Cedar Lake Resort has thrived over the years

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Known for its clear waters and great fishing, Lake Cedar in the town of Schleswig is the largest inland lake in Manitowoc County.

It’s no surprise that the popularity of the lake is quickly attracting first-class cabins, visitors, and a resort.

The first hut was built on the south shore of the lake by HC Merch, from Kiel, around 1900. The installation of an icehouse and an open-air dance pavilion was soon put in place.

To meet growing needs, Mr. Haarmann and Mr. Livingston teamed up to create the Cedar Lake Resort in 1920. The old ice house and dance pavilion were razed and replaced with a modern dance hall that first year. In a few years, another building was added to the dance hall, which served as accommodation for the owners. Soon rental cabins, retail space, merry-go-round, high dive, log roll and water wheel were added to the complex.

Advertisement for the Cedar Lake picnic grounds, circa 1920.

An article in the Manitowoc Herald News for July 19, 1927 describes: “The people of Manitowoc were instrumental in building Cedar Lake Resort and developing it from a single cottage six years ago to a home of over 50 chalets at this time. … “

“Most of the waterfront on both sides of the lake is now built and the settlement is improving the property, with many cabins having installed electric lights, telephones and other amenities.”

Haarmann and Livingston owned the property until 1928, when it was transferred to John Schmitt, who operated the site until 1942. In the deal, Schmitt – a farmer from Port Washington – relinquished his farm at the complex. The farm was then traded in for two residential properties in Milwaukee for the Haarmann and Livingston families.

Schmitt was quoted in a Manitowoc Herald News article of June 25, 1937, saying that “the water this summer is considerably higher than in the past six years”. Schmitt said he carried hundreds of loads of sand across the ice over the past winter. When the ice melted, the sand filtered to the bottom of the lake near the swimming beach, creating a smooth sandy expanse.

The station has been operated by various people over the years, including Fred and Nellie Goussy from 1943 to 1946; Kermit and Nellie Maurer from 1947 to 1957; Donald Mischo from 1958 to 1959; Kermit and Nellie Maurer from 1960 to 1961; Dan Zimmermann from 1961 to 1965; Ray Zywicke from 1965 to 1978 as Raymond’s Supper Club; Ron Feltis from 1979 to 1982 as The Golden Wheels; and Paul Krueger from 1982 to 1984 as The Cedars. The resort remained closed until 1986 when Glen Braun purchased the site, renaming it Cedar Lake Resort.

On February 15, 2006, the landmark and historic Cedar Lake Resort burned to the ground in a devastating fire. About 80 firefighters from 12 fire departments in the region responded.

The remains of the complex were purchased by Ray and Debbie Brickner in 2007.

Amy Meyer is the Executive Director of the Manitowoc County Historical Society

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