Klose-To-Nature Kamp

From an account of the late George Brandt's history of Angel Island, condensed by Sue Eikenberry. (Summer 2006)

Anna May Robertson was born in 1876, and lived in the Spirit Lake, Iowa area. She was married to A.C. Robertson at the time they bought the Island on a contract for deed from Chauncey Hasbrouck about 1914. A.C. Robertson sold his undivided half interest to Anna May at the time of their divorce in 1921 for the princely sum of $1843.42.

At that time, Anna May, known to her friends as Robin, was already the sole proprietor and builder of Klose-to-Nature Kamp, the resort she created on the Island . Her sense of beauty and love for the Island is still visible. She was an avid gardener. Now wild grapes and lilies exist willy-nilly throughout the Island . Cement steps leading from near the Lodge to the north beach are bordered with pretty stones and shells, as is a large, square fish pond near the kitchen of the resort. Without the benefit of electricity or power cement mixers, she added TLC to her improvements. Robin’s caring presence endures, and adds charm to the ambiance of the entire Island .

The elegant dining room at Klose-to-Nature Kamp.

Al Woock, famous fireplace and cabin builder, farmer, and early area resident, told of attending lawn dances near the front of the resort. Sunday dinners were served for area guests in the beautifully decorated dining room. Their parrot, named Polly, survived for 30 years.

George Bowman was a resident, butcher, and later a cattle buyer in Pine River when Klose-to-Nature Kamp was flourishing in the 20’s and 30’s.  He and Robin shared birth dates, bonded rapidly and were married in the 30’s, long delayed until religious restraints of divorce were resolved by the death of A.C. Robertson. With the Great Depression and drought starting in 1928, the resort went into a decline, finalized tragically by a fire that destroyed the lodge in 1932. Only the majestic fireplace and chimney remained. The Bowmans soon abandoned the Island and moved to a small house on what is now Lorraine Stromquist’s property.  When that house burned down in 1953, the parrot again survived and moved with George and Robin Bowman to Akeley. Robin died in 1957, George 4 years later.  They are buried at the Oakdale Cemetery in Akeley.

     From Lorraine Stromquist:  The Bowmans owned many household antiques and were acquainted with and loved by many in the area. According to Lorraine ’s friend, the late Opal Roby, Robin often painted porcelain dishes and wares and loved horses and horseback riding. She rode extensively on the large fields, hills and valleys on Lorraine ’s property.  She continued to ride horses to age 82 until she fell and broke a hip. Again, according to Opal, one of the last statements made by her was “Oh what a beautiful land God has given us.”

Cabins at the “Klose to Nature Kamp”

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