History of Black's Cliff Resort

Blacks Cliff Resort History 1

Black’s Cliff Resort, originally known as Keith’s Cliff, was built in 1918 by Clifton Keith, a railroad man from Chicago. Like many folks then and now, he pined for lively lakes in the Northwoods far from the crowded city.

Clifton started by building three cabins - Birchwood, Musy Inn and Chipmunk. In the mid 1920’s, he added Bayview, Wildflower, Restawhile and Wigwam.

Blacks Cliff Resort History 2

Clifton and Lulu ran the resort until 1945. They were getting older, and their kids were away fighting a war. They decided to sell.

Maynard Black (a teacher in Elmhurst, Illinois) and his wife Millie had always yearned to won a resort. They had seen the resort and loved it, but just did not have sufficient funds to buy it.

Blacks Cliff Resort History 3

On Christmas 1945, Clifton called Maynard and Milie and made them an offer. The details of that offer have been lost to time, but they accepted. And so began a new chapter of the Black family, and four generations of love and devotion to Black’s Cliff Resort and their guests.

Craig Black(Maynard and Millie’s son) ran, maintained and updated the resort from 1970 - 2012. He has since passed the resort to his children Jenny, Steve and Katie - the third generation!

Blacks Cliff Resort History 4

The daily operations of the resort fall to Jenny and her husband, Troy Gibson. They are happy to have the help of Steve to keep up with daily maintenance, remodeling cabins, and making resort improvements wherever they are needed.

The 4th generation, Jake, Ben and Great Gibson can also be found helping out and learning the trade.

At Black’s Cliff, everyone is welcome. The bigger the family (including furry members) the better! Dogs are always welcome at Black’s Cliff - as long as they follow a few resort rules.

Blacks Cliff Resort History 5

Generations of families have become part of Black’s Cliff Resort. The Schmelzer family has been coming for over four decades. They spend summers swimming and fishing. In the winter the Schmelzers return to enjoy snow and warm fireplaces.

Jack Schmelzer passed away in 2007 after coming up for 37 years. The Schmelzer family made a beautiful wooden porch overlooking the lake and names it “Jack’s Landing.” It has since become a popular place for families to enjoy time together.

Blacks Cliff Resort History 6

All original cabins are still at the resort. There are now a total of 13 cabins and lodges. All have modern amenities, but still maintain a rustic charm. Each features the original stone fireplace and screens porch with antique wicker furniture.

Every screened porch has one or two swinging beds. What could make better childhood memories than sleeping in a swinging bed on a screened porch after a day of playing with friends and an evening spent catching fireflies?

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