Belle Isle Resort


Belle Isle Resort, Belle Harbor: John Doyle, ISRO Archives.


n 1912, Fred Schofield set a new standard on Isle Royale when he opened the Belle Isle Resort. Schofield had co-owned the Tobin Harbor Resort for a short time, but wanted to start a new resort. By June 1912 he had built the main lodge and four cottages on Fish Island (now called Belle Isle), off Isle Royale's northeastern shore. The dining room had a dramatic view of the harbor, and the lodge had a sitting room with a fleldstone fireplace. The sitting room was decorated with oriental rugs, hunting trophies, photographs, and lake trout on the walls. [3]

Within a few years, the Belle Isle resort was the finest on Isle Royale. Schofield even put in a small, nine-hole golf course (the longest hole was only 94 yards), a tennis court, shuffleboard court, and a swimming "pool" (which was actually a walled-off portion of Lake Superior). At its peak the resort included twenty-eight cottages and two central bath houses that boasted electricity and toilet facilities. The cabins did not have plumbing, but the staff delivered hot water each morning. [4] Today, only one of the cabins, a simple hipped-roofed wood frame guest cottage, remains standing at Belle Isle. The remains of the old dock can be seen in the shallow water northwest of the modern boat landing. Remnants of the nine-hole golf course (which has been turned into a campground) are difficult to detect, but the cement slabs of the shuffleboard courts remain.[5]

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Belle Isle Resort Brochure, 1932: ACC#ISRO-00614, Box 117, Early Transportation, ISRO Archives.

Belle Isle Resort, Golf Course Scorecard, ISRO Archives.


  1. Franks, Kathryn E. and Arnold R. Alanen, 1999. Historic Structures at Isle Royale National Park: Historic Contexts and Associated Property Types. Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison, January 1999.

  2. Karamanski, Theodore J. and Richard Zeitlin with Joseph Derose. Narrative History of Isle Royale National Park. Mid-American Research Center, Loyola University of Chicago. 1988.

  3. Ibid., citing Nellie Lou Broom to Ben Chynoweth, 11 April 1934. Chynowcth Collection, ISRO Archives.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Ibid., "Enticing Island," 145.