In the early twentieth century, groups of friends established their own summer resorts in Wisconsin’s lake country, where they could fish and relax. In 1906, F. P. Cronkhite, a dentist and avid fisherman, assembled friends and their families to form the Wismo Angling Club along the south shore of Lac Courte Oreilles. The club’s charter members were from St. Joseph, Missouri, and the name Wismo combined Wisconsin with Missouri. Later members came from other states. To enhance the romance of their summer getaways, they employed Ojibwe (Chippewa) guides and joined in dances at the reservation nearby.
A romantic spirit also infused the architecture of the Wismo Club. Drawing on a Rustic aesthetic that articulated romanticized notions of the pioneer past, their resort buildings featured log, wood, and stone. The initial clubhouse consisted of a one-story log building, which was expanded to two stories in 1909. Later, the members added a boathouse and log and weatherboard cabins. The Bartlett Cabin (7045 N. Wismo Lane), in particular, exemplifies the Rustic architecture popular for Northwoods resorts. Built around 1910, the cabin consists of half-round logs, chinked with mortar and joined at the corners with saddle notches. Gabled dormers with shingled walls and a fieldstone chimney pierce the side-gabled roof. Perhaps the most important feature for Wismo guests was the screened sleeping porch across the front, which provided insect-free shelter while allowing visitors to feel that they were in the great outdoors.