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History

Reflections On Chimney Corners from Mollie Rogers:

“The resort is still the beautiful vacation refuge of the same families who first checked in about the time Jim and I were beginning to get the hang of running a resort, and that’s more than fifty years ago! These faithful families have observed the inevitable changes; as the Rogers family grows and changes, so does Chimney Corners, the only resort of any size remaining on Crystal Lake. For the most part they approve, ‘It just keeps getting better,’ we’re happy to hear from ‘old’ guests.”

Leola and Olin Rogers, Jim Sr.’s parents, opened the first guestbook at Chimney Corners’ main lodge in 1935. Olin, a former lumberman, was out of work in the midst of the Great Depression. Desperate to generate income for their young family, the Rogers’ turned their vacation home near Frankfort into a guesthouse for boarders. Leola oversaw the kitchen, creating wonderful Midwestern meals and presenting them gracefully for her guests. Even in the Depression era, she made sure there were rose petals in the finger bowls next to each plate.

As Mollie reflects, “to be a Chimney Corners guest for any length of time is to become involved with the Rogers family, and perhaps that’s a part of our strength. As you remember and care about us, so do we remember (usually–) and care about you. “

Now under the careful care of Mollie’s son Jim Jr. and his wife, Mary Gillespie Rogers, Chimney Corners continues to adapt and mature. All the cottages, apartments, and rooms have been remodeled and redecorated, moving with grace into the 21st century- no small challenge when you remember that most of buildings were built between 1910 (the Lodge) and the 1950’s.

“Most importantly” insists Mollie, “all generations of Rogers, together with fellow-workers, have retained the basic principle of care and attention to our guests. Moreover, in the face of increasing development around Crystal Lake, we continue to insist on the importance of space and careful growth.

“I have the great joy, not always vouchsafed to the old, of seeing the object of Jim and my life’s labors, Chimney Corners, prospering. My in-laws, Olin and Leola, and my husband, Jim Sr. would be proud- as am I. We are surrounded by love, and we hope this is true of all of you, dear friends.” – Mollie Rogers 1921-2012.