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Sylvania Club

In 1895, Albert Johnston from Wisconsin purchased 80 acres at the southern end of Clark Lake. He intended to cut the trees for lumber but fell in love with the old-growth forest and decided to build a home on the shore of the lake. Over the years, several of his wealthy friends bought parcels adjacent to Johnston’s land and together they formed the Sylvania Club, a private fishing and hunting retreat with a rustic road system and a network of trails.

Several lodges were built, among them the Wildwood Lodge, with 11 bedrooms, to accommodate members and guests, and the Thompson Lodge, with 16 bedrooms and 13 fireplaces and antique European furniture. The logs needed for construction were not trees cut in Sylvania but were brought in. All buildings were removed or destroyed in the 1970s because they were deemed incompatible with the Forest Service’s objective of maintaining Sylvania’s natural environment. (more text to come)

[Adapted from Lauritsen and Lauritsen 2006]

Thompson Lodge and interior

Lodge interiorThompson Lodge

Wildwood Lodge

Wildwood Lodge

Photos: ONF Archive

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