CEDAR LAKE | The late Cedar Lake barber Burdette “Woody” Wood was such a free spirit he got his own segment on the local PBS series "Wild Chicago" years ago.
Wood’s old business, Woody’s Barbershop, was moved lock, stock and barrel to the Town Complex last year and is now open to visitors as the Lake of the Red Cedars museum’s newest attraction.
The museum has just reopened for the spring and summer, said LouAnn Miller, museum volunteer and board member. Woody's Barbershop also is open during regular museum hours, 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
The shop is like a little time capsule of early Cedar Lake.
It has its original chair and barber’s tools, as well as barber signs and posters advertising town events from long ago.
Hairstyle pictures, which Wood numbered, are also on display. Wood was known for asking “what number” his customer wanted, said Miller, “but then he did whatever he wanted” anyway once the customer sat down in his chair.
Wood opened the shop in 1931 and cut hair there for 71 years, until he finally retired at the age of 95.
During his “Wild Chicago” interview, Wood easily explained the eccentricities of the shop. It had no posted hours, he said, but customers knew he was available when his car was out front.
Wood was also a pilot who loved to fly over the lake and town and take pictures from the air. He flew out of the town’s airport, which was where Hanover Central High School now stands.
The museum has a copy of the “Wild Chicago” segment and hopes to have it available for viewing in the museum, Miller said.
The 12-foot-by-16-foot building and its contents were moved last year after Wood’s daughter graciously agreed to donate it all to the town, Miller said.
Local Scout Brad Brown then stepped up to make the shop and its relocation his Eagle Scout project. All funds and labor used to move and refurbish the building were donated.
The newly restored Woody’s Barbershop was formally opened and dedicated during the town’s September Hometown Fest.
The museum is open to the public through the end of September, and special tours are available by appointment.
The cost is $2 for adults and $1 for children. In addition to Woody’s Barbershop, the museum includes exhibits on the ice industry which operated in town from the late 19th century through the early 20th, and on Cedar Lake’s heyday as a resort town.
For more information, visit www.cedarlakehistory.org