"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.


Oliver, John W. proprietor of Oliver Lodge, on Star Lake in Vilas County, was born in the town of Oswego, Oswego County, New York, July 1, 1865, son of John W. and Andelutia Charlotte (ROBINSON) OLIVER. The parents are now both deceased. He was educated in the schools near his home in New York State, and started work for his own account at the age of 15 years, going to Chicago and entering the employ of Armour & Co. there. He did clerical work in their office until 1884, after which he returned to his former home in Oswego County, New York. While there, on Feb. 24, 1887, he was united in marriage with Emma Florence FARNHAM, who was born in the town of Oswego, Oswego County, New York, Feb. 3, 1863. In 1888 Mr. OLIVER brought his bride to Chicago and resumed his work in the office of Armour & Co., continuing with them until 1909, in which year he came to Vilas County and bought the Waldheim hotel and cottages, on the east shore of Star Lake's north bay, in the town of Arbor Vitae, the locality, however, being now in the town of Plum Lake. This property he has ever since conducted changing the name to Oliver Lodge in 1914. Upon acquiring the resort he at once began on an extensive program of improvements, the first step being the remodeling of the hotel and other buildings. He has carried out this and many other improvements, and today his place ranks very high in the list of northern Wisconsin's summer resorts. Besides the main club room, there are 12 cottages for the use of the guests, a dining hall, several cottages for the help, and a number of other buildings. The main lodge is a two and a half story structure with 11 sleeping-rooms on the second floor; the arrangement on the first floor is very striking and pleasing; the office and a large club room take up the whole space, and they are separated from each other only by a massive solid stone fireplace, opening into both office and club room; the fireplace is very artistic in design, and adds to the beauty and comfort of the lodge. The stairway leading to the second floor is rustic in design, and this also leads to the general pleasing effect. This building looks out over Star Lake, one of the prettiest lakes in Vilas County. The sleeping-rooms, both in the main lodge and in the cottages, are exceptionally large, and are well furnished and inviting. The lake fleet consists of 25 fine row boats, all of the best type and construction obtainable, and well cared for; garage room is furnished for the guests' automobiles, and there are many other special features of comfort and convenience. Candy, smokers' supplies, and ice cream are dispensed, and a supply of life bait is always on hand, guides are furnished on request. The finest foods afforded by the market, appetizingly prepared and served in abundance, await the hungry sportsman on his return at meal time from the pleasures of the great outdoors. The surrounding waters afford excellent sport for the angler, yielding muskellunge, black and green bass, pike, pickerel, and brook trout; and in fact with bathing, boating, and an endless list of other recreations and pleasures, there is no lack of fun for the nature lover, no matter what his special bent or hobby. At the resort itself nothing has been overlooked that could add to the satisfaction and pleasure of the guest throughout his stay. From 17 to 20 people are employed in order to insure that the personal service be complete in every detail, and the whole is under the direct supervision of Mrs. OLIVER, who is the most congenial of hostesses. Mr. OLIVER has added to his land holdings and now has 100 acres; he operates a fine farm in conjunction with the lodge, raising all his own vegetables and fruit, poultry, eggs, etc., and having a fine herd of Guernsey cattle which furnish pure cream and milk for the tables at the resort. He has taken an active interest in the public affairs of his community, having served his township as side surveyor and as chairman, the latter office carrying membership on the county board; his career here has been of real benefit to this section of the country.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 487-488, History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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