It’s no surprise that Phelps, Wisconsin has long been a vacation destination, with the many freshwater lakes brimming with fish and vast forests ideal for hunting or hiking. Travelers discovered the draw of the area in the mid-1800’s, and the same nature opportunities continue to attract visitors today. With the growing tourism to the area, early Phelps entrepreneurs recognized the need for quality lodging and quickly rose to the challenge. Hazen Inn is one such resort that began offering visitors comfortable accommodations with that unique Northwoods touch in 1900.
Family Owned for 75 Years!
Mr. Charles E. Hazen made the long journey to the Northwoods at the ripe age of 16 to begin his new life in Wisconsin. Charles was born in Monroe County, New York in 1872, one of six children. Upon moving to Vilas County, Wisconsin, he began working for local resorts and sportsman clubs. His experiences in such positions eventually inspired him to open his own resort, but he needed the means. So Charles traveled to Chicago, where he worked hard for five years to earn the money to make his dream a reality.
Charles’ hard work paid off, and he became the owner of a prime piece of land in 1900, which he built into a premiere resort from the ground up. Charles and his wife Harriet’s only son was born in 1902, in the early days of the growing resort. One can imagine that Harriet had her hands full, caring for a newborn while helping her husband establish their new business venture.
Their son, Harvey Hazen, eventually took over the operation from his father, and later passed it down to his daughter, Sunny Fondris. The Hazen Inn remained in the family for 75 years, as it expanded to become a favorite of travelers from all around the nation. This historic destination embodied the Northwoods tradition of family owned businesses providing exceptional service, a trend that continues to make Phelps such a wonderful place to visit today!
A Resort Emerges From the Northwoods Wilderness
Mr. Hazen began building his fine resort in 1900 on the shores of Long Lake in Phelps. After purchasing 53 acres, Charles built three 23×21
foot Tamarack log cabins on the property. Eventually, eight more cabins were added. They were described in historical accounts as having splendid hardwood floors with beautiful rugs and upscale furnishings. It seems as if Mr. Hazen quickly mastered the ideal combination of luxury amenities and Northwoods feel that travelers were looking for.
The Long Lake Lodge was completed in 1901, a pleasing artistic log design that was home to a fishing and hunting club. In 1920, the family expanded the building to include a Great room with a stunning black granite fireplace. The lodge eventually grew to 10,000 square feet, complete with 12 bedrooms, a complete kitchen, and modern amenities.
Progressive Measures Please Phelps Visitors
Charles, or Uncle Charlie as he was called, continuously strived to add to the Long Lake Lodge guest experience. The resort began producing much of its own food, including eggs, milk and vegetables and even maple syrup. With Harriet running the kitchen, the resort’s feasts became the talk of the travelers, “a cuisine thoroughly delightful in every feature, wholesome, and nourishing” (“History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties of Wisconsin”, compiled by George O. Jones, Norman McVean and others, 1924).
The resort was one of the first in the area to have electricity, thanks to a 15 horsepower engine generator. And Charles didn’t stop there! They were also the first to offer lodging year round, as he recognized that outdoor enthusiasts would enjoy the wonders of Northwoods winters as much as summers. “Mr. Hazen rightly believes that northern Wisconsin can be made as attractive to winter sport enthusiasts as Montreal and he is doing a splendid piece of work…” (“History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties of Wisconsin”, compiled by George O. Jones, Norman McVean and others, 1924). And he was right – Phelps is now appreciated as a four-season destination with fantastic nature opportunities, no matter the season!
By the summer of 1947, Hazen Inn even included a 2-runway airport, with a 1600 foot runway suitable for small aircraft, according to the June 1947 edition of Flying Magazine. The article describes Phelps as home to 30 resorts, of which Hazen Inn must have stood out for its many amenities and unique offerings.
Hazen Inn Today
The current owners of Hazen Inn, Joel and Janet McClure, continue the tradition of excellent hospitality and comfortable accommodations. Travelers rave about the traditional Northwoods lodge, the Great room with the impressive stone fireplace, and fantastic breakfast offerings. This Phelps Bed and Breakfast has 8 rooms, in addition to the Tamarack Log Cabins that range from one to three bedrooms.
Hazen Inn is located at 4487 Hazen Inn Lane in Phelps. Visit the Hazen Inn online or call (715)545-3600 to learn more about this wonderful B&B and book your stay!
To learn more about Phelps history, visit the Phelps Museum today!