Ralph Camp

Rock Harbor

Ralph Cottage, 1940s: [NVIC: 40-122], ISRO Archives.

"We would like to discuss extending our lease which ends December, 1940. We love Isle Royale so much it is with a sincere regret we have to even think of giving up our place".
--Roy Ralph to Superintendent Baggley, November 23, 1939.

oy Ralph, of Omaha, Nebraska, was not initially interested in a life lease and wanted to be paid within 90 days of agreeing to sell his property. Eventually he warmed to the idea of a short-term lease of 3-years, which allowed him a few extra years on the island and some time to remove personal property. At Mr. Willemin's urging (he thought Ralph was an important influence on other land owners and wanted his cooperation) the Isle Royale Commission by-passed formal procedure and paid Mr. Ralph by Dec. 6, 1937 - most property owners were paid in late 1938 or thereafter.

As the end of three-year term lease approached Mr. Ralph inquired about extending his rights on the island. Mr. Baggley told him that for $234.57 per year (a figure supplied by Willemin based on 5% of the value of the property per year) that the service would issue a Special Use Permit for 1941 and possibly later. Ralph chose not to take the added year option, possibly due to his failing health.

In the summer of 1940 Mr. Ralph became ill and was evacuated from the island by plane. Due to this illness Baggley gave Ralph until July 15, 1941 to remove his belongings.

The Ralph House has been in NPS possession since 1941 and currently serves as a residence for the East District Ranger.

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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 Ralph Life Lease. Isle Royale National Park. Houghton, MI.