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Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:05 pm
by Mar3

I spend a lot of time in the great city of Tomahawk at my cabin on Road Lake off of County S. I would like to find out more about it's history and learn about who used to live there and if anyone has any photographs or items of interest that I could buy or copy I would appreciate it. Thank you!

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:58 pm
by Floyd Alvin
I can't believe you have not gotten some replies yet.

I only have vague memories going back well over 30 years but I'll try to prime the pump for you.

If memories severs me right, there used to be a rather popular bar at or near Road Lake back in the 60's.

Didn't the Grilles(sp?), Sandy and Rod live at Road Lake? Some one should know that.

I also seem to remember a baseball team or maybe it was a softball team, but I think it was baseball, that played in a local league. I will toss out a couple of name of guys that may have played on that team, David Koske and Kenny Osborne and maybe Art Zschau.

OK, that's all I got and some of it or maybe even all of it may be less then accurate, but maybe some one else can shed some light.

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:35 am
by Floyd Alvin
I just heard form David Koske and I was correct, he did play for Road Lake. But it was Bobby Carl, not Rod Grille (sp?) that I was thinking of.

Carls opened a night club where the Road Lake Bar used to be and it was a hopping place back in the 60's and 70's from what I understand. I do remember having dinner and dancing there as part of one of my class reunions.

Is it still there?

I see this thread has had over 200 views but no replies other then my own. I guess the rest of the viewers are suffering from CRS like I am. lol

CRS: Can't remember sh...

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:35 pm
by Old Scout
Johnny Kahle (correct spelling, pronounced "Karl") Had a bar on the south side of Road lake for many years. I recall my mother mentioning that there was also a swimming beach in the same area. Later when he retired his son Bobby took the bar over. This would have been in the early 70's. Later he built the new place called the Roadhause just east of the old bar at the end of the road. Some time later another group bought it and named it the Entertainer. It has been closed for many years. As I recall it may have been some time in the early 80's that it went out of business. Last time I was in the area the building is sitting empty and basically going to ruin, as it has not been taken care of at all.

Along with the Baseball team there was a lot going on out there. In the winter they used to hook sleds or toboggans to a rope and pull them around the lake with a tractor. In the 70's they also had some amateur Snowmobile races on the lake near the bar. It was a very popular place from the early 30's until some time in the 80's.

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:53 pm
by Floyd Alvin
Kahle, not Carl... now I remember...

Thanks Old Scout....

I think I remember those toboggan rides too now that you mention it...

Sad to hear about the Roadhouse failing... too bad... I remember it as a pretty nice place.

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Fri May 08, 2009 3:32 pm
by Steve

I grew up on the south shore of Road Lake in the 60's and early 70's. As children, we spent so much time on the water either fishing, swimming, skating or snowmobiling that I think we knew nearly every foot of shoreline.

Things around the lake have changed a lot since then. There used to be two active resorts, Allards (quite a few cabins covering the entire area north of The Big Moose up to the outlet creek) and Road Lake Resort (3 cabins) at the end of Road Lake Road. Both resorts had row boats available for their guests so there were always people out fishing for their next meal. I don't think there were any more than 15 permanant homes on the lake. All the rest of the development was summer only cottages. The owners of these cottages typically never arrived before Memorial Day weekend and closed them up for the year on Labor Day weekend. Instead of "long weekend" visits like you see now, the cottage owners usually stayed at least two weeks at a time, with some staying a month or longer.

The nightlife centered around the 3 bars/restaurants on the lake. The Casablanca Club (now The Big Moose) was owned by Chuck and Mert Mueller. They sold it to Lloyd Hilgendorf, who remodeled the restaurant and renamed it Hilgy's. Lloyd wanted something to attract attention to his restaurant so he purchased and installed the moose that sits out front today. That moose is somewhere around 45 years old. Lloyd later sold the business to Wally and Lil Bielke. They ran it as Bielke's for many years.
The bar some of the earlier posters referred to was owned by my grandfather. Johnny's was part of the Road Lake Resort. I don't know the dates, but I know he purchased the resort from his uncle, Archie Daigle. The bar was just down the hill from the Road Lake ballfield where the neighborhood County League baseball team played. There was a beach with a raft out in front of Grandpa's bar where we all swam after nearly every little league game or practice. Of course, while we were cooling off in the water, our parents were cooling their insides in the bar. The building that housed the bar is now holds apartments. Perhaps the most interesting establishment was on the far Northeast corner of the lake. Hoovie's Tic Toc Tap was a basement beer bar. This fine establishment was later operated by Greg and Sandy Myre, Nelson and Kit McCarthy (of Fletch's fame) and Mickey Koth. I think it stopped operating sometime in the early 1970's.

