Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

5500 USH 51, 5534-5537 HENRY VOSS LN, 12958-12994 RUTH VOSS LN

National or State Register of Historic Places
5500 USH 51, 5534-5537 HENRY VOSS LN, 12958-12994 RUTH VOSS LN | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Voss' Birchwood Lodge
Reference Number:100002554
Location (Address):5500 USH 51, 5534-5537 HENRY VOSS LN, 12958-12994 RUTH VOSS LN
Township:Manitowish Waters
Voss’ Birchwood Lodge Resort Complex
5500 U. S. Highway 51, Manitowish Waters, Vilas County
Builders: Henry A. Voss, Palmer and Walter Hanson
Dates of Construction: 1910-1946

For much of the twentieth century, spending at least a little time in the Lakeland district in northern Wisconsin was summer ritual for many Midwestern families and for over a century vacationers have come from all over in order to enjoy a summer stay on Spider Lake at Voss’ Birchwood Lodge Resort.

The Voss resort was first established in 1910 by Henry A. and Ruth Voss as a summer resort and it contained two small Rustic Style cabins and a third, larger one that served as the resort’s first main lodge and also as the Voss family’s summer home. At first, guests arrived by train at nearby junctions and they were then transported to the resort by wagon or by boat. As the resort became more successful, still more Rustic Style cabins were built and in 1919, a new and larger Craftsman Style lodge/family home was also built and this finally enabled the Voss family to make the resort their year-round permanent home.

By 1924, more and more guests arrived at the resort by automobile, in no small part due to the state highway (today’s USH 51) that runs along the south side of the resort’s property. More cabins were needed; this resulted in the construction of a new, large Craftsman Style main lodge building that was built in 1924. This building is still the social heart of the resort to today.

By 1933, all but one of the resort’s 14 original cabins had been built, a building containing an automobile service garage, a diner, a tavern, and a dance hall had also been built along the highway at the entrance to the resort to serve passers bye, and by 1947 the last two buildings in the complex had also been built and all of these buildings are still extant and are still in use. Today, Voss’ Birchwood Lodge Resort is one of the few remaining American Plan resorts still operating in northern Wisconsin. It is owned and operated by members of the third and fourth generations of the Voss family, making it one of the oldest continuously operating summer resorts in Wisconsin.

The resort is open from late May until the end of September and it still serves three meals a day in its celebrated dining room.

The Fuldner Heritage Fund paid for the preparation of this nomination. This endowed fund, created through a generous donation by the Jeffris Family Foundation and administered by the Wisconsin Historical Society, supports the nomination of historically and architecturally significant rural and small town properties.


Period of Significance:1910-194619551910-1968
Area of Significance:Architecture
Area of Significance:Entertainment/Recreation
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Health Care: Resort
Historic Use:Domestic: Single Dwelling
Architectural Style:Bungalow/Craftsman
Architectural Style:Late 19th And Early 20th Century American Movements
Resource Type:District
Architect:Henry A. Voss
Architect:Palmer Hanson
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
National Register Listing Date:06/08/2018
State Register Listing Date:12/01/2017
Number of Contributing Buildings:22
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:2
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:2
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

How to Cite

For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, follow this model:

National Register of Historic Places Citation
National Register of Historic Places, "Historic Name", "Town", "County", "State", "Reference Number".

Have Questions?

If you didn't find the National Register listing you were looking for or have other questions about the National Register, please email us and we can help: