A tale of Everett Road - the Colony and the tycoons
Without a doubt, the heart of the Northwoods was built by hearty individuals who made a living doing backbreaking labor. Some stuck it out through the frigid months; some went to warmer climates to do seasonal work.
While forests disappeared as lumber barons cleared the lands, there were some who viewed the incredible beauty of the natural landscapes of waters and wildlife as a resource to build upon.
Such an individual was Chicago hotelier Edward A. Everett who deigned to open the Everett Resort as the area’s most elegant and exclusive resort. This vacation escape was frequented by the elite businessmen and their families from Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis who left behind the heat and dust of city life to enjoy Northwoods pastimes such as fishing, boating, tramping, and hunting, swimming and socializing.
The Main Lodge at the resort was initially built by Fred Morey as a two-story structure in 1896 on the Chain of Lakes on a strip of land between Catfish and Cranberry Lakes. He also is credited with the construction of what was eventually known as the Everett Clubhouse. Everett and his wife, Helen, purchased the property in 1897 and added 20 cottages.
According to Eagle River Historians, Craig Moore, Susie Wilkinson and Jodi McKeever, most of the vacationers came to the area by train. Many of the visitors became seasonal residents and developed “close-knit relationships”, a community that became known as the Everett Colony.
Everett continued to develop the resort that consisted of more than a dozen core buildings to provide entertainment and comfort at the resort. The resort was known for its fine dining, excellent fishing guide staff, first-class boats and a selection of superb cottage offerings. There was daily mail and telegraphs were available by telephone.
Everett’s reach extended into Eagle River when he and a group of well-to-do individuals from the Everett Resort each contributed $5,000 to start the Everett Golf Course. Today it is the Lake Forest Golf Course, a mere mile from the Resort.
But in 1951, with the sale of the resort to Chicago business executive, Boyd Henderson of Household Finance, the “Colony” families were given the golden opportunity to purchase the beloved summer cottages frequented annually by their families.
Today descendants still live in these highly regarded summer homes. Patricia Stafford and her daughter, Kate, are two such individuals and represent their family's fourth and fifth generations on Everett Rd.
In addition to the development of the Everett Resort, other wealthy individuals were drawn to the enchanting area on Everett Rd. Chicago 1920’s mobsters, then mayors and eventually even presidents graced the magnificent mansions built by Mayor Kelly, former mob kingpin Monte Tennes and others on Everett Rd.
The Everett Resort is currently owned by Tim and Peg O’Brien of Chicago and it is a family property. However, the Everett Resort does offer vacation lodging at the Gables, a fully resorted seven-bedroom summer home. The O’Briens own the Everett Resort’s core 17 buildings where they maintain the integrity and the sense of elegant past times. It has been named to the National Register as a good example of an early American Plan resort in architecture.