Farmer Camp

Rock Harbor

Farmer Cottage: NVIC: 50-271, ISRO Archives.


n 1901, Kneut Kneutson purchased one mile of Rock Harbor shoreline containing the Snug Harbor area. Kneutson and descendents developed "Park Place" - later renamed Rock Harbor Lodge - and catered to guests until the park service concessions took over the property in 1944. Kneutson's daughter Bertha and her husband Matt Farmer conveyed .88 acres of shoreline west of the Rock Harbor Lodge to their son Earl Weston Farmer and his wife Mary M. Farmer on May 25, 1935.

On August 18,1937 E.G. Willemin - on behalf of the National Park Service - advised Earl and Mary Farmer of their options for the property (life lease or cash value through condemnation). As these negotiations began Earl's grandfather, Kneutson, advised Earl to add Mary and the children to the life lease. At that time, sons Wes, Mike, Gerald and David Farmer were all between the ages of 7 and 12.

In October of 2002 Mary Farmer died. Her husband Earl Farmer had passed in 1981. Signed five-year Special Use Permits (expiration 2007) are now on file from Matthew Weston Farmer and from Gerald Thomas Farmer. A permit was sent to John Murray Farmer, residing in Calumet, MI, but signed copy not on file. These are the only children eligible for special use permits.


The Farmer Camp retains three residential structures. The Farmer House was a family summer cabin built by Weston Farmer on land given by his mother, Bertha Farmer, during the recreational phase of Isle Royale. It is one of the last built before the National Park Service was established.

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Help Tell The Story

Are you related to this family? Would you be willing to share stories or photos associated with related events? If so, we would love to hear from you! Please contact the Cultural Resource Manager at Isle Royale National Park. Or write to:

Isle Royale National Park
800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931-1896


  1. National Park Service Cultural Landscapes Inventory. 2010. Rock Harbor - Farmer House. Park Historic Architecture and Cultural Landscapes Program, U.S. National Park Service.

  2. Newland, Dave. 2003. Executive Summary of the Farmer Life Lease. Isle Royale National Park. Houghton, MI.