Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023
Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Monday, September 29, 2014

Of Golf and Football - Sat., Sept. 27, 2014

Bob got up early this morning to do a 14.8 mile run. He loved the cool temperature!

One of our goals today was to learn more about Bob's family ties in Sayner/Plum Lake, Wisconsin. The place we started was Plum Lake Golf Course (PLGC).

Bob's cousin, Suzy, told him Doc Alton (Bob's great uncle) had plaques in the clubhouse honoring him with Golf Memorial Tournaments in his name. We found them!

Information in quotes from the book One Hundred Years at Plum Lake Golf Club: "Doc taught golf at PLGC and he had many students out at the town ballpark hitting 7 irons and 9 irons, determined to get players out on the course knowing how to play the game. In addition, he served on the PLGC Board from 1974-1981. He was employed by the Interwoven Sock Co. and volunteered at the Vilas County Historical Society." Bob's Uncle Lloyd was employed as a caddy for the summer of 1949 at PLGC. Bob's Dad had also worked as a caddy at PLGC.

Doc Alton Memorial Champion plaques
Golf club sun porch view of Plum Lake
Long story short, we found that Bob's grandfather and great-grandfather and their families were very active in Sayner/Plum Lake, WI. His grandfather, Everett, worked as a fishing guide on Plum Lake, served on the PLGC Board from 1951-1962, was employed as a football coach at Roosevelt High School in Chicago, and then wrote a novel called "Gridiron Courage."

At the Golf Club, we hung out by Plum Lake for a bit, taking photos, enjoying the fall colors, and watching mergansers and a loon on the lake.

A family of mergansers enjoying a warm fall day at the lake.
At one time, Bob's grandfather co-owned Paradise Island and their family had a cabin there. They sold it back to the original owner's family 20 years later.
Paradise (AKA Goodspeed) Island in Plum Lake
Bob at Plum Lake
Bob with Paradise Island in the center.
Bob hanging out with the spirit of his ancestors
Me in front of Plum Lake Golf Club Clubhouse
We spent the next couple of hours at the Vilas Historical Museum. What a great find this little museum is. I found things in here that I hadn't seen since I was a kid! And even more things from before my time.

Dolls galore!
Singer treadle sewing machine (how I learned to sew)
Old typewriters (how I learned to type!)
Old washtubs (thankfully I never had to use those)
Flapper-era dresses (before my time)
Raccoon pelt coat
Satin wedding dress
Loom and spinning equipment (for you Karen Pfundtner!)
Real birchbark canoe
Birchbark canoe had this note on it.
As I mentioned yesterday, the first snowmobile was invented in this neck of the woods. Below is a photo of the prototype...

Original 1924 sled by Carl Eliason

The only snowmobile you could sit on.
Muskies, walleye, pike...lots of fighting game fish
Old-time swimwear
The museum was fun to wander through. By the end of our tour through the museum, the volunteer had pulled two files with information about Bob's relatives. That was an unexpected bonus. We sat down at a table and read through everything.
Bob's great-grandfather, his grandfather and great uncles
Ernest and Cora Alton built The Woodlands Resort at Plum Lake (Sayner)
The Woodlands Resort in Sayner, WI
That concluded our research on Bob's family roots. Just a bit more exploring to do.

This was Doc's house in Sayner
We think many Altons spent time in this pub through the years, so we stopped in and had lunch. If you're ever in Sayner, WI, this is a great place to eat. The food was awesome and the service was friendly.

A number of Altons are buried in Plum Lake Cemetery
Office at The Woodlands Resort
Ernest, Bob's great-grandfather, worked as a caretaker at Camp Highlands for Boys before he built The Woodlands Resort. A number of Alton boys have attended Camp Highlands.

Camp Highlands for Boys
Fall colors
All that research is hard work. We capped off our afternoon with ice cream cones in St. Germain at Cathy's Ice Cream 'n' Candy Shoppe. Excellent ice cream (32 flavors)!

It was getting on toward evening, so we shopped for hot dogs, hot dog buns, and some fruit. When we returned to the 5th wheel, we started a campfire and while that was heating up, we did four loads of laundry at Lynn Ann's Campground. Dinner was campfire-grilled hotdogs and four-bean salad. I should mention our temperature today was about 76 degrees.

What a great day!

Roots, as in Family History - Friday, Sept. 26

This morning, as we were getting ready to leave Derge County Park, Kevin and Evelyn came out to bid us adieu. We had all been so busy the only time we got together was Happy Hour and dinner on our first night there. We were happy they recommended Derge County Park in Beaver Dam to us and glad we were able to see them again.

