As you gaze out over Walloon Lake, harken back to the surrounding woods and farmlands where Bo Randall traipsed field and forest with Ernest Hemingway. Ply the lake in a sailboat seeking friendships or hunt the woodlands for grouse and woodcock. Little has changed on Walloon Lake. Historical figures promenade through the memories, but intact is the lake they adored.
“I used to take our boat down to the ‘Foot’ and hop on a bus for school,” remembers Gary Randall describing the lower end of the lake. “My grandfather, Bo, bought the property in the 1900’s. Oh, those were wonderful times.”
“We met everyone through sailing,” reminisces Patty Baker, Gary’s sister. “We began going back to the lake after WWII ended. It was a beautiful place to grow up.”
There was an original home that burned in the 1920’s and, “That’s when they built the three cabins. There was an existing mess hall, which is still called ‘The Mess Hall.’” Patty continues. “Then there’s the barn and boat house, all original structures.”
To add to the lore of this century old homestead and its distinct peninsula offering spectacular views, it is known that Bo and his wife attended a “large party at the Hemingway’s in the 1920’s.” Facts are sketchy, but it seems the Randall’s attended Ernest Hemingway’s marriage to Hadley after he had returned from WWI.
The lifestyle being one of adventure around Walloon, Bo and his family would take to the big waters of Lake Michigan in their three masted schooner and sail to Lake Superior. It was around these mighty shores that they collected agates which now adorn the fireplace in the main cabin.
All the while, Bo was fabricating and perfecting the now famous Randall Made Knife, founded in 1938. He was walking the shore of Walloon Lake when he “saw a fellow scraping paint from a boat with a distinctive looking knife,” Bo Randall relates on the history of his company at randallknives.com. After trial and error, he began selling his blades at a haberdashery in Orlando, Florida. The rest, as they say, is history. Every day, if you so choose, you may walk through this time portal of old growth red and white pine, the smattering of white and black spruce and emerge onto the waterfront with welcoming cedars and sentinel birch. The three cabins resting at the shore are of romance and seclusion recounting Thoreau at Waldon Pond – and always a boat, bike, or car ride away from Walloon Lake Village. No matter the rising and setting sun, or the softly falling snow, this property will transport you to peace and serenity.
“I sit on my back deck and read, simply enjoying the peace and quiet,” sighs Patty. “I go for the beauty of the lake. I’ve traveled the world and can’t wait to get back there.”
For over one-hundred years, there has never been a disappointment.