The size and scale of the Lodge is impressive, but even more impressive are the stained glass windows that turn this pile of logs into a place of unexpected reverence. The six windows were salvaged from St. Mary's of the Mountain, a tiny church built by the Jesuits when they worked these parts trying to convert trappers and Indians. They built a church and try to make a go of it for nearly fifty years. But they all died off in flood of cholera one desperate summer. So the wife of the railroad baron gave the Diocese some of her husband's guilt money, took those windows and installed them midst all those timbers. And they are impressive.
The burgundy and gold, the royal blue and forest green, of those carefully formed and forged shards of glass, seem much more natural to this log structure than you might first presume. The burgundy has the look of elk's blood drying on his deep brown coat; the gold, when the sunlight ignites it reminds one of well-aged whiskey; the royal blue is that blue that comes early in morning when the sun is yet half-risen; and that forest green, well, need I say more.
But what makes these particular windows so distinctive is due to the sensibility of those missionary minded Jesuits. Somehow the pictures of Jesus have an Algonquin look to them. Not sure how they managed it, but they got some of the Great Spirit in them, along with a touch of the North woods.
Most times when I come up here, I like to sit a spell and let the light of those old windows wash over my face, and I reckon I am hoping wash over my soul.
The Lodge is a two story barn of a place, three if you take into account the height of its towering open ceiling. On the ground floor is the meeting and eating area, along with the over-sized, remarkably well-fitted kitchen for this backwoods place. The stone fireplace rose all the way the far end of the Lodge, taking up a good half of the wall. It was a cook's fireplace with cast iron pots and skillets that could be swung in and out of the fire by way of pivoting iron rods.
Upstairs were the sleeping quarters, eight rooms, two bunks to a room, a table, two chairs, kerosene lanterns, two black locker trunks that served to keep under lock and key the guests' belongings. The bathhouse was out back, an old shed upgraded to take care of the necessities of life.
And to think I was paid in good Canadian silver to keep this place ready for hunters who never came.