The Guestbook has been moved - please click here
Below are the old entries to the Guestbook prior to Nov. 2005
Haven't been Isle Royale yet. Plan on making a trip next summer. My cousins are the Holte's. My grandfather's sister married Chris Holte. You have a good site here. I'm looking forward to the families section when you get more done.
Chris Roed <email@example.com>
Whir Bear Lake, MN USA - Sunday, October 2, 2005 at 08:24:01
wow, i don't know if anybody will recognize my name but I lived in the Stack house in Tobins Harbor, great site!!
Bellingham, WA USA - Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 14:34:32
I'm looking for photographs from Isle Royale families who hold life lease to their families cabins. We have interview Grant Merritt for this story. The story will be published in the Wilderness News, a publication of the Quetico Superior Foundation. Will need photos (b/w or color) by August 3rd/4th.
Thanks for your help
Tim Eaton , editor for the newsletter.
Timothy Eaton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Minneapolis, Mn USA - Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 09:50:29
Especially enjoyed looking at the pictures of the cabin restoration. I feel very priveleged to have been involved in the recent (July 2005) initial restoration of the Barnum Island boathouse. Rebuilding the log crib was demanding work, but the end result was extremely rewarding!
Chris F Edwardson <email@example.com>
Duluth, MN United States - Monday, July 25, 2005 at 20:00:26
I hope you'll continue to take good care, I'll be sure to stop by and read this often.
Isabella Lang <firstname.lastname@example.org>
NY, NY USA - Thursday, July 14, 2005 at 17:09:55
Hi everyone! I was so happy to meet some of you at last.Our family does have pictures of the island when grampa Anderson was living there. (Arthur and Elva Anderson, Tobins Harbor)We also have some from my dad Jimmy Anderson. I really loved hearing the stories about my family. I'll be in touch. Have a great year! Kathy
Kathy (Anderson) Lucente <email@example.com>
Libertyville, Il USA - Wednesday, February 2, 2005 at 14:22:58
Isle Royale 2004 exceeded my expectations.
David C. Barnum <dcbarnum@aolcom>
Cary, IL USA - Sunday, November 28, 2004 at 02:19:23
My Grandfather and great Grandfather were lighthouse keepers on the island. My Dad has many letters about life on the island.
Susan Malone <firstname.lastname@example.org>
St. Michael, Mn USA - Sunday, June 20, 2004 at 19:23:06
Congrats on the website and apologies for my lack of contributions.
I was the deckhand on the Voyageur II from the start of the season 1989
until mid-July when I departed due to a death in the family .I note that the
RUDE family , east end of the Island isn't on this site . The JOHNSON family , I
recall related to the Sivertsons . Had a relief Captain on the Voyageur II one
trip, as I recall . Former USCG .
Hi folks! I can't believe it's taken me so long to get onto this site!
What a great source of history! I haven't looked at it all yet but I didn't know
if folks knew that my grandmother Bylo (Mary) Farmer passed away last year. I
hope to get up this year to celebrate her life. I feel pretty special to have
had the chance to spend some summers up there as well as share her name!
I have never been to Isle Royale. However, my grandfather
Hi this web site is great. I grew up visting Chrystal Cove. My
g-grandparents are Milford and Myrtle Johnson, and my grandparents run the
Wenona to and from Isle Royal. I love it there and i have taken my 6yr. old
daughter every year since she was 5 mouths old and she loves it. We are going
there in August coming up here soon. Amyjo Tatge
The WEB site for Isle Royale Families and Friends (IRFFA) and the
organization itself are now appropriately expanding to include many friends who
have over the years treasured their experiences on the Island even though they
don't have connections to a specific property. Our total network is rich in
human history and connections.
