The Rockwood Lodge is part of one of the most mysterious chapters in Packers history.
It was a time when the team was in debt. The lodge was unpopular. Then on January 24, 1950, the Rockwood Lodge burned down and the team received $50,000 in insurance money.
Ellyn Katch Kehoe lived at the lodge with her parents who were the caretakers.
“If we’re alive, nothing else matters,” she said.
Katch Kehoe says she’s convinced the fire was caused by an electrical problem, just as her father had told reporters at the scene.
“Lights went out, they flashed. So there was an electrical problem before the fire,” Katch Kehoe said.
But some people, like author Larry Names, think the fire was no accident.
“If it wasn’t arson then the Packers are the luckiest franchise ever in any sport,” Names said. “They needed that money desperately and all of the sudden some angel burns down Rockwood Lodge and they get an insurance check out of it?”
FOX 11 asked Tom Murphy from the Packers Hall of Fame for his thoughts on the arson theory.
“That’s ridiculous,” Murphy said. “That was never proved. It was researched. There was faulty wiring. There were other problems at Rockwood Lodge.”
When asked how convinced he is that the fire was an accident, he replied, “Oh, I’m convinced that it was an accident. I have no doubt, no doubt in my mind. No doubt at all.”
FOX 11 asked Murphy why some people still suspect foul play. Murphy replied, “The same people feel there has to be a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. Things just can’t take their natural course. There always has to be more to the story. In this case, like so many other cases, I don’t think there was any more to the story.”
The only thing that is believed to have survived the fire at Rockwood Lodge is this charcoal drawing of Curly Lambeau which now hangs above the fireplace at Curly’s Pub. The drawing was donated to the Packers Hall of Fame 10 years ago.
“It shows some water damage and the way it was explained by the people who donated it is that it was because of the fire, water putting out the fire,” Murphy said. “Somehow it survived.”
Just as the mystery surrounding the Rockwood Lodge survives, 64 years after it went up in flames.