Our Mission is: "To continue the over 100-year presence of family heritage, culture and rich human tradition on Isle Royale; to assure the preservation of historic family dwellings; to enhance the experience of NPS staff and Park visitors by serving as authentic links to Isle Royale's rich human history."

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Enar Strom

On 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”. 

Under 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.

Enar 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.


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Last modified: June 28, 2007