Apostle Islands Historic Preservation Conservancy
Preserving and interpreting historic structures and cultural landscapes throughout the Apostle Islands region of northern Wisconsin.
Restoration programs are a vital component of the AIHPC action agenda. Historically significant buildings, landscapes, and objects reflect much of what is special about the Apostle Islands region and the people who live there. They are symbols of the community’s love of nature, reverence for history, belief in the benefits of cooperative effort, and respect for individual accomplishment and hard work.
Our organization works to preserve these links between past and present both by direct action and through financial grants and donations of service to other organizations and governmental entities.
Some of our accomplishments:
West Bay Club Lodge, Sand Island (2007-2013):
The grand Adirondack-style lodge overlooking Sand Island’s West Bay was built in 1913 as a getaway for a group of six St. Paul businessmen and their families. The lodge was designed by club members Charles Buechner and Henry Orth, among the region’s most prominent architects at the time.
After changing hands several times, the Lodge was purchased in 1960 by Howard Peters of Mellen, Wisconsin. The Peters family cared for the building for more than a half-century, retaining a lifetime lease when the Federal government acquired the property in 1973.
Beginning in 2011, the AIHPC worked with the Peters family, under the direction of the National Park Service, to support and fund continuing preservation maintenance of the Lodge. In addition, sponsored nomination of the site to the National Register of Historic Places. With Mr. Peters’ passing in 2017, the Lodge is now under full National Park Service control, but the AIHPC and the Peters family are continuing cooperative efforts to preserve this architectural treasure for the American public.
After the storm
Repair work complete!
Benson Dock, Rocky Island
In late October 2017, fierce Northeast gales combined with unusually high water levels wrought havoc on numerous locations within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Among the most badly damaged sites were the docks at the historic Benson fish camp on Rocky Island. With the authorization of the National Park Service, the entire Rocky Island community, spearheaded by the camp’s historic residents, the Benson family, worked together to restore this element of the islands Norwegian-American fishing heritage. The AIHPC was proud to support this effort through a grant helping fund the needed materials.
Emmanuel Luick Glass Negative Collection
In 2014, a Duluth antique dealer unearthed a treasure trove of glass-plate negatives taken around 1900-1910 by Sand Island Lighthouse keeper Emmanuel Luick, an enthusiastic photographer. Listed for individual sale on eBay, this invaluable collection was at risk of dispersal, but the AIHPC was able to contact the dealer directly, and raised funds to purchase the entire lot of 246 negatives. After scanning and cataloging, the AIHPC donated the collection to the Bayfield Heritage Association, where it is now preserved in archival storage for eventual public display.
St. Anthony Mission Church, Belanger Settlement (2008-2012):
The Belanger Settlement is an isolated hamlet with a rich Native American heritage, located approximately ten miles west of Bayfield. The Settlement’s focal point is the 1899 St. Anthony Mission Church, now lovingly preserved by the Belanger Settlement Historic Society. The AIHPC has provided grants to this small but highly dedicated organization to support an outstanding example of community preservation in action.
Built in 1940, the Cubby, on display at the Bayfield Maritime Museum, is a flat-bottomed utility skiff once used by commercial fisherman Julian Nelson at his fishing camp, now included in Rocky Island Historic District. The boat’s restoration and display was supported by a grant from the AIHPC.
Christ Episcopal Church (2011):
Built in 1870, this small wooden church is considered one of Bayfield’s architectural gems. The AIHPC has provided grants to the congregation to cover unexpected expenses incurred to replace rotten wood uncovered during restoration work.
Washburn Memorial Park Kitchen Building:
Designed and built in 1924, the communal kitchen at Washburn’s Memorial Park has been praised as an outstanding example of local vernacular architecture. By the early 2000’s, drainage problems in its original location threatened the building’s survival. In 2009 an AIHPC grant helped support a community-led restoration project to reroof the building and move it to a new location within the park on a stable new concrete foundation.
The Conservancy is an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All donations are deductible for income tax purposes. Donations may be made to the Conservancy’s general fund or designated for a specific purpose. Donations may be sent to:
P.O. Box 88
Bayfield Wisconsin, 54814