Rogers Bar, also known as Cisco Inn, was built in 1939 by Grandpa Jack Rogers, aka “Cisco Jack.” Prior to moving to the present location, he ran a speakeasy joint in Watersmeet called the Red Onion, in 1927.
That same year, he and 5 other men were arrested in violation of the Volstead Act. According to an article in the Ironwood Daily Globe, “Several quarts of moonshine was found in possession of the men along with a number of gallons of wine and liquor.” The sheriff said he intended to keep “swinging the mop” until he made that section of the county as dry as possible.
In 1933, after the 21st Amendment was ratified ending Prohibition, Grandpa Jack operated Jacks Bar in Watersmeet, MI for approximately 5 years. Rogers Bar was licensed as the “Cisco Inn” from 1939 to 2002, (but known as “Rogers Bar” since the ’60s). Grandpa named it that because it is located on Cisco Lake Road and Old US Hwy 2 and just North of the Cisco Lake Chain.
Grandpa lived in the back of the bar. He used a small generator for the lights and cooler. Power came later in 1953. In 1948, his son Bill Rogers married Marilyn Brooks, and they took the bar over in June 1949. Grandpa Jack became ill and passed away in October 1949. Mom & Dad continued to run the bar for 54 years. They are now together in Heaven as of October 2016.
In the 1950s & 60s they had four children – Mike, John, Nancy and Greg. As the years went by, they catered to the lumberjacks, hunters, fishermen and seasonal landowners. Some of the bigger lumber camps were known as Natzke & Scheu, Sorensen and Luedtke. There were lumberjacks with creative names such as Hungry Joe, Swamper Joe, Big Ole and Fin Alfred.
For many years, Rogers Bar had the only telephone in the area and would deliver messages to lumber, hunting, and fishing camps. Snowmobiling started in the mid-1960s and you could ride almost anywhere. With the help of snowmobile clubs and volunteers who maintain the old railroad grade, snowmobiling and ATV riding have become a huge sport in the Upper Peninsula. It sure helps bring tourism throughout the year.
There are so many people, stories, parties, pig roasts, etc., to capture every moment from 1939 to the present. We wish we could tell every one… Greg & Sue Rogers took the bar over in 2002 and are continuing the belief that customer service comes first. Stop in, because there is no such thing as a stranger at Rogers Bar. “We’re not in the middle of nowhere, but you can see the middle of nowhere from here.”