Itasca County Resorts with a History: Cedar Point Resort

“Maple Syrup and Morel Mushrooms”

8.14.2022

It is probably because North Star Lake is known for trophy Northern Pike, that there have been resorts here since the late 1910s. By 1938, when Cedar Point was established, there were five others and at the peak of the resort industry there were nine. Today three resorts which have been around since at least 1938 remain – North Star Resort, Big Timber (formerly Pine Crest) and, of course, Cedar Point Resort!

Carl & Evelyn Bartick 1938-1967

Carl and Evelyn Bartick came to Itasca County from Champlin, Minnesota in the late 1920s or early 1930s. They bought about fifteen acres on the west side of North Star Lake with the intention of establishing a resort.

Carl’s parents, German immigrants, perished in an apartment fire in Geneva, NY in November 1888. Seven-month-old Carl and his sister were passed through an open window and saved. The young children were placed in an orphanage and lived in foster homes.  Carl was not yet ten when he first ran away and, on one adventure, lost his left arm when he attempted to jump onto a train.

As a traveling salesman, Carl had been on the road for over two decades. He was ready to settle down when he married Evelyn in 1925.  Several years later, Carl and Evelyn moved north with their young son Frederick “Fritz” and Carl’s seventeen-year-old son from a previous marriage who was also named Fred.

According to great-grandson Frederick George Bartick II (son of Frederick George, eldest son of Carl), there was a cabin on the property when they purchased it which later burned down. It is probable that this became cabin #4, as it was destroyed by a fire in the 1970s. “My great-grandfather got the idea to establish a resort because a traveler passing through stopped and asked if they would rent him a room overnight,” Frederick George Bartick II said. His father started Fred’s Bait shop, on highway 2 in the early 1960s.

When the Barticks started the resort, Highway 38 was still a rutted road. To get to the property from Marcell, there were three miles of the old railroad bed (“Gut and Liver”), and then a mile long horse trail to the beautiful cedar timbered point of land.  The lodge (office, dining room and kitchen) and root cellar were built in 1936 and the rest of the cabins during the first ten years. A neighbor, for whom Bill’s Lake (just west of the resort) is named, helped Carl and Fred build the cabins.

Two more children, Gary and Marlys, were born during the years the resort was being built. They named it Bartick’s Cedar Point Resort.  Like many in the area at the time, the resort catered to fishermen and ran on the American plan – all meals provided in the dining room. These meals were cooked by Evelyn and Marlys when she was old enough to help. There were plenty of maple trees which were tapped, and morel mushroom collected.  In addition, there was a large garden. Bait was purchased from a local source and sold to the fishermen.

In the early 1940s there were eight modern cabins, all painted white. Modern meant bottle gas, electricity, running water, and showers or bathtubs. The rates were $22.50 a week for cabins and $4.50 a day for meals. Activities offered included tennis, croquet, horseshoes, and saddle horses. Before long three larger cabins were built as there was more emphasis on family vacations.

Carl was a crowd pleaser and spent time developing a clientele. In a brochure from the late 1950s he adds a personal message. “To those not acquainted with Cedar Point or the North Woods, let me say it will be a pleasure to talk things over personally and to try to make you feel the friendly spirit that prevails. I have lived here a number of years and am well acquainted with the country and will be able to help you plan your vacation, select your fishing grounds, etc…—C.H. Bartick.”

By the mid-1960s, a swimming pool, putting green, and shuffleboard court were added, as there were now more families than just fisherman that came to the resort.

Carl died in 1965 at the age of seventy-eight, and for a year or two, Evelyn continued to run the resort on her own. She was still doing most of the cooking and cleaning but, even with help, it was really too much.

In Between Years 1967-1983

Evelyn Bartick sold the resort to Larry and Charlotte McKibbons for $52,000.  The McKibbons changed the cabins to housekeeping – adding a kitchen area and ran the resort year-around. They no longer served meals, but the lodge was still the hub of the resort. In 1971 the McKibbons sold to Dick and Eileen Schmitz. At some point, the white cabins were painted red.