From Derge County Park, we headed northwest through Randolph, Wisconsin, up to State Route 30. We took SR 30 west to Portage, WI where we then took I-39/U.S. 51 north. I drove most of the way on I-39 until Wausau, WI and the driving was great! Not much traffic, perfect weather and a beautiful drive. The fall colors are close to their peak.

Lots of windmills across the countryside
Fall colors
When we stopped for gas, Bob took over driving the remainder of the day. (Our total driving time for today was only about 1-1/2 hours.) He had smooth sailing as well until we saw the dreaded orange sign: Emergency Scene ahead. Two miles from the sign, the freeway was shut down and all cars were re-routed on state highways. We never did find out what happened. Thankfully, traffic on the state routes was light and we made good time to St. Germain, Wisconsin.

Our destination for two nights was Lynn Ann's Campground on Big St. Germain Lake.

Site #63 at Lynn Anne's Campground, St. Germain, WI
We had a huge back in site but the interior road by our site was narrow with trees and a campsite number sign close to where Bob had to turn the truck to back the 5er. Bob backed in like a pro and missed the trees and the signpost by about two inches. We bought firewood so we could have a campfire on one of our nights here.

As soon as we unhooked and set up the 5th wheel, we took off to explore St. Germain, Sayner and Plum Lake. You see, Bob had quite a few relatives who lived in Plum Lake, WI years ago. In fact, one of his relatives, a grandfather, I think, built a resort called, The Woodlands on Plum Lake. We wanted to find it and Plum Lake Golf Course where his dad worked as a caddy while in high school.

First off, we drove around St. Germain to get a feel for the town; found the grocery store, the Visitor Info Center/Chamber of Commerce and SR 155 to Sayner. It was late afternoon so we made the seven-mile drive north to Sayner and poked around.

Did you know that the first snowmobile was made in Sayner, WI? You can find out all you ever wanted to know about this area at Vilas Historical Museum in Sayner. The museum was closed for the day but would re-open the next morning. Guess where we'll be tomorrow?

History of the snowmobile
Paul Bunyan and Babe in front of Vilas Historical Museum
The museum had some informational brochures in a display outside. Bob picked up a brochure on Dr. Kate and the Million Penny Parade. Bob's mom had just mentioned her in a phone conversation with Bob earlier in the day. Here's the story from the Dr. Kate Museum and Historical Society brochure:
The country doctor has played a vital role in the history of Wisconsin's great Northwoods. Among the giants of the breed was Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb, who is remembered as "The Angel on Snowshoes" for her dedication in reaching patients when the winter roads were impassable.

A physician with a dream, Dr. Kate spear-headed a movement to build a hospital in tiny Woodruff. The lowly penny became a symbol of the project when local students sought to collect a million of them for Dr. Kate's hospital. The absurdity of it all, a humble Northwoods doctor and school kids collecting pennies to build a hospital, captured the imagination of the American people and the world. Donations of pennies came in from every state along with many foreign nations.

To preserve this moment when the dedication of one woman with a sense of community made the country cheer, the Dr. Kate Museum was created [in Woodruff, WI] in 1988.

From Sayner, we drove to the nearby community of Plum Lake. On the way to the golf course, we spotted a flock of wild turkeys.

Wild turkeys
Bob wanted to visit Plum Lake Golf Club where his dad had worked as a caddy during high school. We found it!

View from Plum Lake Golf Club
Looking across Plum Lake
Back porch of Plum Lake Golf Club. Beautiful spot!
Plum Lake Town Offices

Very nice benches in front of Town Offices
After exploring as much as we could this evening, we headed back to St. Germain for dinner. DJ's Northwoods Family Restaurant looked good, and was it ever. OMG. I had pecan-baked walleye and Bob tried the herb-baked cod. Our meal started out with rye bread, butter, and succulent baked beans. We chowed all that right on down. I have to say I don't remember what came with my pecan-baked walleye. The walleye was that good. The fish had a sweet sauce and melted in my mouth. We didn't walk away from that restaurant hungry. Normally the restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch, but recently added a Friday night "fish fry." We were happy about that.

DJ's Northwoods Family Restaurant
Today was a very relaxing day. We're happy to be on the "Roots" portion of our vacation. Tomorrow you will learn a lot more about Bob and his family roots.

Travel Bug out.