In 1892, William Austin Venn left England and came to America with his wife, Ann, and two daughters, Lydia and Anna Louise. They settled in Chicago where William eventually worked for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. One of the benefits of the job was free transportation to Eagle River, Wisconsin, which was the end of the line to the north. On one of his trips “up north”, he purchased property on the northwest bay of Eagle Lake. There were two log cabins on the property. In 1905, William’s daughter Lydia (known as Kitty), married Frank Wolfe. Kitty and Frank bought the land adjacent to William’s, and built a small house on it for their family in 1915. In 1927, Frank and Kitty built 4 cottages on their property and named their new resort “Wolfe’s Woodland Home Cottages”. Kitty, along with their two children Verne and Grace, stayed in Eagle River in the summers to run the resort while Frank was working in Chicago. Kitty passed away in 1937, and Frank remarried a woman named Belle. They continued to run the resort until retiring to Florida in 1963 when it was sold to Tom and Rose Hay.
From 1963 until 1970, Tom and Rose Hay operated the resort, renaming it “Hay’s Woodland Cottages”. Tom and Rose became close friends with Irene and Al Venn (William’s youngest son). In 1970, the resort was sold to Bunny Venn, Irene and Al’s daughter. Bunny continued to run the resort, named “Venn’s Woodland Resort” with Irene and Al, making improvements such as decks and new piers. When Bunny inherited her Uncle Art’s cabin, she moved it from the original family land onto the resort property, calling it Oaks. Camelot was also added to the resort at that time. Bunny passed away in 2011 and the resort is now owned and operated by Bunny’s nieces and nephews. The resort has served as a beautiful, joy-filled backdrop to nearly a century of family reunions, weddings, fish frys and fun.