Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Birch Lodge Taxidermy

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As our many guests are aware, when you walk into the old lodge lobby you are usually greeted by the friendly faces of Deb and Bill. For decades, however, folks in the lobby have also been greeted by blank stares, courtesy of various mammals and fish associated with this historic north woods lodge. This particular glassy-eyed specimen is one of the few labeled wall hangers. A label on the rear indicates he was mounted by Wm. Grant, a taxidermist from Vassar, MI, for Alfred Getts, who shot it on November 22, 1929. (The label also stated the mount should be washed three times a year . . .). Another large mount has a metal 1941 Michigan Deer tag on a horn.

This vintage taxidermy is the "stuff" that was the focus of generations of sportsmen who stayed at the lodge. Hundreds of sportsmen stayed here over the years - as indicated by this paper-wrapped cardboard we found labeled "Deer Season 1956" with a plan of the lodge and cabins revealing over 70 hunters booked at that time (so this is how they kept track of guests in the pre-computer age!!!!)

Ah, imagine the "tails" these animal parts could tell!

Deb has been lightly cleaning and stabilizing our collection, fixing this Mallard duck's broken neck and blacking in a buck's cracked eyeball - saying it used to give her the "Creeps."
We can only imagine the memories associated with these guys (and gals?), but some provide insights.

We think this large walleye is associated with the long-time owners of Birch Lodge, the Badgleys - the one we think Ann caught and is proudly displaying to an embarrassed Cliff in an old photograph.

We think the most interesting plaques are the two smallest "racks" in the room because they are so personal to the lodge and its previous owners. On the rear of this first spike mount, written in cursive in pencil is, "First buck ever killed, 1st day of season 2:00pm Alger Michigan 1940,"

and on this second is, "Clifford's 1941 Buck Alger", both we believe written proudly in Cliff's own hand. The second is perhaps a bit more impressive than the first (and Cliff doesn't appear to have been quite as excited), so  perhaps Cliff was becoming a better hunter?????

All these dead things play into the unusual wallpaper in the Birch Bar which appears to celebrate the "Spirit" of the Sportsmen - with ghostly images of hunters and fishermen pursuing their prey:

Whether or not hunting and fishing are in your plans, we hope you can make it up to Birch Lodge to create some memories of your own.  We'll leave the stuffin' and glassy eyes to those guests who eat a few too many of Deb's yummy muffins!!!

1 comment:

  1. Bill and Deb,
    I am really enjoying your blogs- especially in the wintertime. You have also given us a couple new places to venture to when we come up to Birch Lodge to stay! So, keep up your blogs because they are read with great interest and helps me to feel I am in the beautiful north even when I am still below the bridge! Thanks, Doug P.S. can't wait to rock out to Patsy Cline on the juke box in the bar too! :-)