GARFIELD PARK ... on Lake Wapogasset
If you are following the plans for changes at Garfield (Wapogasset) Park, you might be interested in some background on activity
there in the 1800's ...
W.L. Sadler settled there in the mid-1860's and remained until about 1882. A historical marker at the entrance identifies that it was
the site of the Sadler saw mill and another that the Sucker Lake Post Office was there from 1874 to 1880. Who was Sadler?
Smokey Sylvester, local historian and storyteller, told that his ancestors and the Sadlers came from Green County. Sadler was
looking for a suitable location for a water wheel and his saw mill. That suitable location turned out to be at the Sucker Lake outlet.
(Sucker Lake was later renamed Wapogasset.)
W.L. Sadler wrote his own account in a newspaper article that summarized the history of Lincoln Township in conjunction with the
nation's first centennial in 1876. His account is reprinted in Polk County's First Written History, recollections of each township prior
to 1876, which the Polk County Historical Society published in l980. He writes, "In the fall of 1865 your correspondent moved into
the town and commenced the erection of a steam sawmill at the outlet of Sucker Lake and built the first frame house in the town.
The mill sawed the first board on the 20th of June, 1966. In December, 1867, the Sucker Lake dam, which was used for the
purpose of driving logs, was washed out and the mill went with it down the stream, leaving not a trace of where it had stood. The
following spring the mill was rebuilt and water was used to drive it." (Garfield did not become a separate township until 1886.)
A saw from Sadler's mill was found in the nearby water in more recent years by Clarence Delawyer of Deronda and donated to the
Polk County Museum in Balsam Lake. I understand it is a reciprocating saw which moved up and down and is similar to the old
hand-powered whip saw. Sylvester's account is that John Marquand was the sawyer and that most of the lumber cut came from
Pine Island, subsequently known as Wallace's Island, and now the home of the Minneapolis YMCA's Camp Icaghowan.
A couple of weeks ago, an archaeologist found some old square nails just north of the Wallace monument at the Park. Those nails
probably came from the frame house built by the Sadlers. Sadler's son, Bill Sadler, who was interviewed for the Clear Lake
Centennial 1875-1975 book, said that he was born in 1881 on the banks of Sucker Lake within 30 feet of the monument to Dr.
Wallace. W.L. Sadler and his family moved in 1882 to Richardson where he had another sawmill.
The original dams probably consisted of logs, stumps, rocks and similar materials. I don't know who built them but on March 19,
1878, Wisconsin's state legislature authorized W.L.. Sadler to erect and maintain a dam across Sucker Branch for log driving
purposes, provided that the dam did not raise the head of water to exceed six and one half feet in Sucker Lake. Sadler was the
Sucker Lake Postmaster from 1874 to 1880. He was also Justice of the Peace and performed marriage ceremonies.
written by JoAnn Hallquist - Amery
|FORMATION OF THE LAKE ASSOCIATION:
Excerpt from the Amery Free Press - August 24, 1911 issue
"Early last week a call was sent out to property owners around Wapagassett (or Sucker) Lake to meet on Saturday last at
3 p.m. at Unity settlement on Guanella's Bluff for the purpose, if deemed best, of organizing a Lake Improvement
Association. In answer to this call eighteen to twenty residents about the lake came together. Much interest and
enthusiasm was manifest. It was heartily and unanimously resolved to organize such an Association.
A constitution and by-laws were adopted and officers, including an executive committee, were chosen. The object of the
Association was defined to be to foster local interest and pride in the lake, local and popular interest in its attractions
and to enhance its beauty and usefulness as far as possible.
A mid-summer meeting is to be held annually, to which the women are to be invited, lunch served and the interests of
the lake fully discussed.
The officers elected were:
President - James Wallace
Vice President - A.S. Jerdee
Secretary and Treasurer - Perry S. Jerdee
|from "The Lake Scene" Reminiscing column ... 07-15-1984
WE'VE COME A LONG WAY BABY ...
On August 19, 1911, eighteen shoreowners met at Ernest Guanella's Hickory Point Bluff and organized the Lake
Wapogasset Improvement Association with Dr. James Wallace as president.
At that time the lake was called Sucker Lake (probably named such because the Indians called walleyes "suckers"). The
Association didn't think the name too desirable, so Dr. Wallace wrote to the U.S. Geographic Board in Washington. At a
meeting held May 1, 1912, the association considered the Indian name for the lake - Wakpuggaser. The name had
seven different spellings, so the group decided on the current one Wapogasset and advertised the location at Deronda.
