Last Update: Lodge goes to auction

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette At its June 20 meeting, the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge Board received its last monthly update before the lodge is put up for auction on July 26.

EAGLE RIVER — History was made on June 20, when Keweenaw Mountain Lodge Coordinator Harvey Desnick gave his last monthly KML update.

The lodge will be auctioned on July 26 and will pass from Keweenaw County ownership after more than 84 years.

“We are up and running, as everybody knows,” Desnick said. He informed the KML Board that both the Black Fly and Cukie Memorial tournaments set attendance records, with 43 golfers participating in the Black Fly, and 16 teams playing in the Cukie Memorial.

Partly due to good weather, he said, the lodge ended June “a couple of thousand dollars” over last June.

July, he said, is filling out.

“The dates around the auction are totally gone,” he said, “and August is filling up like normal. September is still the busiest month, so I think we still have a pretty good chance to make up some ground before the lodge, assuming, changes hands.”

Board member Del Rajala asked what would happen with the telephone contract the previous lodge manager had entered into, and Board Chairman Don Piche replied it will be turned over to the new owner.

During the height of the Great Depression, the federal government instituted an emergency work program, that would aid in reducing the unemployment situation. which started the Civil Works Administration in 1933. It was under this program that the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge began.

The lodge was the idea of Osceola Mining Company superintendent Ocha Potter, who knew the mining days of Keweenaw County were nearing their end. He sought to begin to convert the county’s industry from mining to tourism.

As a member of the Keweenaw County Road Commission, Potter was able to promote the idea of creating the lodge, and in the winter of 1933-34, the timber for construction was cut from what would become the fairways of the golf course.

In 1934, the CWA was eliminated and work on the lodge was taken over by the Work Projects Administration, which saw it through to completion.

Since then, it has been under the ownership of the county.