The sleds talked about in earlier posts were a neighborhood thrill/terror called "snow snakes". They consisted of 4 or 5 shallow wooden box type units chained together and pulled by sadistic guys on tractors. They did their best to "crack the whip" and send the poor souls on the back sleds sailing over any snowbanks in the area. They actually used to plow a track at the ballfield where they would pull us around and around. Joe Kahle and Norm Kahle were usually the tractor drivers.

All in all, it was a great area to grow up in. Plenty of kids, a lake, and a local ballfield. What more can a kid ask for.


Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Fri May 08, 2009 7:05 pm
by kmartell
Hi Steve,

What a great story and walk down memory lane...!!! Sounds like you had a great time growing up there !!!

You mention some things that jogged my memory of the Road Lake area...

Hoovies was the first bar I ever drank in as a teenager while in high school in '63 and '64. I remember going out there about a half dozen times on the weekends. They would have a rock 'n roll band playing and the place was definitely a-rocking. It was crowded and loud and smelly and hot and the beer was a-flowing. Everybody was dancing and having a great old time. I loved it!!! Used to sneak in with my girl friend and her older(22) brother and his wife. A perfect introduction to drinking !!! :twisted:

You also mention Kit McCarthy. If she's the same person I'm thinking of...did her parents own McCarthy's Bar on main street in Tomahawk in the 50s - 70s ? If so, she was a classmate of mine through grade and high school. Class of '64.

FWIW... I used to do most of my teenage drinking north of town (51 & County U, I think) at another basement bar called Sams...some English guy with a bum elbow owned it.

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Fri May 08, 2009 11:04 pm
by Old Scout
Ken, Mentioning Hoovies, sure does bring back the memories !! Never have figured out how all those people that had been drinking there for hours made it through the sharp corners on the road between the bar and 51. We must have been really good drivers ! :lol:

Kit McCarthy's parents owned McCarthy's bar on main street. Also the teen hangout in the back we called "The Hole". Always a great place on Fri. and Sat. night. She married Nelson Fletcher, who passed on a couple years back.

The bar out on U, (old 91) was actually run by a couple from Ireland, Sam and Ivy. They sold the place and moved back to the Old Sod when he retired.

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Sat May 09, 2009 3:53 pm
by tacrecon15
Hoovies and Sam's - now that brings back some fogged memories!! As does Kim's Cove (aka Elaine's?). And let us not forget Milo's and Tower Hill!! I do recall someone missing a turn coming back from Hoovies and landing in a swamp (a 57 T'Bird perhaps?). Wasn't Sam's near a lake? If so, then I recall a pretty good brawl took place there in the 60's. Also recall the big test was to try to get served without getting carded especially if underage (a real sign of maturity?).

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:09 am
by Floyd Alvin
There was a lot of accidents coming back form some of these bars. My brother put his 53 Chevy in the woods coming back form Hoovies one night, thank goodness no one was hurt.

I was the passenger in a Chevy Corvette that also found that same swamp as that 57 T-bird, and I remember the owner of that T-Bird very well. No one hurt here either.

But, I was also a passenger in 55 or 56 Chevy roll over coming back from Sam's. That time I was not so lucky. I ended up in the hospital with a concussion, the driver was not hurt. I can remember laying in that bed and hoping they would never let me out. I just knew that as soon as I healed up and was back in good health, my mother was going to whip me right back into that hospital. Of course she never did.

I also remember that brawl you mentioned and one at Hoovies.

Man were we stupid back in them days or what? Surprised we didn't kill ourselves with some of the dumb stuff we did. But we sure had a lot of fun most of the time!