Hi! What a wonderful website you're developing. I've come to it by a
somewhat circuitous route. I'm married to Peter Oikarinen and we've been
discussing your efforts to preserve the cultural history of the island in spite
of the Park Service's unwillingness to acknowledge the presence of working
families on the island over the years. Ironically, I was also Jessica Gale's
Advanced Placement English teacher at Calumet High School and the essay she
wrote documenting the Gale family's adventures on the island won the Mac
Frimodig Essay and Scholarship competition sponsored by the Keweenaw County
Historical Society. I've been engaged in having my students do original
documentary essays during their senior year since the mid-1980's. Jessica's was
one of the finest. I'm also a poet and Keweenaw County native and my book,
Watermarks:Poems from the Coast of Keweenaw, celebrates the people and
traditions of the Copper Country. I wish you the best and if there's anything I
can do to further your cause, let me know! I can be reached at email@example.com
Peter and I have already discussed the possibility of a "new" documentary
narrative about the people and history of Barnum Island. There are wonderful
opportunities here to explore some ideas!
I have several photographs taken in 1935. They include Chippewa Harbor,
Belle Isle, Capt. Arthur Tormula(holding a 21 pound pike), McCargo Cove boats
and buildings, Washington Harbor, and the Johnson Family at Chippewa Harbor. The
Johnson family photo shows a woman playing banjo, another woman playing fiddle
and a man playing accordion. I am most interested in the last photo of the
musicians since I also play fiddle and am interested in Michigan fiddle music.
Can anyone provide more information on the musicians? I will be glad to share
I have copied the comments by "Capt Willie Kurtz" to the message board. I
invite you to add you views to his statement on the message board under the
thread "are we laughable?"
Your "mission statement" would be laughable if it wasn't so self
serving.When your lease is up move on and quite whining. To presume to be a
"cultural link" for park visitors is absurd. Who wouldn't want a cottage at Isle
Royale, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, etc. This park isn't reserved for a
precious few(Barnum, Gale, Merrit) but for all Americans. When the agreement
lease is up, gather up, and leave. Be thankful for the history your family was
able to accrue on the island.
I have some pictures taken on and around the island of my Dad when he
fished with my great grandfather Andrew Rude. I think I have some original nets
and net mending equipment that was used at Fishermans home that my Dad left me
when he passed away.He also used to fish with Sam Rude. I still have a relative
that I visit every year in West Duluth. She is 92 years old and the last
remaining sibling of Andrew Rude. Her name is Florence Hansen. Andrew Rude had
We first heard about Isle Royale from my mom and dad, Ernie and Myrtle
Larson, who visited there on the America when dad's employer, Clyde Iron Works,
held company outings at Singer Hotel in the '20s. Bud Sivertson and I went to
school together, and he brought me to Washington Island a few times while we
were in high school. My wife Donna and I honeymooned at Windigo in June 1955. Ed
Olson took us over on the Disturbance, and Hal Mattson took us trolling on the
Here 'Tis. For a while we owned the 24-foot gas boat, Picnic, and circled the
Island with it when our children were small and learning about camping. We kept
it in Andrews' boathouse on Barnum Island. George Barnum invited us to use
Sunset Cottage for a week back in the '60s, and we have often visited the
Sivertsons and Stroms and have known many Island people over the years. Art,
Myrtle, Stanley and Clara became close friends during the many years we prepared
advertising materials for their boat service. Our daughter and Liz Sivertson
were once chambermaids at Rock Harbor Lodge. We are pleased with David Barnum's
initiative to preserve an important part of the Island's cultural heritage. We
are also impressed with the open-minded new management for this special park.
WE DID IT!! KEPT OUR PROMISE OF "GOING HOME" AGAIN THIS YEAR. MY HUSBAND
AND I TOOK THE BOAT FROM GRAND PORTAGE AND WERE ABLE TO VISIT THE WHOLE TRIP
WITH MEL AND MONICA JOHNSON (MY COUSIN & WIFE) ON BOARD THE WENONAH. WHAT A
GREAT TIME WE HAD. WAS VERY IMPRESSED WITH WINDIGO AND ITS FACILITIES. HARD TO
BELIEVE THERE IS ACTUALLY FLUSH TOILETS AND ELECTRIC HAND DRYERS --WHAT A CHANGE
FROM WHEN WE LIVED AT CHIPPEWA HARBOR (UNTIL 1953).!! ALSO HAD A CHANCE TO VISIT
WITH THE PARK RANGERS THERE AND SHOWED THEM PICTURES OF WHAT CHIPPEWA HARBOR
USED TO LOOK LIKE AND HOW WE ALL LIVED THERE. NEEDLESS TO SAY, THEY WERE A
LITTLE AMAZED AT WHAT ACTUALLY WAS THERE A LONG TIME AGO. THAT TRIP WAS ON
FRIDAY. ON SATURDAY WE AGAIN BOARDED THE VOYAGER AND WENT TO ROCK HARBOR LODGE
AND STAYED THE NIGHT. SUNDAY LEFT FOR GRAND PORTAGE AGAIN. WE WERE LUCKY THERE
WERE HIKERS TO PICK UP AT CHIPPEWA SO I REALLY WAS ABLE TO "GO HOME" AGAIN.