In 1982, the Schmitzes looked at the option of selling the ten cabins as a condominium type arrangement but, when potential buyers of the entire resort approached them, the plan was halted. They sold the resort for $195,000.

May & Senger Families 1983-2019

“The reason that we bought the Cedar Point Resort,” Maria May said, “was because my husband loved to fish.”  Twenty years earlier Maria and Pete met and married in Germany where Pete was stationed in the army. Karen, their middle daughter, moved with them from St. Cloud and worked there for three years before heading to the Twin Cities to work. After she married Tim Senger, and her folks were ready to retire, the Sengers bought the resort.

Pete & Maria May 1983-2002

Pete and Maria had talked about owning a resort and started looking at the ads in the newspaper. They settled on Cedar Point because they liked the lake and the layout. The pool was a plus as the Mays focus was on families.  To that end, some of the first things they did were to update the playground, put in a boat launch, and establish a campground. The campground option was less expensive for families, but they were still entitled to all the amenities.

One of the biggest initial challenges for the Mays was building a clientele.  The resort had been closed the year before they bought it. Many guests had stayed at another resort and, when that happens, they sometimes don’t come back. “We updated the cabins and offered activities for families,” Maria explained. “We had a spaghetti dinner one night a week that included salad, bread, and dessert. It was a very popular event.” The Mays also made caramel rolls one morning each week, had a movie and popcorn night and, of course the makings for s’mores.

With the introduction of the Polaroid camera, Pete and Maria began taking photos of guests who caught big fish.  These were displayed on the walls of the lodge and then put into a photo album. Pete was the one who came up with the idea to fill a gallon jar with colored water and see if the kids could drop a quarter in the glass to win fishing tackle.  The jar still sits on the counter. The water is a new color every year, but the prizes have changed to pop or a candy bar.

Games in the lodge were a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.  Maria recalls the Trivial Pursuit craze. “Families would play against families, it seemed to work best when there were large groups. There was always plenty of laughter and fun.”

“We had the resort for nineteen years,” Maria said. “It was a lot of work, but we really enjoyed it.”

Tim & Karen (May) Senger 2002-2019

“We came up to the resort with our kids as much as we could,” Tim said. Even before he met Karen, he and a friend had looked at buying a resort.  When Karen’s parents were getting ready to sell, everything fell into place for Tim and Karen to be the next owners.

The Sengers turned the owner’s living quarters into a cabin and updated the other cabins and put in air-conditioning. “We renamed the eleven cabins,” Karen explained. “Instead of being numbered we gave them names that fit our surroundings like Beaver Lodge, Bear’s Den, and Eagle’s Nest.”  They continued with most of the family traditions Pete and Maria had started. “Except we no longer had the spaghetti dinners.  As my mom said, they were a lot of work, and it just didn’t fit our lifestyle.”

Instead, they tried a few new food items over the campfire.  The pizza on a stick bombed, but the doughnuts were a hit. Cake doughnuts are put on a two-pronged roasting stick until they are warmed all the way through.  Then they are rolled in a cinnamon sugar mix.  They taste just like the mini doughnuts at a fair and are really good.

Before the end of every week, the Sengers took photographs of each family and put them in photo albums. Families that came here year after year loved paging through to see what they and the friends they made while vacationing used to look like.

The Senger’s daughters, Holly and Courtney grew up at Cedar Point Resort, and graduated from Bigfork High School. “Resorting is a great way of life,” Karen said. “Our girls had a special connection with some of our guests and those relationships have lasted.” Like the Mays, most of the guests have come from the Twin Cities, and other Minnesota locations, Indiana, Iowa, and Illinois. Several families had been staying at Cedar Point for three and four generations.

In 2015, Tim decided the playground needed to be updated so he built an incredible Pirate Ship. Cedar Point truly was a family-focused resort. “My fondest memories,” Karen said, “were hearing kids yelling and screaming on the beach and playground. I also loved my time with the guests when we’d make roasted doughnuts and s’mores.”

“On ice cream social night,” Tim explained, “I’d dish out sixty bowls of ice cream and everyone would put on their own toppings.  My favorite memory is on check-in day when all the kids would jump out of the cars and do everything in the first half hour!”

