In the very beginning, the original stewards of what is now Poh-Wah-Gom Passage were the First Nations peoples of northern Wisconsin. These were the Menominee, Ojibwe (Chippewa), Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) peoples. These people moved into this area possibly as early as 10,000 years ago. One hundred years ago the Chippewa were the dominant tribe in the Phelps area.
We formally recognize the forced removal of these indigenous people and want to recognize their continued presence in northern Wisconsin.
“When we talk about land, land is part of who we are. It’s a mixture of our blood, our past, our current, and our future. We carry our ancestors in us, as you all do, and they’re around us.”
Mary Lyons (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe)
Dr. Lester E. Frankenthal, Sr.’s predecessors emigrated to Chicago around 1850 from Germany. Among other things, they were involved in the formation of the first synagogue in Chicago. The Frankenthals were merchants and owned property in downtown Chicago.
The following account is taken from Katherine Anderson Frankenthal’s 1983 recollections.
In the earliest part of the last century, (circa 1908, 1909) in the summers, Dr. Frankenthal and his wife, Anne Elinor Nourse Frankenthal 1862 – 1950, would go for a short time to a resort on Lake Shisabogama, about 5 miles east of Woodruff. Sometime after that, with the Drake family (Chicago’s Drake Hotel) they took over all of John Frank’s resort on West Bay Lake, about 12 miles east of Land O’ Lakes. The senior Drakes and Frankenthals shared one primitive log-cabin, the girls from both families shared another cabin, the boys another cabin and the maids, another cabin still.
WWI broke out and travel to the North Woods stopped for the Frankenthals. In 1918 LEF Sr. bought a place on Lake Kentuck, sight unseen. When he finally saw his property, he discovered that it was all swamp. He threatened the unscrupulous realtor with court action and received his money back. He then went to speak with C.M. Christiansen about the Long Lake property Christiansen had recently started logging. Evidently, it was so beautiful that Dr. and Mrs. Frankenthal fell in love with it, and bought it.
The first year they put up three or four heavy canvas tents with wooden floors. In 1919, they built the first two cabins. In 1920 construction began on the Big House. During this period, much of their time was spent across the Lake at the old Hazen’s Long Lake Lodge. It was at Hazen’s that Lester Frankenthal Jr.(1900 – 1968) first met Katharine Anderson (1902 – 1993), who later became his wife. Katharine, also a Chicagoan, had been coming up to Long Lake since the year she was born. Her father, Charles Palmerston Anderson, was the bishop of the Episcopal Church of Chicago and had purchased a few acres very close to Hazen’s Lodge. The Bishop umpired the weekly softball games at Hazen’s softball field for many, many years, until his death in 1930. His descendants still own the original Anderson cabin, on Long Lake.