"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.


Whitbeck, John proprietor of Rocky Reef Resort, on Trout Lake in Vilas County, was born in Milwaukee, Wis., Nov. 14, 1875. He was educated in the schools of Milwaukee and subsequently became a traveling salesman. Later he was with Morris & Co. of Chicago as buyed and branch house manager for five years, and then for three years he was engaged in the poultry and produce business at Charleston, Ill. In the spring of 1912 he came to Vilas County and bought Rocky Reef Resort, which he has ever since successfully conducted. This property, located on a point of land extending half a mile into Trout Lake from its southeastern shore, is a most attractive and highly developed watering-place, and is an ideal place for a thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing summer's stay. The buildings are on a high bluff, and this elevation ensures a cook refreshing breeze at all times, bringing freedom from mosquitoes and other insects. The main lodge and all the cottages are finished in stucco, dashed with white, green and red pebbles, presenting a most striking appearance and indicative of the taste and progressive spirit of the proprietor. The large front proch of the main lodge is ten feet wide and completely screened, and there are other extensive proches on the south and east sides. The stairs leading to the porches have massive square posts, all stoccoed, the balustrades being panelled and inlaid with oyster shells producing an effect that must be seen to be appreciated. The interior arrangements and decorations are no less satisfactory. In the center of the main lodge is a large lounging-room with a ladies' sitting-room adjoining, overlooking the lake. The lounging-room is provided with a large fireplace, and has a piano and all the features necessary for a delightful evening at cards, music, or other indoor recreations, in the genial spirit of good-fellowship which prevails at Rocky Reef. All the sleeping-rooms in this building are outside rooms, furnished with comfortable beds and scrupulously clean. Besides the main lodge there are 13 cottages, all tastefully furnished and with wide, roomy porches; most of these cottages overlook the lake, and they will contain from two to eight people each; they contain living and sleeping-rooms, all meals being served in the main dining-hall. The most careful attention is devoted to the cuisine; well kept gardens supply fresh vegetables for the tables and all the cream and milk used come from Mr. WHITBECK'S pure-bred Guernsey cattle; eggs and poultry are furnished by his flock of White Rocks and he also raises his own pork, his hogs being of the well known I.O.C. registered stock. To the country delicacies thus supplied the finest foods afforded by the market are added, and the result, when these are prepared and served in the Rocky Reef way, is something to tempt the most exacting connoisseur. An individual electric plant furnishes power and lights for the resort, and there are many other conveniences and pleasing appointments. The service is perfect in every detail; Mr. WHITBECK is ideally suited by temperament, personality and experience to fulfill his capacity as host and he exercises a constant watchfulness to the end that the wishes of each individual guest shall be anticipated and served. The 14 acres which make up the resort grounds are a work of art in landscape gardening, with their parks, drives, and winding paths and trails; and back of all stands the brooding primeval forest, with its sense of solitude for which the race of man has an inborn craving. Boats are maintained by the management, not only on Trout Lake but on a number of adjoining waters, and he whose special bent is the art of rod and line can find no finer place for sport than here. Bathing, boating--in fact all the health-giving, enthralling recreations associated with the great outdoors, open before the visitor in all their enticement, and there is not a dull moment from first to last of a summer's vacation here, not any room for acre or melancholy.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 488-489 (with picture), 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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