Welcome to the official site for Kraftwood. This site will feature articles, historical information, photos, and videos, and hopefully contributions from personal family collections.

If you would like to contribute to this site please use the form on our contact page. With your help, we look forward to creating the most complete online historical database of information for Kraftwood – the gardens, the people, the buildings, and more.

16 replies
  1. John Emery
    John Emery says:

    Hello from Green Bay – I have a little bit of nostalgia about Kraftwood for you. Being SuperBowl Sunday, my wife asked if Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots, was from Kraft Foods. Having grown up in Elcho and with some firsthand knowledge of the Kraft family, I emphatically answered NO! I told her about J.L. Kraft and the family estate Kraftwood on Enterprise Lake. I actually attended church services at Kraftwood back on the 50’s as a little boy, then as a teenager working in my dad’s boatshop in the 60’s I made a few service calls to Kraftwood to work on the boats. I recall Mrs. Kraft at the time was getting up in years but still drove herself around in her big blue & white Oldsmobile 98. I also remember the Kraftwood caretaker, Roy, who used to come in the boatshop. He was a real gentleman that always wore khaki’s and drove a nice Buick. The caretakers house was near the entrance to the estate, right next to the public boat landing. Also, my dad was a rock collector which might have been something he had in common with J.L. My dad died in 1968, but I have on my bookshelf a slice of agate from his collection that has written on it in pencil, ‘Shell fern agate J.L. Kraft’, possibly in J.L.’s own handwriting since it doesn’t look like my dad’s. Well, that’s about the limit of my recollection of Kraftwood. When I googled J.L. Kraft, I also stumbled on this website which you are building. I’ll look forward to coming back in the future when you have some photos uploaded. This all brings back great memories of growing up in Elcho in the 50’s/60’s. Take care & God Bless, John Emery

  2. Suzy Zucker
    Suzy Zucker says:

    Robert Kraft is not of the Kraft family that began the cheese business, and I believe the Robert Kraft mentioned is a Jewish businessman. Our family is of Mennonite origins (Anabaptist), originally spelled with two ffs, as in Krafft, of the Boehme or Beam family. A Beam married George Krafft, as memory serves from looking at family records. We are from the Fort Erie (Stephensville), ON, Canada family, and going back from Lancaster County, PA.

  3. Suzy Zucker
    Suzy Zucker says:

    I should add that the one who married George Krafft was M. Tripp, who was of the Beam family. Just to clarify.

  4. Edward A Hayden
    Edward A Hayden says:

    As a descendent of J.L. Kraft’s brother, Charles H. , I find your website to be very interesting. I loved seeing photos past and present. I hope to see a future open garden. Great to see this site!

  5. James Weir
    James Weir says:

    Finally, am thrilled that someone is paying tribute to the Kraftwood Gardens and the James L Kraft family.

    This visit was a total pleasure.

  6. Ken Lund
    Ken Lund says:

    I have made a study of Totem Poles and am most interested in both of the poles that Mr. Kraft obtained from Alert Bay. I have additional photos and information on these poles. Is the pole at Kraftwood still standing?

  7. Leslie Stewart
    Leslie Stewart says:

    So happy to find this website–thank you! I spent many happy weekends here with my great aunt and uncle, Ruth and Roy Anderson when I was young. Such a magical place and I often long to visit again.

  8. David Wright
    David Wright says:

    Thanks for assembling this, whoever you are. I have fond memories of spending the month of July in Kraftwood in the late 1950s through early 1960s. I remember the fishing in Lake Enterprise was pretty poor, but the summer weather was glorious, the Chris-Craft was in fine fettle, and the distance from modern conveniences was a balm for the soul.

    • Vicki Telford
      Vicki Telford says:

      Hi David, I don’t know if there’s any connection, but I remember a Rev. David Wright (who passed away much too young), who was amazing as the pastor of the little chapel in Kraftwood. My family spent many summers there in the late 50’s and early 60’s – the von Jacobi’s. Feels like several lifetimes ago.

      • David Wright
        David Wright says:

        Hi Vicki,

        Reverend David Wright was my father. We lived in the Chicago area at the time, and Kraftwood was my father’s one month downtime from a very busy pastoral schedule. The Kraft and Wright families had shared business and religious interests, which allowed my father to trade sermons for a cabin.

        Our last summer at Kraftwood was in 1963. Truly another era.

        — Dave Wright

  9. Randell W. Sanders
    Randell W. Sanders says:

    I worked for Pauline Kraft the Summer of 1959. What a joy for a kid fro Chicago to work for such a nice family and a great place

  10. Kate
    Kate says:

    Yesterday my husband and I discovered the intriguing Kraftwood gate while taking back roads on our way home to Rhinelander from Antigo. We looked for a website upon returning home. What a treat to see these wonderful old photographs! Is this still owned and used by the Kraft family? Do many of the original buildings still stand? I look forward to more information. Thanks.

  11. Rhonda Budz
    Rhonda Budz says:

    Hi Me and my husband purchased our cottage on Enterprise Lake in 1989. Our realtor was Eleanor Goepfert. She grew up in the Elcho area. She would tell us about the Kraftwood Estate, and how beautiful it was back in the early days. The grounds were absolutely stunning, with an abundance of beautiful flowers,and perfection to all the buildings, boathouse, and piers. We must say, that we are so honored to have such great people associated with this pristine lake. The lake has such a peacefulness, because they created that. Having the Lagrange Boyscouts on the lake is sure wonderful! Thanks to all the Krafts for donating that property. Our cottage has always been our haven, and a place that we could get away from the hectic lifestyle, and spend quality time with our family and children. It is true nature, and you had a lot to do with preserving that great feeling. If someone could please e mail me. I have some idea’s. Thank you! Doug and Rhonda Budz

  12. Julie Janicek-Wilkey
    Julie Janicek-Wilkey says:

    I grew up in Madison, our Family was part of the group that owned Woodland Lodge. I think the first time I remember being at Woodland Lodge, was in 1965 or so. I have such great memories of that place and the area in general. The first time I saw Kraftwood, the gardens were still maintained and gorgeous.
    I was last there when we were nearby and my husband was bird hunting. A friend and I drove over to see what was left of Woodland Lodge and Kraftwood. The tennis courts and a cabin or two were all that remained. A few new modern cabins were there.
    At Kraftwood, empty and lonely looking. The lake was so low you would not have been able to get a boat inside.
    My times in Northern Wisconsin left me with fantastic memories!

  13. Elizabeth Gundrum
    Elizabeth Gundrum says:

    Hi..just found this site. My dad grew up in Elcho and lived on Enterprise lake road. He was born in 1934, Vern Stogbauer. His Dad Louis worked at Kraftwood gardens in the 40s for sure and probably through to his death in 1950. I have tried a few times in years past to get a peek at the grounds but it has always been posted and fenced off. is it still?


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