"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Alton, Ernest Z. proprietor of "The Woodlands," an attractive summer resort on Plum Lake in Vilas County, was born in Wadena County, Minnesota, Aug. 10, 1879, son of Charles A. and Zeonah (RAYNER) ALTON. The father died Oct. 25, 1898, and the mother is now residing at Bemidji, Minn. Ernest Z. ALTON received his education in the schools of Wadena County and remained at home until he was 17 years of age. Then, starting out for himself, he worked on farms and in the lumber woods until he was 20 yeaers old and then purchased a farm in Wadena County, which he operated for the following five years. In 1904 he sold out and came here to Vilas County. During his first winter here he was engaged in cutting box timber; the following year he drove a team for the Blue Grass Land and Lumber Co., and next he accepted a position as camp assistant at the Wisconsin Highland Camp for Boys, on Plum Lake. He was connected with the camp for 12 years, not losing a day from work during all that time. In 1917 he bought 14 acres of lake frontage and timber land on the north shore of Plum Lake and established his present resort, The Woodlands. On this property, which is situated in Section 29, town of Plum Lake, there was only one building at the time Mr. ALTON acquired it; today he has a fully developed summer resort which is operating on a successful, established basis. His main lodge is 30x30 feet in dimensions, and the dining hall is 30x40 feet, two stories high, with sleeping accommodations on the second floor and with a kitchen connecting by a hallway. There are seven neat, attractive cottages, an automobile shelter with accommodations for six cars, and a boat house and bathing pavilion. An individual lighting plant furnishes electricity for lighting the buildings, and there are many other conveniences and features not common to establishments of this kind. The meals in particular are delightful; all vegetables, cream and milk, and other farm and dairy products are produced on the property, and these, with the finest delicacies afforded by the market are temptingly prepared and served in abundance. The lake fleet consists of a 30-passenger launch, 12 row boats, an Evinrude, and one canoe. Guides are furnished, and live bait is always kept on hand. At the office, which is contained in a separate building, candy, smokers' supplies, etc. are dispensed. The place is located in one of the particularly beautiful spots of Wisconsin's famous lake region; it nestles among majestic trees beside the clear, sparkling, spring-fed waters of beautiful Plum Lake, and all the attractions of the great outdoors are at their finest here. The Plum Lake golf course is just across the lake, easily reached by automobile or boat, and here the golfer will find ideal sport on the finely-kept greens and fairways of this splendid course. Bathing, boating, hiking, and all other outdoor sports may be enjoyed to the fullest, and a summer at The Woodlands Resort is without a dull moment from first to last. Mr. ALTON was married at Wadena, Minn., March 19, 1900, to Cora L. BOWERS, who was born in Wadena County, Minnestoa, Feb. 26, 1885. Mr. and Mrs. ALTON have three children: Everett, born March 16, 1901; Oliver L., born Nov. 2, 1902; and Lloyd C., born May 7, 1904. Lloyd C. is living at home, while the two older boys are attending the University of Wisconsin at Madison, coming home each summer to assist in the operation of the resort and render guide service; both excel in athletics, and are members of the University football squad. The family affiliate with the Methodist Church, and stand very high in the community. Mr. ALTON is a man of the highest character, to whom the taste of liquor or tobacco in any form is unknown. He has served as chairman of his township and member of the county board, and for six years he was president of the school board of his district.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 432; History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others; H.C. Cooper Jr. & Co, 1924

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