Langworthy Camp

Rock Harbor

Langworthy Cottage, 1935: Wolbrink [Sheet 023, Photo C], ISRO Archives.


he Langworthys, like most families that owned property in Snug Harbor, purchased their land from Kneut Knuetson. In 1908 the family constructed a cottage on the property, using it as a summer retreat. When the federal government began acquiring Isle Royale lands, Amy E. Langworthy and Mary H. Langworthy held title to the .23 acres along Snug Harbor. These ladies agreed to sell their land and cabin to the government in exchange for a life lease for themselves and Herman Langworthy, who was son and grandson to the women. The agreement was signed December 31, 1937.

The Langworthy family signed a life lease agreement on April 29, 1939; by 1940 no one from the family came to the island and Herman Langworthy allowed a customs official to live in the cabin. Superintendent Baggley was concerned with this arrangement and required the Langworthy family to stop "subletting" the cabin (even though no money changed hands).

The Langworthys were very infrequent guests to the island for the forty years of their life lease. Most correspondence between Superintendents and the Langworthys concerned the deteriorating condition of the cabin and ways to fix the problems. Langworthys asked for help with their dock, their roof and a toilet over the years. Finally in 1978, Robert Langworthy communicated the family's agreement to turn the property over to the park - no one had visited in over four years. On February 28, 1979 Herman Langworthy died, ending the life lease. The Langworthy family donated the contents of the cabin to the Isle Royale National Park museum. Superintendent John Morehead found - upon inspection - that the cabin's foundation had deteriorated to the point that the building had to be dismantled rather than being used for housing as was planned. If the building had reverted to the park service earlier it might have been repairable. There were no eligible children for a special use permit.

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