Chanticleer Inn, named from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales' famous rooster character, was built in 1922 by the Sanborn Family of Eagle River. The main lodge burned in 1923, but was rebuilt immediately. Some artifacts of this fire are on display in the lobby of the Inn's main lodge. John and Betty Alward (Jake's parents) purchased the "summer only" resort in 1951 with their friends, Dick and Gerry Brown. At that time, the resort consisted of 13 cottages along the waterfront, the lodge and 40 acres of land. For health reasons, the Browns sold out to the Alwards in 1953.
John and Betty Alward and their three children, Lauralee, Chuck, and Jake began, with gusto, to upgrade the resort, beginning with winterizing the existing units. Thus, Chanticleer became a year 'round resort. By 1965, they had removed 2 cottages and built the motel units. They worked tirelessly, running the resort and cooking for the American Plan Resort. The Alwards were active community members and industry innovators. John passed away in 1990. Betty "Chief" at 91, passed away in July of 2006. Jake's parents also founded the World Championship Snowmobile Derby on Dollar Lake in 1963 and 1964. John Alward was inducted posthumously into the International Snowmobile Racing Hall of Fame in 1992. There have been several re-enactments since the original Derby.
Jake purchased the resort from his parents in 1972 and the Cleerwood Village Condominiums were built that winter and opened in July 1973. He married Sue Satran of Eagle River in 1976. They reside on the property and have the 3rd generation of Alwards in place; Jennifer, Jessica, Janlee, and Rob. Since that time three more cottages were removed. 1983 brought a major renovation of the Main Lodge - new entrance, front desk/office, a gift shop, and much larger bathrooms! Also, there was a "facelift" for the cocktail lounge, which included new carpet, yet preserving the cozy ambiance of old. The lower level of this addition, known as "Below the Deck", is presently our conference/banquet room for approximately 80 persons.
We pride ourselves in keeping the Inn in top condition, from continual updating, redecorating, remodeling, and adding new amenities to meet the needs of our 21st century guests. In 1983, we received Property of the Year by the Wisconsin Innkeepers Association, and Honorable Mention in 1993. Jake was among those honored in the American Snowmobile Who's Who two years in a row. Also in 2003 the first annual Lemans car/truck race was held on Dollar Lake ice in early January. We were selected as number 3 for Best Individual Resort/Motel, and number 2 for Best Individual Restaurant by Snow Goer Magazine, nationally, in 2004. In 2007 direct TV was added, offering our guests: ESPN, ESPN2, WI Public Television, Cartoon Network, local CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC,TBS, TNT, USA, Weather Channel, CNN Headline News and FOX News channel. The Chanticleer Inn is honored to be the host resort for the original USAdult sanctioned POND HOCKEY tournament held on Dollar Lake. It began with 40 teams on 6 rinks hosted in 2006, 82 teams on 12 rinks in 2007, and 142 teams on 18 rinks in 2008, clearly showing its huge success! 200 teams are expected for the 2008 Tournament. The flurry of action on Dollar Lake for the three day tournament has become a community and Eagle River Fire Department effort, benefitting local businesses and organizations. 2008 also marked the 45th Anniversary of the 1st World Championship Snowobile Derby held on Dollar Lake. The Inn was awarded the great honor of "Best of the Road" in the Rand McNally atlas, 2008!
Our veteran chef and restaurant manager, Gary Kreger, was with the Inn from 1976 to 2012 and received much acclaim for his expertise, including Employee of the Year of the Wisconsin Innkeepers in 2001. His reputation of excellence earned the Chanticleer Restaurant the "Rave Award" from Northern Action Magazine in 1991, and in 2005 the"RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH" choice destination award by Discover Wisconsin, further promoting the Inn's popularity. 1991 marked the date that the Restaurant was rebuilt, increasing the capacity to 125! Coming by boat or car, tourists and locals alike enjoy the mouth-watering cuisine in our Restaurant as well as our famous "Beer Garden" for delicious grilled lunches in the summer.
Jake and Sue are committed to continuing a tradition of excellence of this 2nd generation, Family-owned Resort and preserving the natural beauty of its beautiful 40 acres bordering on the famous Eagle River/ Three Lakes 28 Lake Chain and the pristine shores of "private" Dollar Lake. This could account for our guest list including addresses from around the world. Jake and Sue's children have been integrally involved in the tradition of the Family-run Resort. Jennifer, Jessica, Janlee, and Rob have held various jobs around the Inn over the last several years. Today, Jen has returned to the Northwoods, after studying in MN and CA to earn her Master's Degree in Art Therapy and Marriage and Family Therapy. She is working at Northland Counseling in Eagle River (www.northlandcounselingsvcs.com) and is part of a crisis team for 3 area counties. She continues to help around the resort and pursue her art interests. Jes married Ben Post of Lindstrom, MN in May of 2003 at a beautiful outdoor ceremony on the Resort property. They both graduated from Bethel College in MN and reside in Minneapolis. Jes is self employed (Balanced Life Therapeutic Masssage), integrating her Athletic Training and Massage, specializing in connective tissue massage, while Ben works with Urban Homeworks (www.urbanhomeworks.org) as Associate Director. And... In March 2010, they adopted a beautiful baby boy, Jayden, beginning the 4th generation of the Chanticleer Inn. Janlee, is a 2004 graduate from Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN with a BA in Social Science with a Psych emphasis. She married Zach Johnson Oct. 10, 2009. It was another beautiful intimate ceremony at the Resort. They resided in Wheaton, IL til May 2010, while Zach finished his Masters in Christian Formation. They are currently living in Beuna Vista, CO where they are both working for Young Life at their Frontier Ranch Location; Zach, a hospitality director and Janlee, the Retail Manager. Rob graduated with a Bachelor of Science in aviation from the University of North Dakota May 13, 2006. He is currently flying for Air Wisconsin/USAirways. Rob was promoted to Captain in October, 2012. He married Ann Marvin of Brainard, MN on June 22, 1913, with a lakeside reception, on the beach of Dollar Lake. They reside in the Minneapolis area, where Ann continues teaching 2nd grade.
The entire growth of the CHANTICLEER INN has been the result of much hard work by the staff and the owners. You, the guests are considered our extended family. We WELCOME you and look forward to helping make your stay relaxing, fun, and a part of your favorite vacation memories. Please remember the CHANTICLEER INN for all your family needs...weddings, family reunions, romantic get-aways, and year 'round dining pleasures.