Henry and Ruth Voss established their resort in 1910 on Spider Lake; today, Voss’ Birchwood Lodge is one of Vilas County’s finest and most intact collections of historic, “American Plan” summer resort buildings. These buildings are examples of the Rustic and Craftsman styles, and all but two were built between 1910 and 1933, the other two being examples of the Ranch style that were built in 1946. The lodge property includes the resort’s main lodge, its 12 guest cabins, a boat house, a fish-cleaning shack, staff living quarters, and two owner’s homes.
All of the cabins and lodge buildings were originally constructed with indoor plumbing and electricity, bring a certain level of comfort to the north woods experience. The “American Plan” means that meals were provided in a main lodge; these resorts were an important generator of tourism which was vital to the economy and social history of Vilas County. For over one hundred years, the operation of this lodge has always been a family affair, making this property a rare outlier due to its continued operation and ownership by the third and fourth generations of the resort’s founders.
The State Register is Wisconsin’s official list of state properties determined to be significant to Wisconsin’s heritage. The State Historic Preservation Office at the Wisconsin Historical Society administers both the State Register and National Register in Wisconsin.
To learn more about the State and National Register programs in Wisconsin, visit www.wisconsinhistory.org.
About Wisconsin Historical Society
The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services. For more information, visit www.wisconsinhistory.org