A dam had been built in 1878 with logs and planks. Many problems accured with this primitive method, so by 1910 it
was worthless for all practical purposes. At a summer meeting in 1912, the executive committee recommended money
be raised for a concrete dam. The shore owners voted 100% for the new dam. They also pledged not to cut down trees
on the shore. The group employed a man to remove rubbish from the lake front.
A control dam approximately 10 ft. wide was built with removable planks at a cost of $1,000 dollars. Later, under the
leadership of President A.M. Gottschald, the association constructed a contrete spillway sixty feet long and an elevation
of seventy-two feet. The Public Cervice Commission ruled the lake level must be maintained one inch above the spillway.
In the 1940's Tim Yates and Leonard Moeller initiated state legislation that created the Lake Wapogasset Sanitary
District. Only 30% of the residents joined, so spraying the lake and attempts at weed control were marginally helpful.
In order to make the lake accessible to the public, accesses and a park were established. The land for the park was
deeded to Garfield. Ed Hogan built a pavilion and dance hall on the site, but residents did not accept it. It burned to the
ground shortly after completion. In June, 1942, a tornado destroyed the rest of the buildings, boats and trees. Attempts
to restore the park have been unsuccessful.
Twenty years ago (early 60's) Len Moeller initiated the plan to expand the association to Bear Trap Lake. The executive
board changed the name to Lake Wapogasset Bear Trap Association. The goals and objectives were expanded to
include social functions.
State lake conservationists concur that the Lake Wapogasset Association has been an aggressive and strong influence
for seventy-three years.
|LAKE WAPOGASSET BEAR TRAP ASSOCIATION ... working for you
main purpose of the Association is to improve and maintain the quality & safety of our waterways. There are many
Wapogasset/Bear Trap Lake Sanitary Sewer District and Garfield & Lincoln Townships to carry out this mission. The Lake
There is an Executive Committee that includes: President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary,
Treasurer and two Members at Large all duly elected by the general membership.
The Board of Trustees consists of members who have volunteered to represent the property owners in designated areas of
the shoreline and surroundings. Each Trustee is the CONNECTION between the Executive Committee and the general
membership. They meet with the Executive Committee on a monthly basis May through September. The general
membership is encouraged and most welcome to attend these meetings to voice their concerns, questions and ideas.
However, each Trustee will be happy to convey messages for those who are unable to attend meetings.
The Association will arrange for State-trained Safety Patrol officers who help enforce safe boating regulations. There are
three patrols: the DNR, Polk County and our own. The Association will arrange for classes on boat safety for young and/or
new boat operators. The use of Wisconsin boating & fishing regulations is strongly encouraged, (violators will be ticketed).
These regulations are available at any business that sells fishing licenses.
The Association also maintains a Neighborhood Watch program that encourages all of us to be good neighbors and look
out for each other and our properties. Signs are posted to discourage vandalism and break-ins. A monetary reward is
offered for the apprehension of vandals or thieves if a member’s property is so involved.
SPORT & SOCIAL CONNECTION
the season in early May to which all are welcome; a golf tournament has been held at the Amery Golf Club; boat races, a up
the Lake” event (flares are available from Trustees) that occurs before the fireworks on that weekend. The Association is up
the Lake” event (flares are available from Trustees) that occurs before the fireworks on that weekend. The Association is a
major contributor to these fireworks put on by the Sanitary District. We have also been a large contributor to the renovation
and beautification of Wapogasset Park.
and beautification of Wapogasset Park.
“The Lake Scene” is a periodical created 25 years ago by Kathy Mortensen of Mort’s Marina. She is the editor & publisher of
the news letter that keeps us CONNECTED with reports from the Association, details of up-coming events, free classifieds,
recipes, and the wit & wisdom of the Phantom Fisherman. “The Lake Scene” is distributed, free of charge, by your Trustee
who brings them to your door about twice a month from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
We are also CONNECTED by the Lake Directory which the Association publishes every year. It contains names and
addresses and phone numbers of all lake residents (and lots of other good things to know) and is distributed free of charge
to all paid members. This is also brought to your door by your Trustee on Labor Day weekend.
You can be CONNECTED to the LAKE WAPOGASSET/ BEAR TRAP IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION by mailing a
membership application to P.O. Box 345, Amery WI 54001, or by giving it to your Trustee. Further information can be
obtained by calling the current president, Dave Nelson, at 268-8568.
Diane Resseman ... Education Committee