August 20, 2007, Enar Strom died unexpectedly on Barnum Island. Enar was 79
years old. He was known on Isle Royale as the “caretaker” of Washington Harbor.
He spent the last quarter of a century with his wife Betty, who grew up on
Washington Island, from spring through fall living in the AC Andrews cabin on
Barnum Island. Enar took care of, and restored many of the historic buildings
and docks on Barnum Island and Washington Island. These include the big and
little fish houses, nearly all of the cabins on Washington Island, the big
boathouse, the Barnum Cabin, the Dunwoody Cabin, the AC Andrews Cabin, the first
Barnum log house, all of which are still standing and in pretty good shape as a
result of Enar’s dedication to preserving the cultural history of the area.
Enar was a man of many abilities. He had a unique
spirit of warmth, friendliness and a keen intelligence, which was particularly
on display in his sense of humor. People of all ages and backgrounds could
immediately recognize what a wonderful person he was upon first meeting him. He
was a man unafraid to show his faith and patriotism and particularly his love of
Isle Royale. At every evening meal he would say grace by singing, as would all
the guests “Oh the Lord’s Been Good to Me”.
the best of circumstances working conditions on Isle Royale are not easy. His
preservation work on the island demonstrated a decided innovativeness, and
resourcefulness in rebuilding and restoring buildings and structures that are
eligible for the National Register of Historic Sites. He often worked alone,
and was tireless in his efforts.
Enar was beloved by all, crossing every generation. He
had a particularly close relationship with NPS personnel, who frequently visited
Enar and Betty. Every fall Enar and Betty hosted a traditional Thanksgiving
dinner for all park people who remained in Washington Harbor. It was during the
fall season that Enar and Betty participated in the fall assessment fishing for
many years, along with Milford and Monica Johnson of Amygdaloid Island.
believed in the goals and efforts of IRFFA and attended summer meetings on both
ends of the island. He planned to attend his first winter IRFFA meeting this
year as he and Betty had moved their winter home from Arizona back to northern
Minnesota. Though he won’t be there, IRFFA plans to feature a tribute to Enar as
part of our dinner program, which will be held in Duluth at the Inn on Lake
Superior on January 19, 2008.
AUGUST 20: A DAY
OF SADNESS AND “OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE”
It was a day of shock, grief, sadness and “outstanding performance” as outlined
by the letter by Lou Schindler, Barnum Island resident, to Phyllis Green, the
Superintendent of Isle Royale National Park. The drama of that day will never
be forgotten by those involved. Lou’s letter is one of thanks and appreciation
for the work of the many NPS personnel who rendered assistance to Enar that day.
We are sharing this letter to honor those people.
SUMMER MEETING ON BELLE ISLE
IRFFA Summer Meeting held on Belle Isle was attended by about 33 IRFFA members.
After the meeting, a dinner was held on Johnson Island, hosted by Jim and Carla
Anderson and Paul and Patty Stariha. We were very pleased to have Dr. Phil
Scarpino as an honored guest. Dr. Scarpino is conducting a Context Study for NPS
that is due out in 2008. We were also pleased to have Liz Valencia, NPS Chief of
Interpretation and Cultural Resources with us for the dinner.
Phil Scarpino talking to IRFFA
INTERPRETIVE PROGRAM AT WINDIGO
Barnum, great grandson of George G. Barnum held an interpretive program at
Windigo Ranger Station on behalf of IRFFA on July 25th. The topic was the
history of George G. Barnum I and his life and times, and his unique connection
to Isle Royale. It was a well attended and received program.
7TH WINTER MEETING TO BE
HELD IN DULUTH JANUARY 19, 2008
IRFFA will be
holding its 7th winter meeting in Duluth at the Inn on the Lake. The
day meeting will go from 10am – 4pm with a lunch break. The IRFFA board is
working on the agenda for the day meeting. There will be more information on
this at a later date.
meeting will be followed by a social hour at 6pm, dinner and an evening program
featuring a tribute to Enar Strom.
The Inn at the
Lake will make rooms available to IRFFA members for $99.00 per night. Please
contact the Inn for reservation. Contact David Barnum at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (847)639-2446 for any
OF STOKES MEDIA HOUSE DOES IR FLYOVER FILMING
On June 16th
David Stokes, photojournalist and documentarian did a filming flyover of Isle
Royale. Peter Schliep of Barnum Island supplied the airplane and pilot skills.
The flyover was done with permission and in coordination with NPS. The primary
focus of the filming was to get aerial shots of the various cultural landscapes
around the island including Washington Harbor, Crystal Cove, Belle Isle, Tobin
Harbor, Rock Harbor and Siskiwit Bay. Most of the filming was done above 3000
feet AGL. It is anticipated that further aerial filming will be done next