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Bright Star Resort was established in the late 1940s by Margaret & Milt Vacek. Initially, they built their home in what eventually became Cabin 4. They raised two daughters in that cabin and built Cabin 1 where it stands today. However, that cabin was damaged and replaced later (1969). The small cabin close to the lake (Cabin 2) was built next and was an excellent cabin for two people. With the kitchen table at the windows facing the lake, you could easily see and hear the ducks in the harbor. The back cabin, Cabin 3 was built next and had two bedrooms as it does today.

Fall colors at BSR
Cabin 4 predemo

In 1959, the Vaceks' family was expanding so they built the house to accommodate their son and two daughters. The house was a state of the art electric home as Milt was an electrical contractor. His business also allowed him to utilize his crews to update the electrical service for the cabins over the years. Their former home then became Cabin 4.

In 1969, when the contractor came to give Marge an estimate on what it would take to replace Cabin 1, she complained about needing winter storage for boats, etc. By the time the contractor left, Milt was committed to a two-story cabin (Cabin 5) with a two-stall garage under it.

In the fall off 1973, two "rubes" from Chicago showed up - Madelen & Denny Schuemann. Denny had quite a scare that summer when his heart was out of beat, so he was looking for a business to buy so he could be his own boss. Milt's cousin lived across from Schuemanns in suburban Chicago and got the two couples together. Madelen & Denny arrived at Bright Star on September 15th with the temperature about 40 and cold rain falling. Customers were bringing in beautiful stringers of fish and having a great time at the resort. Schuemanns loved the house and it could hold their six children amply. Vaceks assured them that Denny could easily find employment and that the resort would bring in excellent income for them. Schuemanns even got to sleep overnight in the newest cabin, No. 5, which really impressed them.

Madelen & Dennis Schuemann
High water year

By the end of 1973, the Schuemanns had arrived at Bright Star lock, stock and barrel. In early spring, they were cleaning cabins, painting and getting ready for business. One change that was made immediately was to remodel the attached garage to the house into a "lodge" for the customers to congregate in. A juke box, pool table and foosball table were added, along with a bar to sit around for discussions on settling the world's problems. The first few years were hampered by high water that completely covered the road on the west side of the bridge. It was terribly hard to get customers when they could not get to you.

Soon it was apparent that there was not enough income to maintain the family so Madelen and Denny both sought jobs. With teenage children, it was easy to have them handle arrivals during the day, clean fish for customers, give them gas, etc. The girls handled making beds and the boys kept the lawn up nicely.

In 1984 close friends of the Schuemanns moved into Cabin 4 as year-round tenants. Ole and Doris Sangren had Denny make some changes inside the cabin, so that the picture window faced the lake and a deck was added. They enjoyed ten years in Cabin 4 and helped the Schuemanns with cleaning and maintenance projects. Also in the mid-80s, a couple from Iowa became summer tenants in the back cabin. They asked for a screen porch so Denny, Ole and the boys built the screen porch that so many guests still enjoy today.

In 1994, the resort was sold on a contract-for-deed; this contract was voided in less than a year and the Schuemanns renewed ownership in 1995. Many former customers returned and new ones trickled in as well. With the return to Bright Star, Tim took over day-today activities and became manager. A new water system was added to entire resort with soft water. This was a wonderful addition for keeping the sinks and toilets looking nice - no more iron stains!

Busy Yard

Beginning in 2000, updates were made to the cabins with carpeting, new bed linens and curtains. Over the next few years, a deck was added to Cabin 1 and a new counter top was put into the fish cleaning house. A new aluminum dock extends well into the lake with new 25 hp motors purchased for rental. New stoves and refrigerators were added to all of the cabins. New hide-a-bed couches were also welcome additions to the cabins.

Also, a new garage was added behind the house to accommodate the many projects that develop when running a resort. The house and new garage had gray vinyl siding added and all of the cabins were painted a soft gray to match. A sand box, swings and slide were added for young guests as well as an old fashioned swing in the middle of the yard to just enjoy the view. Hummingbird feeders and goldfinch feeders are near each cabin with seasonal flowers blooming every summer.

While preparing for the 2003 spring season, new pots and pans were added in all the cabins and a new television in Cabin 5. Bright Star was almost ready for the season. However, on April 28th, Cabin 5 caught fire overnight and was a total loss. It took until July to work through the insurance procedures and construction began on the new cabin in late July. It was replaced with the same structure with the garage actually roughed-in for a future cabin. In-the-floor heat with water tubing was installed with a single boiler also providing hot water for washing and bathing.

Cabin 5 after the fire
Demolition of Cabin 4

Cabin 4 was demolished in September and replaced with a two-story structure housing two cabins. The bottom cabin was designated as Cabin 2, as the original Cabin 2 is now used for storage purposes. It will be retired to the back of the resort in the next year or so. The new cabin 2/4 also has in-the-floor heat and both units are very roomy.

Madelen still works outside the resort, pitching in whenever she can and keeping the flower beds looking spectacular all summer long. Denny is now retired and can be found working on various resort projects or processing deer in the fall.

Our daughter-in-law, Jackie, developed a web site for us a few years ago and continues to expand and improve upon it. Our other son, Brian, (Jackie's husband) played a major role in rebuilding Cabin 5 and Cabin 2/4. Brian, Jackie and Tim are the generation that is the future for Bright Star. All of us really think that Bright Star has a lot to offer and hope that you will find this history interesting and maybe pique your interest enough to give us a call and come for a stay. You won't be sorry.

The whole family

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