Mike & Tracy Boldt 2019-current

In 2016 Mike and Tracy Boldt decided they wanted to buy a resort.  Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Mike knew that over thirty years working for General Motors was long enough.  Tracy, an RN, held a position that allowed her to work remotely, so they looked at resorts in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. They drove into Cedar Point one beautiful spring day. “I thought, oh my gosh this is a big place, Tracy said. “Mike believed it was perfect. He really wanted to leave the corporate world…it was his dream, so we decided it would work for us.”

“The summer of 2019 was our first year,” Mike said, “and we learned a lot! Then we had two years of COVID.”  It is evident that the Boldts have settled into their new role as resort owners. They have made a few changes, a new swimming pool, a relaxed check-in system, and a few new water toys. Mike is updating the bathrooms and putting on new roofs.

“We’ve added making cake shakes and playing bingo,” Tracy said. “And replaced caramel rolls for cinnamon rolls, just like the water toys—you’ve got to have new things for the kids. If the kids are happy, the parents are happy!” The Boldts have three cabins that are available year around. The largest can accommodate sixteen people. This year they purchased Chapel Hill, a small resort on Sand Lake (about 30 minutes away) because their largest cabins are always booked. One of the cabins there, as well as three at Cedar Point are winterized. Chapel Hill was established in 1936 and has a history all its own.

The Morris family has been coming to Cedar Point since the early 1970s when Doris cajoled her husband Jack into taking a short family vacation.  The next year they stayed for a full week. Since then, all members of the Morris family do everything in their power to be together at Cedar Point for their designated week. Jack has passed away, but 91-year-old Doris and her children and grandchildren now occupied four cabins. They have instilled many family traditions, including taking turns making dinner within the chosen theme of the year.

Traditions at a resort are special. “People still talk about Pete and Maria’s spaghetti dinners,” Mike said. “And, of course, evening campfires and s’mores are a requirement!” The Boldt’s are very happy they found Cedar Point and anticipate long-term relationships with the families that have been staying there for generations, as well as the families that spent their first summer there this year.

Itasca County Resorts with a History ~ Arcadia Lodge

8.7.2022 [archived ~ originally published 8.10.2017]

Arcadia Lodge, located on Big Turtle Lake, northwest of Marcell, is surrounded by the Chippewa National Forest. Arcadia is now a family resort, but when it started back in the 1920s, it had a unique focus.

The history of Arcadia dates to about 1922 when a group of doctors from Missouri came up with an idea for a summer community.  “They traveled most of Minnesota and many other states until they finally selected that particular spot with the ‘Million Dollar View’ on Big Turtle Lake.

After purchasing 90 acres, the main lodge was built by Joe Cardarelle on the 75-foot bluff overlooking the lake.  It was christened ‘Arcadia,’ Latin for peace and serenity.  While the lodge was being built, individual lots were sold along Arcadia Boulevard, the access road that led to the lodge.  Once built, these thirty homes became known as ‘Arcadia Park’” [Bigfork Centennial Book, pg. 20 Early Resorts and Tourism by Marideanne Wolfe]

One of the permanent summer homeowners was Frank and Margaret Bolton, a successful flour miller from Mankato. He bought his home in part because of the view, “The most beautiful lake I have ever seen, and its grandeur can be compared only to the Grand Canyon.”  [early brochure]

Although these summer homes were privately owned by people mostly from Missouri and Chicago, many services were obtained from the main lodge, including electricity, water, meals and other necessities. Initially, some private cottages were also rented when not in use by the family at the rate of $25 per person (double occupancy) per week, which included meals, maid service, linens, and boat. 

Eventually, Arcadia Lodge built fourteen cabins, and a laundry, icehouse, nine-hole golf course and archery range.  The golf course was designed by a professional golfer and was thought to be a very resourceful endeavor.  For whatever reason, it never panned out, and at some point, was removed.

