Although the village is still in use (just north of Whitefish Falls), there is a sigificant part of the original Willis homestead that still remains- at least in 2003.
The village was named after Ernest and Ada (Humphrey) WILLIS about 1916. They raised nine children. As you come down the Willisville road into the village, the site of the old homestead is on your left. Look for an old pine tree. Growing up the tree is a vine of Virginia Creeper which used to grow all over the homestead and behind the tree towards the mountain, is a cleared area that was the family garden.
INCO took over the village sometime in 1941. It was then bought privately, but is now a condominium situation where the residents own their land, but share expenses and common areas in the village.
Ernest was responsible with Chief Keshigobiness, known as Big John, in establishing the first school located in Whitefish Falls, which Ernest's children attended. Ernest died in 1928 after being struck by a falling dead tree. He was Fire Ranger for the area. (see pic of canoe) He had been postmaster for the village until his death when Ada resumed the position. Ada died in 1943 during surgery. The youngest child is still live at the age of 92.
* The Willisville Fire Tower was used on the tv show "Adventures in Rainbow Country" in 1969 in the episode called "The Tower" in which Hannah climbs it but is terrified to come back down. Check the series photos below or the youtube link to see the episode.
In 1937, John Burke, the towerman, spotted circus elephants walking the trail here after they got loose. When he called back to forest ranger headquarters to tell them what he was seeing they thought he was crazy. Singer Bing Crosby and world champion boxer Joe Louis visited and signed the guestbook at this tower. The photos of the tower are below.