Wondering what happened to Seven Pines LodgeI thought I had bookmarked the site . . . a really old Wisconsin lodge/resort with fine dining . . . you could rent the whole place for weddings, etc. . . . expensive . . . not on a lake, maybe a creek or river in the back . . . deep in the woods feel? - Barbara, Bloomington, Minn.
Sounds as if you're talking about Seven Pines Lodge in western Wisconsin, just east of Lewis.
It was built in 1903 by millionaire grain broker Charles Lewis, who had leased a tract of land that included a spring-fed trout stream. When logging operations came uncomfortably close, he bought the land and built a lodge, naming it Seven Pines for its largest trees.
He entertained prominent sportsmen of the day, including Calvin Coolidge when he was president. After Lewis died in 1932, most of the property was logged off, but the six acres around the lodge kept their virgin timber.
The lodge was opened to overnight guests and became known for fine cuisine, served on a screened porch, and excellent catch-and-release fly fishing on its private stream. It was reached by a long, wooded driveway, and it had atmosphere in spades.
"People loved it,'' says Sue Mathews, director of Polk County tourism. "In the old days, it was just the place.''
But it changed hands five times in the last 16 years, she said. The charming old Stream House, which straddled Knapp Creek, burned down. Storms blew down many of the old-growth pines, and part of the land was sold for a development of upscale log homes that detracted from the atmosphere.
Now, Seven Pines is closed and for sale. Mathews says no one at the tourism information center in St. Croix Falls knows its status, because calls are not returned and there's a rope over the driveway.
She hopes that eventually, someone will rejuvenate the property.
"It needs tender loving care; we certainly know that,'' she says. "It's too special a place.''