Kemp Station enjoys a rich and varied history. The Station was originally the summer residence of the Kemp family. Edward Kemp purchased the land in the late 1800’s. He envisioned building a summer home on the point of land jutting into Tomahawk Lake, but died before any construction began. Minnie Kemp and her daughter, Francis, oversaw the construction of the log buildings in the early 1900’s. In 1960, Susan Small and Sally Greenleaf, granddaughters of Edward and Minnie Kemp, donated the buildings and 135-acre peninsula to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This most generous gift, designated in honor of the Kemp family, was made for “research on the management, preservation, and wise use of land and water resources.”
Scientists quickly recognized the value of a research station located in northern Wisconsin, pioneering research in tree physiology and forest ecosystem ecology. That tradition continues today. Since 1960 research activity at Kemp Station has generated more than 300 scholarly publications. Equally impressive is the broad scope of scientific inquiry. Scientists from the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences and from numerous out-of-state universities have used Kemp to study plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects. With this long standing record of scientific pursuits, Kemp Station continues to increase in diversity, quantity, and scope.