Carl K. Schels was born in Germany in 1906. He had a third grade education when he arrived in the United States at the age of 14 but that didn’t stop him from living an enterprising life. In the years he lived in Eagle River he was a logger, trapper, moonshiner and farmer.
In 1939, Carl married Martha Schels and in time they had four children. Tragically they lost two daughters. Their two sons survived and grew to have businesses in the Eagle River area themselves. When the couple married Carl built a simple home near Anvil Lake. Like many in the area, venison was a staple of life for the Schels family. Water was supplied by Anvil Lake.
By 1948 Carl started a sawmill in Eagle River and for a time was the largest employer in the area with 45 people. Another tragedy struck in 1957 when the mill burned. It was reconstructed but never achieved its former size again.
Carl had a deep appreciation for nature and its beauty, which ultimately manifested itself in the creation of ‘Carl’s Wood Art Museum’. Carl was also a friend to the Menominee people and they in turn considered him a friend. Today their gift to him stands in the Historical Museum. The large carving of Beaver Woman was made entirely by hand using only historic Menominee methods.
Carl also wrote two books about his life experiences one on trapping and another about the Eagle River area.
This early resident of Eagle River died in 1996 after 90 years of living a self reliant and vital life.