After the resort was well established under the management of Mr. and Mrs. G.W. Barnes, it was purchased by Lester and Clemence Sloat.  The young couple from St. Paul may have gotten into the project through Sloat’s father who was a real estate agent in the Twin Cities.  At any rate, they owned it into the early1950s.  “Clem was a fabulous cook, and soon the lounge became the dining room, and umbrellas were installed at outside tables to accommodate all the dinner guests.” [Bigfork Centennial Book, pg. 20 Early Resorts and Tourism by Marideanne Wolfe]

Old Buildings 

The two oldest buildings, not including the privately-owned homes which still exist are the Lodge, and the original office.

The Lodge, completed by 1924, quickly became the hub of Arcadia Park.  The summer residents were called to dinner with an old iron bell that could be heard clear across the lake.  The bell’s pealing signaled the beginning of “cocktail hour” and soon one could see residents and visitors dressed in evening wear walking down the road to the lodge. 

Within the lodge, was the library, where the roulette wheels and other games of chance were housed.  It is said that the local sheriff of that time was paid well to forewarn of any raids by government officials. (Of course, I had to know who sheriff in question was, and thought you might also.  During Arcadia and Prohibition overlap, George O’Brien was sheriff 1923-1926, and Howard Harmond from 1927-1931.)

In 1928 a building near the lodge was constructed as an office and general store.  It has had several uses over the years, but is now dubbed the Snow Lodge, and has all the charming amenities of the other cabins.

Old Names

Arcadia Lodge has had more than its share of famous people traipse the grounds.  No guest register has surfaced for the lodge, but it is said that these folks have stayed at the resort or in the private homes that originally made up the complex.

Carole Lombard and Clark Gable ­~ This would probably have been between 1935-1942.  Carole, born Jane Alice Peters, played opposite Clarke Gable in 1932.  She divorced her husband a year later.  In 1939 Carole and Clarke were married. Sadly, on January 16, 1942, Carole was returning from a war bond rally in her home of Indiana, when the plane crashed outside of Las Vegas and all aboard perished.

Alf Landon ~ He owned one of the cottages on Arcadia Boulevard.  Alfred Mossman Landon was an American Republican politician who served as the twenty-sixth governor of Kansas and was the Republican Party’s nominee in the 1936 presidential election but was defeated by a landslide by incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Al Capone ~ Yes, Mr. Capone is said to have visited some Northern Itasca resorts, either for relaxation and entertaining or for the business deals he was so famous for during Prohibition. (YOUR HELP NEEDED: I am working on a story specifically about Al Capone and his connection to our area.  Any information you can add will be researched for authenticity and greatly appreciated.)

Hamm’s Commercials ~ Arcadia is believed to be one of the many locations where the early Hamm’s Beer commercials were filmed, and photographs were taken which may have been used in advertisements.  I googled this and found that HammsClub.com states the advertisements are primarily northern Minnesota. “Hundreds of locations were shot. Many different ones were used. We have a challenge out to anyone who can match up a Hamm’s ad piece with a contemporary photo of the location.”

Keeping Up with the Jones’

Twenty-five years ago, Steve Jones retired from the Air Force and was looking for a place to raise his young family and a business to own.  He found both when he purchased Arcadia Lodge from Ray and Mary Ann Runge in 1992. Other owners between Sloat’s and Runge’s included Doug and Betty Eaton; Bob and Naomi LaTourell; and Mike and Rose Heinlein.

“After eight years of remodeling 1940′ vintage cabins, he decided to build the first from scratch cabin at Arcadia. The Basswood cabin was completed in 2001 and after proving a resounding success, Steve set out to build eight additional cabins and rebuild all the original cabins. Today he operates 24 cabins with his son and daughter-in-law, Casey & Kylie Jones.” [arcadialodge.com]

The focus of Jones’ endeavors has been to make Arcadia a family resort, and it has grown into one of the largest family resorts in Minnesota.  Even the big 11-bedroom cabins are for families and extended families for much of the summer.  The Jones are proud of their return rate and the friends they have made.  Casey explained, “One family from the Chicago area has been coming up for more than thirty years, and spans four generations. I grew up with two of the boys, and they were actually groomsmen in our wedding.”

