Sterns Camp

Rock Harbor

Sterns Cottage, 1935: Wolbrink [Sheet 023, Photo D], ISRO Archives.


tella B. Sterns, formerly of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, owned a quarter acre piece of property in the Snug Harbor area. Structures on her property included a main cottage and a privy. Sterns was not willing to donate the property to the U.S. government and also didn't feel as if the proposed purchase price was a fair offer. During negotiations, she mentions that Homer T. Orsborn was considering buying the property at a higher price than offered by the government. Orsborn, of Chicago, Illinois, used to rent the Sterns' cottage in Rock Harbor and was interested in the property so as to garner a life lease.

In a letter dated August 08, 1937, Ms. Sterns states that she will be selling her plat to Mr. Orsborn. In turn, Homer and Elizabeth Orsborn sold their newly purchased property to the U.S. government on December 22, 1939, in exchange for $95.73 and a life lease. Mr. Orsborn, known also as "Coach Orsborn", taught tennis at the Rock Harbor Lodge during the 1940s to 1960s and also served as the Isle Royale postmaster before retiring from that position in 1963 (Milwaukee Sentinel).

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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. Orsborn Purchase Records. Isle Royale National Park. Houghton, MI.