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Schumacher Island

The owners of Bamboo Shores Vacation Rental Homes are Ron and Bonnie Schumacher who also own Schumacher Island. They were both born in Shawano County, attended Bowler Schools, and were high school sweethearts. They moved to Milwaukee after their marriage in 1963, but made many trips to the Bowler and Shawano area to visit relatives.

Ron was working in the Shawano area in the fall of 1980 and, while eating at the Limestone Castle, a local supper club now burned down, he struck up a conversation with Jack Schumacher (not related). Jack, a Shawano attorney, had owned Schumacher Island since 1947. Ron had seen the island a few years earlier and was intrigued with the idea of someday owning it. Jack related that he hadn't used the island in seven or eight years, but he wasn't interested in selling it. Ron then asked about the possibility of leasing it. Ron and Bonnie had 4 young children and Ron stressed that they would enjoy "finding buried treasure", and "sailing on the high seas". Jack said "let me think about it".

The Schumachers got a letter from Jack in October 1980 and said he was thinking over the "Schumacher Island" proposition and said he would consider selling. Jack mentioned the names of several local business people interested in buying the island and he would entertain an offer. Ron knew he had to see him in person to close the deal. A few days later, in Jack's office, Ron stated that he didn't want to get into a bidding war. Ron said "Jack, if you sell to me it will always stay Schumacher Island". Price didn't matter after that because Jack got what he wanted and the deal was signed that day. Ron has since told the story that he bought, his wife, Bonnie an island for her birthday on that day, November 7, 1980.

The Schumachers didn't own a boat until 1986, so when vacationing on the Island, they rented a pontoon boat from Jerry and Marty Olsen, who owned the Bamboo Bar. Jerry and Marty Olsen sold their rental cottage at W5872 Cedar Ave and a metal storage garage W5873 Cedar Ave to Ron and Bonnie in 1992. A friend of the Schumachers, Jack Alexander, suggested the name Bamboo Shores for the cottages and it stuck. Ron said the Island would always be #1. Olsen's cottage became "cottage #2" and the metal building became "cottage #3". Log siding was added in 1997 and it was remodeled to become their residence. They purchased 2 more homes, #4 in 1994 and #5 in 1996.

Jerry Olsen was one of the people trying to buy Schumacher Island from Jack in 1980. Would it now be Olsen Island???? I wonder.

The name was changed from the Island in Shawano Lake to "Schumacher Island" after Jack Schumacher purchased the island from the Winter family on October 6, 1947. Ron and Bonnie were visited on the island a few years after they bought it by Franklin Winter, and he told them the island was nearly washed away at the time his parents sold it to Jack Schumacher. It contained a small cabin and the water was within a few feet of the door. The trees had been cut for firewood by his brother, who was staying there several years before, and there no longer was a root system to keep the island from eroding. He said the island was important to his dad as a place to "get away', to clear his mind, and relax.

Jack Schumacher refilled the Island in 1959 and 1960, prior to existing DNR and Corps of Engineers permit requirements. He contracted to have rock hauled over the ice in the winter of 1958-59 and they hauled dirt fill on top of the rock in the winter of 1959-60. The size of the Island after the fill, according to an article and picture by the Shawano Leader, was approximately 100 feet by 200 feet. The original platted size of the island on the abstract dated December 22, 1927 was 1.92 acres. The island's actual size at the present is between 1/3 and acre. There are DNR and Corps of Engineer rules and regulations now that would probably prohibit the refilling of the island today.

A one bedroom cabin was hauled across the ice and placed on the Island in the winter of 1960-61. Various willow trees were planted in spring to hold the island together. The Schumachers have since added pines, maples, basswoods, oaks, an elm and cherry trees. The foliage is so thick and mature, today, that only trees are visible from the air.

The home on the Island was remodeled during the summer of 1997, and made larger than the original home; however, there is no indoor plumbing, so it cannot be rented to the public. Ron and Bonnie, their 4 children and families, friends and extended family have enjoyed many get-togethers on the Island from the summer of 1981 through the present.

The Shawano Area Chamber of Commerce shot the fireworks display from Schumacher Island for over 20 years. The willows became too thick, over the years, and it was no longer safe to shoot them through the trees. The fireworks were moved to the Shawano Airport in 1997.

The story told is that many years ago before the Shawano Paper Mill Dam was constructed, the Island was actually a peninsula, connected to Rosenow's Point and a farmer pastured cows on the island. Rosenow's Point is the closest point from the shore to the island located just east of the Historical Marker on Highway 22 The water is from 3 - 3 feet deep from the point to the island. There have been people that walked out to the island in the summer time. That's not a big deal in the winter time because it is covered with ice.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asked for permission in 1990 to lay small rocks around the island for Walleyed Pike spawning beds and they also wanted to wrap the island with large rock to keep it from further erosion. DNR agents have indicated, in subsequent visits to the island, that the spawning beds have greatly increased the Walleye population in Shawano Lake.

There is one other bit of news that happened during rutting season in 1991. A moose, believed to be from Upper Michigan, wandered into Shawano County looking for a girlfriend. The Shawano Leader reported he entered the east end of Shawano Lake, and surrounded by curiosity seekers and photographers, swam out to Schumacher island. Female moose are scarce on Schumacher Island so he swam back toward Cecil and exited the east end of Shawano Lake and the last anyone heard, he headed back to the UP.

The owners welcome visitors who would like to see Schumacher Island and the birds that nest there including several white swans the last few summers. It is kept very busy with family and friends and will always be #1 to those who stay there.

 

ron@bambooshores.com     Phone: (800) 969-2124 or (715) 524-2124     ©2005 Bamboo Shores, Inc.     Terms & Policies
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