Canoe group from Camp Idyle Wyld, Oneida County, Wisconsin.
When farming began to wane in Northwoods Wisconsin in the early- to mid-twentieth century, camps and resorts became a major component of the local economy. Located on the largest chain of inland lakes in the world, the community of Three Lakes drew visitors from around the country who came to relax, fish and play golf. Children, too, came from around the country to attend the large number of summer camps the area had to offer. This postcard depicts campers from Camp Idyle Wyld canoeing on Townline Lake, one of the twenty-eight lakes which make up the Three Lakes Chain. Camp Idyle Wyld was founded in 1916 and was the first girls’ camp in the state.
In Wisconsin’s Northwoods today, the visitor population has shifted from campers and resort-goers to retirees and short-term tourists. Camps are still popular but have decreased significantly, as have resorts. Instead of renting cabins, tourists are more likely to purchase lake homes or condos and come up mainly on the weekends, while many homes in the area are owned by retirees.
This week’s blog is curated by Breanna Norton. Breanna grew up in the Northwoods and has lived, worked and studied in Wisconsin most of her life. She completed her undergraduate degree at UW-Madison in Anthropology, Archaeology and Material Culture and is currently searching for that perfect museum job.