Activities are geared for families, and the 100 feet of sandy shoreline is where a good number of those activities take place.  The beach is Arcadia’s pride and joy. There are lots of water toys, as well as weekly tubing and sandcastle contests.  The day I visited, 77 kids had participated in the weekly tie-dyeing event!  T-shirts with the message “I made this at Arcadia Lodge Big Turtle Lake, MN” were awash in brilliant colors of red, blue, green, purple and yellow. “The tie dye shirts are one of our most popular activities,” Kylie said, sporting her own tie-dyed shirt. 

And Steve’s original plan to make it a family resort holds true in ownership as well.  “In the future, we hope our kids will continue the resort.” Steve’s son Casey says.  And I can see that it is bound to happen, for six-year-old Arianna, not only pointed out the bathroom to me but walked me there with a guided tour of everything along the way!

Reminisce Again ~ More on Arcadia Lodge

1980 Arcadia Resort Calendar ~ owners Joe and Carol Kilian

Sometimes, after I write an article, I get more information.  Usually it is additional memories, or a slight clarification, but in the case of Arcadia Lodge, I had not mentioned former owners Joe and Carol Kilian.  Of course, this was not intentional. The Kilian name was not referred to in any of my research.  Thankfully, Carol who had been reading the series, contacted the Western Itasca Review regarding the oversight, and I was able to visit with her and son Jeff.  Over a pot of coffee and a plenty of laughs they told me about the dozen years, when their family owned the resort and were caretakers for the summer cottages of Arcadia Park.

After enjoying a couple summer vacations in Minnesota’s Northwoods, Joe and Carol Kilian decided it was the perfect setting to raise their three school-aged boys.  While still living in Illinois the Kilian’s looked at several resorts before buying Arcadia Lodge, which at the time had fourteen cabins and the cottages.  The first project they undertook was to get the antiquated water system in compliance.  Instead of water being pumped from the lake to a tank, a well was drilled and a 1000-gallon pressurized tank installed.   Owning the resort was a lot of work, but the Kilian’s loved the people they meet and the lasting friendships. Illinois continued to be a big draw for clientele, and they, along with the owners of two other resorts on Turtle annually had a booth at the Chicago sports show.

Year around Carol baked bread for Kocian’s store in Bigfork and her famous coffeecakes were bought by resort guests and Arcadia Park folks as soon as she took them out of the oven in the summertime.  In the off-season Joe operated Arcadia Packing, processing deer and farm livestock, as well as a boat storage facility.  The boys were never idle either.  They did all the lawn and beach maintenance, helped their father keep mile long Arcadia Road graded and plowed, and even started a garbage pickup service.

They shared many stories, historical and first-hand, but this was most entertaining. During the three years Heinlein’s owned the resort, “Freddie the Freeloader Bear” made an appearance – through the door and into the kitchen in the lodge! This happened more than once, and Jeff recalled a photograph of Rose Heinlein, chasing it back outside with her broom. 

Eat A Dish of Ice Cream Every Day

7.31.2022 [archived ~ originally published 7.9.2015]

This was the heading for an advertisement from the City Drug Store in Deer River in 1916. The ad also stated that the consumption of ice cream was lowering the death rate in the United States because it is a “health-giving food”.  Patrick Daley and Frank Sanger, the owners of the drug store at the time, proudly proclaimed “There is nothing purer and more wholesome than ICE CREAM.  When made of pure ingredients, under sanitary conditions.  We are using DEER RIVER CREAMERY CO’S ICE CREAM entirely, which is made of the purest cream, flavors etc. obtainable and is therefore of the highest food value easily digested, and healthful, and is made under the best sanitary conditions.”

Actually, the Deer River Creamery was making quite a name for itself.  It began operations in October 1914 and less than a year later the creamery’s butter took first place out of 171 entries for the 6th district in a test conducted by the Minnesota Dairy and Food Department.  The creamery began making ice cream shortly thereafter.  Up until this point, ice cream made at home was a time-consuming, but a greatly enjoyed luxury.

By the mid-1920s ice cream novelties and special desserts were finding a place in northern Minnesota.  

