Fredrickson Bait Shop

The picturesque Fredrickson bait shop, made of an old boxcar, sits on the shores of Star Lake just as it has for 75+ years. Friends of Star Lake has almost completed the restoration of the bait shop. All we have to do now is move the furniture back in and put up the sign. The Bait shop will serve as a self service museum where people can come and go and see it as if Edith and Hazel were still sitting in their easy chairs, reminiscing about the good old days in Star Lake.

Fredrickson House

The Fredrickson house has been moved to our Old Milltown Depot site. It will eventually be set it up as a museum with all sorts of cool historical artifacts and information.

The Fredricksons

The Fredricksons

The bait shop and the Fredrickson home – A Historian’s Dream

Edith and Hazel Fredrickson were two elderly sisters whom sat in their bait shop on the shore of Star Lake for over 70 years selling worms and minnows. These ladies were much celebrated as, year after year, hundreds upon hundreds of visitors would stop by to buy bait, chat or listen to them tell stories of what Star Lake used to be --- in the old days. “The Girls” as they were called, lived their entire lives, of just under 100 years, in Star Lake. They saw Star Lake go from a booming lumber Milltown and largest town in Vilas County of the early 1900’s, to ghost town when the Milltown moved out and eventually to the remote fishing village that it remains today.

The sisters were special. They were good, kind ladies whom lived very simple lives and never wanted for more. Over the years, the sisters became somewhat of a legend and were remarkably featured in George Vukelich's Rustic Road book, subsequent PBS television series plus innumerable times in the Milwaukee Journal. Even today, some 10 years after the last sister passed away, we have hundreds of visitors each year stop by the bait shop and newly restored one-room schoolhouse in Star Lake to reminisce about the girls and Star Lake’s history. When the last sister passed away, William Hintz, owner of the North Star Lodge and Treasurer of Friends of Star Lake, purchased the Fredrickson bait shop and home, the last remaining company house, which was full of antiques collected throughout the sisters lives. At the time he purchased them, he had high hopes of being able to restore these buildings and share them with the community at large. The Fredrickson home is full of amazing treasures as "The Girls" kept and documented everything. Mr. Hintz has cases of photographs, diaries, journals, love letters,schoolbooks,their father's journals from his employment with the railroad, antiques and much, much more.

The items in the Fredrickson house are true treasures and a historian’s dream. At some point in the near future, the Friends of Star Lake plans to contact state and university historians to see if they might be interested in using these historic items in their research. Likewise, the Smithsonian Institution indicated that they would like copies of the historic photographs.

Yes, Star Lake is still stuck in time and that’s the way we like it. Sadly, most northwoods communities have been overly developed to the point that they resemble suburbia more than the quaint northwoods communities they used to be and that made the area so popular. Star Lake is fortunate, although we no longer have the mill, company houses or Fredrickson Bait Shop, we have been fortunate to carve out and preserve a bit of the northwoods - the way it used to be. We hope, that through the "Friends of Star Lake" that we will be able to preserve the area for generations to come.

The bait shop will not be relocated to the Old Milltown Depot- but run by Friends of Star Lake volunteers and registered with appropriate federal and state historical registers. It will be open to the public free of charge and open May – October of each year.

Fredrickson Photos

Star Lake is stuck in time.

Star Lake is a quaint community located in the heart of the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest in the upper most part of Wisconsin. The area contains very little private land and thus is protected from encroaching development.

Oddly enough, Star Lake is still much the same today as it was after the Milltown moved out in 1907. The only real differences – the houses and railroad are gone, the trees have grown back and our historic bait shop is closed for business.

Support FOSL

Consider making a donation to the Friends of Star Lake

We are thrilled to be able to help preserve Star Lake’s rich history. The Schoolhouse, Bait Shop and Old Milltown Depot have all been labors of love. And, the more we work on these projects, the more excited we become.

Please let us know if you or your family members are interested in helping us fund the Old Milltown Depot or our college scholarship program. The entire Board is incredibly grateful for the community’s support and helping us preserve what is so special about Star Lake.