Back in 1954, Carl Hedquist built the last of Shady Shore Resort's cabins. Some of that year's guests, and many of their descendants, are still coming to this quintessential mom-and-pop resort -- and being greeted by Hedquist's family.

"When my grandfather started building cabins in 1935," Andrew Jorgenson said, "families started coming from Iowa, Illinois, the Dakotas, a lot of farming folks who weren't on lakes and thought of that as an ideal vacation."

Perched on Moose Lake 19 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, Shady Shore is one of the few North Woods resorts founded on homestead land -- by Swedish immigrant Nils August Hedquist in 1892 -- that still is owned by the same family.

Jorgenson, whose father called the place "a benevolent millstone," pays homage to that legacy in every way possible.

"All the cabins were built with wood from the homestead," he said, "and to maintain facilities, we have an eye to do it with a sense of continuity. So we take the long road. Whenever we lose a tree or one becomes kinda iffy, we'll mill it and cure it and put it back in the cabins.

"When I got married, I built a platform for the ceremony out of solid birch wood, and the next year, I took that wood and put it in a kitchen in one of the cabins."

It might have all gone away 15 years ago when Jim Jorgenson, Andrew's father, died. "My mom [Linda Hedquist Jorgenson] had a meager teacher's salary," said Andrew, who was 16 at the time, "and people were coming by with blank checks and saying, 'You don't need to do this.' I don't know how she kept it going.

"She had to make a lot of sacrifices. Her dedication is why the resort is still there. It's a real inheritance, and that brings responsibility with it."

The continuity extends to customers such as Gary and Barb Carlson, who used to baby-sit Linda Jorgenson and still come up every year, often singing folk tunes outdoors in the evenings. About 75 percent of Shady Shore's guests are repeat customers -- and friends.

"We keep in touch over the holidays," Jorgenson said. "When we get a phone call in the spring to confirm a reservation, my mom will end up talking with them for an hour or so, catching up with the kids.

"I was putting in a dock in 50-degree weather a few weeks ago and thinking 'Am I crazy?' Without that intrinsic drive it would be a no-brainer; you'd let it go."