Bigfork“Harry Gravelle, who is always on the look-out for desires of his patrons, started in handling ice cream last Saturday in his confectionery department.” Bigfork Times 2-19-1925

Effie – “Anderson and Poole at Effie have installed in their ice cream parlor recently the soda fountain and other fixtures formerly used by Mr. St. Peter in his place at Deer River.  The improvements that Messrs. Poole and Anderson are making in their place of business certainly indicates that they are striving to please their patrons and the manner in which they cater to the requirements of the public is such that they are well deserving of the liberal patronage they are receiving and a continuation of same.” Bigfork Times 6-4-1925

Deer River – “Your Biggest Money’s Worth for a Nickel – ‘Sandy Ann’ The New Chocolate Covered Ice Cream Confection.  Served on Sticks. Try One Today. RYAN’S” Itasca News 11-12-1925I could not find anything more about the Sandy Ann, so I wondered if William Ryan, the owner of the confectionery, tried his hand at the ice cream novelty craze.

Chances are that the ice cream parlor in Effie, as well as many others, followed a recipe book such as “The Dispenser’s Formulary – 1925” to make fancy ice cream sundaes which had become popular.  Here is one which is appropriate to our region:

Bull Moose Sundae – “Place a No. 10 scoopful of ice cream in a sundae glass; pour over the cream a ladleful of chocolate marshmallow dressing, add a spoonful of chopped nuts and top with a chocolate bud. Stand two froufrou wafers, one on each side of the cream, to represent the horns of a moose. Prepare the marshmallow cream as follows: Make a smooth paste with chocolate and hot water and add to the marshmallow cream. About one ounce of chocolate to a quart of cream will give the desired flavor. This sundae sells readily for 15 cents.”  The froufrou wafers appear to be similar to the cream filled wafers most of us have had stuck in the side of a malted milk or shake from an ice cream merchant.

In 1930 the Department of Agriculture and the National Dairy Council stated that the per capita consumption of ice cream in the United States was climbing.  In 1905 it was 1.04 gallons and in 1928 it was 2.9 gallons.

“The consumption of ice cream has been increasing steadily.  Any increase means that the dairy farmer has larger outlet for the product of his industry, and that the public enjoys in greater measure, those benefits which accompany consumption of sufficient quantities of nourishing, satisfying, and healthful foods – in the list of which foods dairy products stand so very high.” Grand Rapids Herald Review 6-4-1930

Johnson’s grocery store in Deer River advertised that they would start selling Eskimo Pies on Saturday, April 5th, 1930.  The Eskimo Pie was invented by Christian Nelson, a Latin teacher from Iowa.  He had trouble getting the chocolate to adhere to the ice cream until he consulted his friend Russell Stover who advised him to add a little cooking oil to the chocolate.  Nelson made and sold 500 I-Scream Bars at a local fireman’s picnic, which were quite a hit.  He then paired up with Stover and in 1921 the renamed Eskimo Pie was introduced.

Also in 1930, the Radio Candy Shop in Grand Rapids advertised two unique features. Curb service and the Real Rainbow Cone with “seven different kinds of ice cream.” All of the information I gathered on this specialty cone indicated there were five types of ice cream, so either seven was a misprint or the candy shop followed a different recipe.  The Real Rainbow Cone was invented by Joseph Sapp in Chicago in 1926.  He tried many assortments of ice cream but settled on this winning combination: chocolate on the bottom, followed by strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with walnuts and cherries), pistachio and orange sherbet, on top. 

By the mid-1930s electric companies such as General Electric, published cookbooks loaded with recipes to encourage consumers of the advantages of owning an electric refrigerator.  This recipe, from the News, may have come from such a cookbook.  A cousin and I had fun making the Caramel Ice Cream, but I would recommend caramelizing the sugar in the pan you choose for the top of the double boiler, so you are pouring the scalded milk into the caramel sauce.  There should be less chance that the caramel will harden if you do it this way.  Of course, double boilers are a thing of the past, so improvise as best you can. 

