Savage Camp

Tobin Harbor

Savage Cottage, 1935: Wolbrink [Sheet 033, Photo A], ISRO Archives.

"We have lots of stuff in the boathouse, several small boats and gave a friend permission to store his larger boat, also the title has not transferred and we won't see our money for some time. Therefore I cannot send you the key." --September, 1939.

homas and Louis Savage, of St. Paul, Minnesota, did not accept a life lease and sold the property, known as Cochrane Island, outright in 1939. They received $3,116.58 for consideration. In a letter addressed to Mrs. Louis Savage on August 22, 1939, Superintendant Baggley requests the Savages remove all personal belongings by August 15 of that year. Baggley also noted that the Park Service planned to raze their empty boathouse and use the lumber.

Four days later Baggley sent a follow up letter to Mrs. Louis Savage retracting his previous statement, indicating that the Park Service actually planned to use the boathouse to store park boats, and requested a key for the locked structure. The Savages refused, however, stating they were still using the boathouse and had not yet received payment from the U.S. government for their property.

In a letter addressed to the Savages dated December 23, 1940, Baggley wrote that he understood them having not moved there belongings off the island, but requests they do so the following spring.


Until recently, the Savage Camp retained a boat house and a storage shed, both of which were in an advanced state of ruin. Savage boathouse use by Tobin Harbor families was discontinued due to years of neglect. The structure and related shed have since collapsed. The camp has lost much of its integrity, due to the loss of all buildings. The boat house was large by Isle Royale standards, measuring 36' x 37' and was used by both the Merritt and Gale families. The Savage boathouse was one of the few surviving examples of a boathouse at Isle Royale.

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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. Savage Purchase Records. Isle Royale Archives, ACC#ISRO-00614. Isle Royale National Park. Houghton, MI.