Lakeland Retirement Foundation History
In 1977, Lakeland area senior citizens incorporated a non-profit organization called the Lakeland Retirement Foundation, Ltd. A survey had been conducted among residents of Minocqua, Hazelhurst, Woodruff, Boulder Junction, Lac du Flambeau, Manitowish Waters, Presque Isle, Sayner, Winchester, Arbor Vitae, Star Lake and Lake Tomahawk to find out about senior income levels, financial and social needs, numbers of disabled seniors and transportation needs.
Eventually, with the generosity of area businesses and the community, the new building opened its doors on April 1st, 1978. The building was conveniently located at the Hiawatha Mobile Home Estates Park in Woodruff overlooking Hiawatha Lake. The facility was formerly the headquarters for the Easy Slider Country Ski Center. The building was rented for $1 per year and the Lakeland Retirement Foundation provided the furnishings and paid for the utilities, phone costs and building insurance. Since the park was set up as a retirement community, the center became known as the “Hiawatha Senior Center”.
As the years went by many activities developed in the center such as card playing, Dominoes, pool leagues and exercise classes. Picnics, field trips, pot-luck gatherings, a quilting club, square dancing and musical entertainment programs were also offered. Even church services were held on Sunday mornings in the center. Later, the Nutrition Program and local transportation services were also offered.
Eventually, the center outgrew the facility and it was time to move on. A fundraising campaign led to numerous generous donations from the community and a new building opened its doors in July of 1989. In addition to the activities held at the Hiawatha site, this building also incorporated Arthritis Exercise classes, a Writers Group Club, an Art League, AARP Income Tax Assistance and more educational programs. The Oneida County Elderly Benefit Specialist, Veterans Service Officer and a Grief Support Group was also available as well as regular visits from an Elder Law Attorney to meet with customers in need.
Unfortunately, this building was destroyed by fire in May of 2015. Luckily, the Hiawatha Mobile Home Estates building was offered to the Senior Center and has housed our Administrative Offices and a variety of card games and other events since that time.
In 2017, another community survey was conducted and respondents indicated they wanted another building to be built for the facility. Fundraising efforts are again underway and we hope to start building a new building this year! The new building will be twice as large as the last one and will feature many new things for the community, including a Memory Café, Pickle Ball Courts, a retail shop and nail clinic. It will also have a large auditorium, which will be available for rent by community groups as well as family events such as wedding receptions, family reunions, etc.
The Lakeland Retirement Foundation is very excited about our new building and we believe it will be a much needed resource for the entire Lakeland Area! Donations are greatly appreciated and can be directed to the Lakeland Retirement Foundation, P.O. Box 1815, Woodruff, WI 54568. You may contact us at 715-356-9118 and please also be sure to check out our newly updated website at www.lakelandretirement.org.