“Here’s something to make in your electric refrigerator, that will be just the right texture, not too hard nor too soft:

Caramel Ice Cream

2 cups rich milk, ¾ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla, I cup cream.

Scald milk.  Caramelize sugar (melt in heavy saucepan, stirring until syrup becomes a light brown color).  Add to milk in double boiler.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add salt and cornstarch mixed with a little cold milk.  Cook ten minutes, stirring until thickened.  Cool and add vanilla.  Turn into freezing tray and freeze to mush.  Fold in whipped cream.  Return to freezing compartment until of proper consistency.” Deer River News 10-31-1935.

The old refrigerator at the cabin does not keep ice cream frozen, so I have decided to go to the Sportsman’s Restaurant in Deer River for an ice cream sundae!  And incidentally, 2014 statistics indicate that the United States is the second highest country (New Zealand is first) in ice cream consumption with more than five gallons per person.

Itasca County Resorts with a History ~ Cut Foot Sioux

7.24.2022 [archived ~ originally published 7.12.2018]

The Cut Foot Sioux Inn, first established in 1916, is nestled in the heart of the Chippewa National Forest on Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake.  Little Cut Foot is connected to Big Cut Foot Sioux and Winnibigoshish offering 70,000 acres of water and plenty of fish of many species.  Walleyes are a favorite, and the Cut Foot Sioux walleye spawning site is within 450 feet of the main lodge.  Since the 1920s, eggs have been collected from female fish in April, raised in protected environments, and then placed in lakes through Minnesota.

According to a history compiled by Dori Stanek (owner 1975-1992), before being a resort, the location served as a trading post established by William Fairbanks in about 1892.  At that time there was no bridge, so Fairbanks built a ferry and charged a fee to shuttle homesteader to land across the channel.  The Hudson Bay Fur Company had a steamship built which traveled the waterways and docked for the winter at the trading post.

George Perry acquired the property in about 1916, and it is believed that the log trading post became part of the resort’s lodge.  The 1920 United States census shows that he was the owner and proprietor of a hotel on that location.  Very shortly after that, Perry sold the business to Mr. Herbert Bowen and his wife, Jessie, from Hibbing.

Early Years ~ Establishing Resort

The Bowens, along with their daughter Stella and her husband Albert Christie, did a brisk summer business, and by the close of the 1923 season, it was evident that more cabins were needed to accommodate guests.  Before the fishing opener, a six-room cottage, ice house, and storage building were added, as well as renovations to the main lodge.  A Delco lighting system was installed, ten new rowboats (bringing the total to 32) and five Evinrude motors purchased.

A favored site for the fishing opener, the May 21, 1924 issue of the Grand Rapids Herald-Review stated, “some idea of the size of the crowds that went fishing is gained when Herb Bowen reports that at the Cut Foot Inn, they fed 102 people for breakfast on Sunday morning.” Before that summer was over, Bowen had obtained a lease on the additional property on the north bay of Big Cut Foot Lake, two miles from the Inn, from the government, and several buildings were put for the fall hunters.

In March 1925, Bowen sold his interests in the Inn to his son-in-law, Albert Christie.  The Deer River News stated: “Mr. Christie needs no introduction to local people or the tourist public.  He has been associated with Mr. Bowen ever since the latter bought Cut Foot Inn and has been a large factor in the popularity the resort has developed.  Mr. Christie is one of the most accommodating men connected with any of our resorts and has always been popular with patrons.  Cut Foot Sioux Inn will take no backward steps under his management.

Mr. Christie is hard at work getting things ready for the opening of the resort season, and when fishing season opens May 15, will have his hostelry spick and span and ready for business.  We predict that it will grow in popularity.  The new proprietor is a hustler of first quality.” 3-12-1925

The Christies advertised the sale of the resort that same summer, perhaps hoping to cash in on the popularity, but I haven’t determined whether it sold, or to whom.

