aboard for Hayward, Hurley and Hell! the train conductors
would yell. Northern Wisconsin had become a playground for
gangsters, politicians and the beautiful people
of Chicago during Prohibition and the Great Depression.
seaplanes. The town of Hurley
boasted lively soda fountains fronting the famous
brothels upstairs. Sam Giancana, Joe Saltis and Jimmy Hoffa vacationed
in the area. The new movie, Public Enemies, starring
Johnny Depp as John Dillinger portrays a raid and shoot-out in
nearby Manitowish Waters that was just part of the madness in
the Northwoods of the 1930s.
and the Sultan
Room. The menu boasts that it’s “Overlooking the beautiful
Namekagon River as if it were the Black Sea. Now we’ve never
seen the Black Sea, but were pretty sure you couldnt
chuck a rock across it. But hey, we get what The Turk was going
reds and dazzling golds combine with tassels, ibriks, crazy
amounts of photos of the famous and infamous, quirky relics
and personal heirlooms depicting the rich history of the place.
The result is a veritable museum of an
bygone era. We spent hours enthusiastically snooping around.
playing favorites here. We uncovered photos of singers, actors,
politicians, sports figures and celebs like Priscilla Presley,
Mickey Rooney, Dina Shore, Jim Ed Brown, several Kennedys, Russ
Feingold, Thommy Thompson, Walter Mondale and Supreme Court Justice
Harry Blackmun. Anyone whos anyone and been in the neighborhood
has stopped by The Turks Inn, some, with severe mugshot
phobia, declined to be photographed.
and Isabella, Marge Gogian. Most likely in her eighties
(she wont tell), and standing well under five feet tall,
Marge is a spitfire. She still runs the kitchen, makes a special
appearance at every guests table (as her always father did)
and will tell stories that will leave you wide-eyed with disbelief.
has changed nothing, literally nothing. The Inn is exactly
the way her dad left it. The kitchen is vintage (Marge doesnt
believe in microwaves), the cash register with the handwritten
No Credit sign underneath (in The Turks
own hand), the bar and the tables are all original, perfectly
wonderfully whimsical. Always prepared, The Gogians (including Marge)
have the bar stocked with enough booze for several Wisconsin winters
and must have ordered bazillions of
paper goods decades ago — the
cocktail napkins, match books (strike on the FRONT cover — when
is the last time you saw that?) and postcards are truly classic.
Each emblazoned with The Turks personal motto Dont
says they had quite the time in the old days.
The local sheriff kept tabs when government men
were hanging around and kept The Turk abreast on the situation.
As a young girl, Marge would be
helping out in the kitchen and remembers the racketeers
showing up with their entourages. She recalls being afraid only
once, when a
particularly menacing set of gangsters came in one
evening. Even as a child Marge had keen instincts, as later that
night gunshots were exchanged in town.
In the off
season, the family traveled. Marge told us of a trip she took
with her father as a teenager. They happened to be at the hotel
where King Saud, founder of Saudi Arabia, was also staying. George,
never having met a stranger, chatted him up. They ending up hanging
out together and a picture taken by the Kings photographer
of seventeen year old Marge is hanging on the wall in the Inn’s
In the ’60s,
Marge wanted to visit Afghanistan even though Americans weren’t
allowed to. The Turks answer was, Why the hell do
you want to go to Afghanistan? The ever feisty Marge decided
to head on over anyway. She arrived in India but was not allowed
through, so she stubbornly sat at the Embassy until they relented.
The terms of her visit were that she would be escorted by two
Englishmen and a driver, could only travel within a 50 mile
radius and would have to stay in Afghanistan for two weeks to
qualify for an exit visa. Marge arrived during the holy month
of Ramadan and there were no women to be seen. She remembers thinking,
what kind of place is this? As soon as The Turk got
wind of the situation, he called Bobby Kennedy. He put a
trace on me, laments Marge. They knew every hotel
I stayed in during my entire trip. An exit visa was finally
obtained and Marge was sent home.
to arrange a marriage for his headstrong daughter– once. The
poor boy showed up in Wisconsin, and Marge put her foot down.
I told my father to send him back where he came from,
she says with a mischievous smile. Im glad Im
not married — Im so fussy, but my parents were fussy and
I learned that from them.
instead Marge went to Washington, D.C. for college. There
she met John and Ted Kennedy. Later on, when invited to JFKs
inaugural ball, Marge took her father, after some strong convincing.
The Turk was concerned about attending, as Hayward was a Republican
town and the Kennedys were Democrats. But Marge says,
Dad loved to have a good time, so he ended up going
anyway. No one in Hayward cared.
she couldnt be a fashion
model because of her diminutive size. Believe you me, she was
When her fathers
health began to decline, Marge was brought back home to help out
at the Turks Inn and she has been there ever since.
opulent atmosphere compliments meals fit for a sultan. Marge
still ages and hand cuts every steak on site. The pilaf is
magical and the lamb legendary. The cucumber-horseradish dressing
tickles your taste buds
like an undulating belly dancer. Our meal ended with the Inns
fresh and homemade baklava. Marge explained that she prepares her
syrup with rosewater and lemon
juice, so it is different and less
sweet than the Greek version.
When you visit