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HISTORY

Calderwood Lodge was constructed by Charles Calder between 1918 and 1922.

Calder grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he owned a successful van and storage business. Many of the profits from the  business were reinvested into land along Bone Lake. By 1891, Calder had acquired a total of 720 acres on the shore of Bone Lake. At the time, the land had an estimated value of $22,000 [roughly $580,000 today]. During these five years of construction, Calder used natural stone and lumber from the surrounding Bone Lake region to build the lodge.

Throughout the roaring 20s, up until the Great Depression, the lodge consisted of 14 rooms and seven (7) additional cabins. The wealthy came from all parts of the Midwest – Chicago, Milwaukee, Iowa, and the Twin Cities – to stay at the famous lodge. Guests arrived in Luck by train, where they were then chauffeured to the lodge. The lodge provided the wealthy guests with expensive dinners, reaching prices as high as $6 a plate [$77 today].

The water in the springs contained high levels of lithium, which had high medicinal value during the 1920s. Consequently, many customers arrived with large containers so that they could bring the water home with them.

Although prohibition began in 1920, strong evidence suggests that the lodge continued to serve alcohol. The alcohol was hidden across the lake in concrete storage vaults. Boats transported the alcohol across the lake.

The lodge’s fabulous reputation caused the world’s most notorious gang members to visit it. In the late 1920s, Al Capone frequently stayed at the lodge with different friends. John Dillinger and his gang also stayed at the lodge in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Dillinger’s gang would park their convoy of Ford Model T’s near the lake on a dirt road that now forms 240th Avenue. Additionally, gang leader Ma Barker and criminal Alvin Karpas were also known to have stopped in the lodge during their trips to Fremsted Lake in Webster, Wisconsin.

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