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Mon May 11, 2009 12:05 pm
by kmartell
God certainly watches over fools and teenagers!!! Hey, arn't they the same thing?

Floyd, that roll over you mention...was that the one on 51 near Leather Avenue, near where the Nelsons Supermarket is? I have some vague memories...

I am really amazed how many of us survived into adulthood (I'm also amazed how many of us made it this long into adulthood :evil: ). Offhand I can't remember any tragedies (bad car crashes, etc) that happened with our classes back in the early 60s. We must have been very fortunate.

Scary to think about some of the stuff we did...and survived !!!

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Mon May 11, 2009 1:45 pm
by Steve

Those rock and roll bands you referred to at Hoovie's stole a lot of sleep from an 8 year old across the lake. I still remember the combination of loud music, people screaming and hollering, motors reving and screeching tires like it was last week. As soon as the music would stop, the other stuff would begin.

I think cars going in the ditch were a very common experience on the Road Lake version of "Dead Man's Curve". I even remember Hoovie himself missing those corners a time or two. Typical of Hoovie, he always claimed that he was run off the road by some sort of wild animal, usually something common like a rhinocerous or hippo. The town of Bradley recently softened the harshness of those two corners on Koth road. You would have thought Hoovie would have accomplished that years ago since he was town chairman at the time.

My recollections of that bar include all-day dartball tournaments and snowshoe softball games. I was not quite old enough to participate in either but I must have been old enough that my dad would take me along.


Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Mon May 11, 2009 3:52 pm
by Floyd Alvin
Ken, yes that is the one. We ended up in the ditch right in front of what was the Merrill Woolen Mills (?) I believe is what it used to be called.

I think the crash had more to do with ice then alcohol.

The only serious injury accident I remember was the one where the Corvette driven by a guy form somewhere else and his passenger were coming into Tomahawk and missed the curve just as you come into town, the one that was a bit further out from where the Alamo Plaza used to be. They were form Wausau if I remember correctly.

I belive one if not both of them were killed.

Steve, wasn't that the standard excuse, "a deer ran out in front of me"? :D

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Mon May 11, 2009 5:05 pm
by kmartell
Steve, I know how sound travels over water. I apologize for my part in causing any sleepless nights. And yes, that was probably me yelling " wadda ya mean 16 is too young to drink...I've got money and I drove here I MUST know what I'm doing !!!" :P

Floyd, that was me helping you out of the roll over. I remember that I didn't see any blood and guts and you seemed 'ok' 'different' than usual. Some vague memory of going back inside the overturned car to look for your wallet...or something like that. Way too long ago. I had to leave before the cops came because of the condition my condition was in. But at least I stopped and looked for any wounded and found none...but I had to quickly book. :wink:

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:56 pm
by Floyd Alvin
Dang so that's where my wallet and phony ID went! What a pal! :lol: :lol:

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Mon May 11, 2009 11:47 pm
by kmartell
Floyd, after all these years I have to confess I kept your phony ID because in a dark bar I could pass for you. Remember they didn't have pictures on the IDs back then. I guess I owe you one... :lol:


So Sunday I'm sitting on the grass watching my 10 year old nephew play socker and among the crowd of young parents walking around was this lady walking towards me with a freaking faded 'Tomahawk Wisconsin' t-shirt on.

Until then I thought I was the only person in the SF Bay Area that ever heard of our beloved town.

Turns out her grandparents are from Merrill and passed on to her their cottage on Silver Lake...only a short distance from Road Lake. Her husband and kids go up there every summer for 2 or 3 weeks vacation.

Their last names are Stillman. No relation to anyone around Tomahawk. Her husband and family are from Canada. I didn't get the grandparents name.

On Saturday I was wearing my old 'North For The Forth' t-shirt.

If I would have been wearing it Sunday it would have been some cosmic event to have bumped into this lady. Heart attack city !!!

What a coincydinky! I need a drink! That was way too freaky when I saw her walking towards me.

NOBODY knows about Tomahawk, Wisconsin around here!!! NOBODY knows about Wisconsin around here !!! Heck, when I tell someone I'm from Wisconsin they go into their stupid Fargo routine...wrong state, dude.