LOOKED THE SAME TO ME AND I HAD THE ADVANTAGE OF CLOSING MY EYES AND "SEEING"
ALL THAT OTHERS COULD NOT. AT WINDAGO, WE AGAIN BOARDED THE WENONAH TO CONTINUE
OUR VISIT WITH THE JOHNSONS. SURPRISE - THERE WAS ALSO ANOTHER 2ND COUSIN AND
FAMILY ON BOARD ALSO. ISLE ROYALE FAMILIES REALLY ARE EXTENDED AND THE BOND
NEVER DISAPPEARS EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT RELATED. SO---ALL SAID--WE REALLY HAD A
GREAT TIME AND WILL BE BACK AGAIN NEXT YEAR. WILL TRY AND GET SOME PICTURES
ADDED TO THE ALBUM HERE WHEN POSSIBLE. THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR HARD WORK ON THE
WEB SITE. WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM ANY OTHER "ISLE ROYALE ORIGINAL".
I have only visited Isle Royale once, in the summer of 1991,
I visited Washington Island over the past weekend (July 13-14, 2002) and
had a tour of Barnum Island. What a wonderful place, and what an informative
website! I will follow your "cause" with interest! Thanks David!
What an almost incredible understanding of the past this 5th generation
Barnum conveys, as his deep respect for the island gathers supporters. We've
known so many of these various family members who were far from "enthusiasts,"
they just accepted Isle Royale as "where they lived - and it sure beat
Very nice website. Eventually I'll add some of my favorite shots, several
from a still memorable ride around the island in '99 with Mark Rude. I've only
made six trips to Isle Royale, but I've had moments out there unrivalled by
trips to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades or anywhere else. A glorious aurora
borealis show from Siskiwit Bay. The late September hike from Little Todd to
Siskiwit in full autumn color. An afternoon on the shore of Lake Desor. Its a
I have made 20 week long fishing excursions in mid-July over the past 25
years. I should have started going there many years sooner. Someday I'll have my
own boat to make the journey. I start planning my next year's trip on my boat
trip back from Isle Royale to Grand Portage. This is a special place for hikers,
naturalists, canoeists/kayckers and yes even the former fishing families and
I have been extremely fortunate to grow up spending time each summer in
Washington Harbor. As a child I looked forward to family picnics, evenings on
sunset rock, and hide and seek in the dark. We anxiously awaited the arrival of
the Wenonah each day, and for Grandpa (Stanley Sivertson)to blow the whistle and
wave. As an adult, I look forward to the time I can spend on the island, and
hope that my children have the same fortunate opportunity to grow up there as I
Great new web site. What a unique way to enlighten the general public of
the history of Isle Royale life and families. I was raised at Chippewa Harbor,
daughter of Holger and Lucy Johnson. Father passed away Nov 1953 and mother,
November 1976. My last year living on the Island was summer of 1953. Have only
been back once, in 1963 to visit with Mel and Myrtle Johnson, my Uncle and Aunt.
Time, work and family has not allowed a return trip until now. My husband and
son and friends visited by boat from Copper Harbor last summer and stayed at
Chippewa for a couple of days. My husband and I are planning a trip from Grand
Portage to Rock Harbor July this year. It will be so good to "go home again".
Hopefully there will be more visits.
I greatly enjoyed seeing the variety of pictures. I hope that people will
continue to add pictures. I'm looking forward to being up to the island, and I
hope to meet some of the people on the other side of the island this summer.
