Johnson's Resort and Trading Post


Holger and Lucy Johnsons' Trading Post at Chippewa Harbor, ca. 1930: ACC#ISRO-00614, Box 58, ISRO Archives.


lthough Rock Harbor, Belle Isle, Minong Lodge, and Singer's Island House resort on Washington Island were the main resorts which competed for Isle Royale's tourist trade, the tradition of fishermen offering lodging services continued into the 1930s. In the 1920s - 1930s, Chippewa Harbor fisherman Holger Johnson and his wife Lucy ran a resort called Johnson's Resort and Trading Post.

Johnson's accommodations were very rustic, and all the seven structures were log cabins with one, two, or three rooms, each with a porch that overlooked the Chippewa Harbor. Rates ranged from $4 to $6 a day for meals and lodging. Holger and his wife offered moose watching tours, fishing and hiking trips, and ran a dockside trading post where visitors could buy polished greenstones and "Indian" birch bark souvenirs made by the Johnson family (after being taught the craft by a Grand Portage Ojibwa woman). [2]

In the 1930s during the slow fishing season of July and August, Holger's half brothers, Milford and Arnold Johnson, offered a boat rental and guide service for Rock Harbor Lodge guests. Other fishermen offered services under this arrangement, too, and also sold fish to the lodges.[3]


  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 Johnson's Isle Royale (n.d., n.p.) Mott Island Museum, Isle Royale National Park and oral history with Mrs. Violet Johnson Miller, 12 October 1988, interviewer Tim Cochrane, Mott Island Museum, Isle Royale National Park.

  4. Ibid., citing Robert Janke, "Journal," 18 June 1987, Mott Island Museum, Isle Royale National Park and Herman Johnson "1923 Cash Book," from Johnson Island, Isle Royale National Park.