What do you all think...should I be worried ???

Serious comments only... :wink:

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Mon May 11, 2009 11:51 pm
by Old Scout
The corvette you are talking about landed in my parents front yard. They lived three houses south of the county garage. The car missed the curve, hit the snow bank, went air born, took off the power pole at the end of our driveway,and flipped end over end twice ending up in the yard. One guy was still in the car and the other was ejected. There was about 2 feet of snow and they found him when someone stepped on him under the snow where he had landed and slid. We spent half the spring raking broken pieces of fiberglass out of the yard. They sure do disintergrate when they are cold and hit something.

There were also a couple of teenagers killed some time later that missed the curve and hit the end of the culvert that went under our driveway. They too ended up in the front yard. Sometimes we were a little concerned wondering if that was really such a good place to live. :?

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Tue May 12, 2009 12:28 am
by Old Scout
Actually Ken, there are at least two people that I know of from my class (63) that live in the Bay area so you are not as alone as you think you are ! :)

After all, how many people from Tomahawk could they handle at one time ! :lol:

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Tue May 12, 2009 1:03 pm
by Floyd Alvin
Kenny Urso, Fred Milligan (sp?) and Ken Kruger were all in the Sacramento and/or Bay area at one time. But that was way back a number of years. Not sure where they are now.

Someone told me Urso moved back to Tomahawk once. But I'm not sure.

There are a number of THS'ers in the Golden state. has maybe a hundred or so THS alumni listed and a few list their location.

Old Scout is not as old as we thought he was. Class of 63, that was Urso and F. Milligan wasn't it? John Milligan, Freds' brother, was class of 65 with me.

Remember when Freddy had to spend all those months in the back brace and in bed? Horrible thing. I seen him when he was in college in Sacramento and he was just fine. I hope that is still the case.

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Tue May 12, 2009 1:37 pm
by kmartell
I know about Ken Kruger in Sacramento (about 125 miles from me)...ran into him at the CO64 reunion in Tomahawk in 2004. We've emailed back and forth a couple of times.

Steve Sorenson used to live out here back in the 70s and 80s. He's back in Tomahawk now.

I've heard that John Beiler's younger brother lives in the East Bay...just across the SF Bay from me.

Remember Susan Bourdow, she used to live somewhere on the SF Peninsula some years ago until her unfortunate passing.

The Floyd-ster lives somewhat south of me.

Other than the above and Urso and Milligan that's about all the Tomahawkers that I know of out here...I'm sure there are more from other classes though.

You're right Old Scout...I'm not feeling lonely anymore.

But it was still STRANGE to run into someone NOT FROM Tomahawk wearing one of the 'sacred' t-shirts !!! Go figure !!! :shock:

Are we far enough off the Road Lake topic yet ? :oops:

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Wed May 13, 2009 10:01 am
by ski_lover
Oh yea, Hoovies, Sam's, Tower Hill and many others in and around town (elsewhere, too.) Draft beer was a dime, then fifteen cents a glass, I forget what a Shorty cost. Anyhow that dang road ( if you want to call it that) going to Hoovies collected me on more than one occasion. Not sure if that was before a brew or coming form another place to see what was happening there.
I remember the dances when more than 500 of us would pack in Hoovies throughout the night. What a wild and crazy time for most of us yet somehow we managed to survive it. My family and I still go back and visit Gregg and Sandy, we'll be there for the 4th again this year. Took our exchange student last year so if you ever get to Germany and see someone wearing a Tomahawk t-shirt you'll know how it happened.
Was in Juarez, Mexico in early '71 drinking (what else?) and looked down the bar to see Salty Boldt doing the same thing. Knew then the world had gotten small.

Re: Road Lake history? Does anyone have any info, pictures?

Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 10:26 pm
by Mar3
THANK for all the posts! Road Lake sounds like it was a year round hopping place!
A lot of great memories and a lot fun happened there.
Does anyone have any old pictures of any Road Lake I could copy to hang on the wall like any of the old resorts or restuarants?

Sounds like those were the days !

Thanks Mark