My stepdad is Greg Snell he married my mom nine years ago last week,
horray for me, and my daughter! Now we know what the rest of you do, what an
honor and a privledge it is to have a unique access to such a glorious place.
Really enjoy the older photos and any stories you might have, especially
regarding anyones expieriences in the late fall or winter, it those stories
exist. Cross country skiing, snowshoeing, I can only imagine. Great Job on the
website what a wonderful way to communicate with those who share a common
I have been told repeatedly how rich my heritage is because of the roots
it has in Isle Royale. I wait in anticipation for each summer to roll around in
order to get to the island. The memories I have of Isle Royale are vast and
cherished. I can only pray that future generations of us "Sivertsons" can
continue to invest our lives and hard work (Thanks Grandpa Enar and Grandma
Betty) into future memories on the island.
This is a great site! I am a fifth generation Isle Royale Sivertson family
member (my grandparents are Betty and Enar Strom; Betty's father was Art
Sivertson, grandfather was Sam Sivertson) I look forward to my Washington Harbor
visits every summer, and my prayer is that the families maintain their heritages
on the island, for my future kids' sake! I am passing along this site to the
rest of Betty and Enar's 20 grandchildren.
Great idea! I put on some pictures of our early days on the Island. I
mentioned a couple of URLs for related web sites: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/GallopingGhost.pdf
What a wonderful idea! We also have many photos we would be happy to
share. I hope this will become an important communication tool for all of the
life-leesees. We have many common interests, and it would be great if we could
work together on some of them. Thanks for doing it.
Hi fellow life leasees--This is very nice and what a good idea. Many of
you may not know but my dad, Dave Connolly, died this year. He had suffered for
a few years with Alzhemeir's. Until the last year of his life the mention of
Isle Royale would spark a glint in his eye. He would tell stories or listen
avidly to any news about his beloved island. His first summer there was in 1911
when he was 9 months old. In the days before plastic baby holders he was put in
a butter crock to observe the goings on. I believe his last year there was in
1994. He had been coming up since the mid 80's with his buddy Bill Collins and
raising all sorts of devilment on the island.
This website is great. I hope to contribute something. We will get some
photos but I would also like to try to donate some interesting film, if it's
possible. My father passed away this summer (Jud Snell.) I happened to be on the
Island at the time of his death, received great support from the rangers and was
able to get to Phoenix within 24 hours of the news. Tommy flew in on a Sunday to
get us, our stuff went back on the Queen, we drove all night to MPLS., and flew
to Phoenix, it was quite a time. When going through my father's garage I found a
strange box with several old flims. Three of them were labled "Isle Royale." The
oldest is from 1929. I have no idea who shot the film, they could be from my
grandfather Roy or Betty Savage's family. My father married Betty later in life.
They spent summers together at Isle Royale and got back together many years
Super!!! I waited a long time to see this happen. I enjoy passing all the
history of Isle Royale and the Original Families that lived there on to the
lodge guest that tour aboard the MV Sandy.
I'm so glad to see all who have had the chance to write in.
This is a beautiful website creating a wonderful opportunity for
discussion and interface between us all. Thanks to those who spearheaded it's
This is a great idea. I hope more people log on and use the web site. Isle
Royale has always been so important to our family. I've only missed 3-4 summers
in the 43 years Grant and I have been married. Keep up the good work.
Glad to see this leap forward for IROFA.
Thanks to all involved in getting this site up and running. I hope my
family (Merritt's) can help add to it and pass on the word that it exists. We
all have so much to share here about our 'island paradise!'
We have many pictures dating back to 1934, Captain Kidd Island, Belle Isle
area. Another primary link to the island was lost when Marjorie McPherren died
on September 16, 2001. Who's left? Bylo Farmer,.... Thanks to all who care about
and are attempting to preserve the histories and continuation of Isle Royale
Original Families. We share a unique heritage.
Always searching and interested to preserve historic photos that have not
been included in the book published in 1995 or already donated to the park
service. The key moving forward is to create and continue positive dialogue
among all the interest groups that have real and valid attachments to Isle
Royale. That will triumph over a lack of vision.
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