Middle Years ~ New Buildings

Sometime after 1930, Fred and Emma Willman bought the resort.  The Willman’s had moved from North Dakota, and no doubt appreciated the woods and lakes of northern Itasca County. Willman’s son Alexander and wife Enid helped run things, then Enid’s mother Bernice joined them.  After the 1944 summer season, Willman sold the resort to Jack and Lena Majerus with a unique ‘deal.’  “The transaction provides that Mr. Majerus bought the property and will operate it, but Mr. Willman will remain there, have the use of a cabin as the quarters for himself and Mrs. Willman, and will help out when times are busy, or help is short. Willman said, ‘it will give me a chance to live here, where I have lived so long, have something to do with helping to make the guests comfortable, and when I want to, I can go fishing with my old friends, and really enjoy myself.’” Mr. Willman died in 1947.

The Majerus’s were instrumental in replacing the main lodge and many of the cabins. According to the Forest Service, most of the buildings now on the resort property were built in the 1950s.  It was probably at this time that some of the cabins were insulated and could be used in the late fall and winter.  I did not find when the Majerus’ sold, or who other owners were, but do know Kenneth and Arvella Clay were the owners from about 1968-1975. Marv and Dori Stanek followed them, 1975-1992.

The first time I stopped at the Cut Foot Inn in the late 1980s, it was Dori Stanek who greeted me. She and her husband Marvin had considered many resort opportunities over a year or two, before purchasing from the Clays. During the nearly 20 years Staneks were owners, many interesting things happened, but one story she shared with me was especially entertaining. 

“It was an August morning when there was a knock on our door at 5:00 a.m.  I opened it, and there stood Virgil, from cabin 11, in his boxer shorts.  Behind him was his wife in her nightgown, and the couple they shared the cabin with, in similar attire. They were locked out of their cabin.  Virgil explained that they had heard an animal in the trash, and went outside, hoping to see a bear.  It ran away, but they climbed in their car, to watch, in case it returned.  It did, and they enjoyed watching the ‘wildlife.’ Returning to the cabin, they realized the door had locked in their haste and not wanting to wake us in the middle of the night, they slept in the car.”  

Other owners included: Bob and Ruth Mohrman, and Matt and Kris Lind.

Today ~ Fishing AND Families

This may be only the second summer as owners of Cut Foot Sioux Resort, but Jake and Amy Perrington’s combined experience of 20+ years working at other local resorts is very evident. With two boys, Jack and Lee, their vision has been to encourage more families to spend their vacation fishing.  Jack and Lee love to fish, and they’re starting to guide for guests this summer.

Amy stated, “Our location is perfect for family fishing because we are protected from the wind and foul weather – more chances for kids to have a fun fishing experience. We are establishing traditions like a potluck early in the week so guest can get to know each other, and s’mores around the campfire.  Of course, some families have their own traditions as well – fishing contests and such.”

No one can remember any famous people coming to Cut Foot. “But,” Amy said, “we have a lot of guests who have been here forever. Since they have been children, a lot of families, lots of memories.  Last summer group staying here and at the campground that celebrated 75th anniversary coming here, over 100 people for their reunion.”  The machine shed, outfitted for barbeques, music, etc. is available to guests for large group activities.

Jake works for Minnesota Power but spends his time at the resort fully engaged with guests and in the winter months with cabin and equipment upkeep.  Amy oversees the day-to-day operations with the assistance of competent staff, and of course, the boys are eager to help in any way they can. 

Amy is energetic and has a great outgoing personality – perfect for a resort owner!  The Cut Foot staff have a comfortable comradery and obviously enjoy working together.  Guests come from all over the United States.  “Each state has its own personality, and each week has its own personality. People who get to know each other come back same time year after year and some even see each other outside of resort at other times during the year.”

The Perrington’s plan on a long career as resort owners, and it may even become a 2nd generation endeavor. “It has been a good decision for us,” Amy said, “Jake and I love the opportunity to raise our family here.”

Itasca County Resorts with a History ~ Leino’s Riverside Resort

Eighty-five years and counting!

7.17.2022

Leino’s Riverside Resort, owned by Bruce and Sandy Leino, is on the Popple River in Squaw Lake. The resort was originally established by the Felters in about 1930 and might have been called the Forest Inn at the time. It has been owned by the Kananen and Leino families for eighty-five years! One of the unique characteristics of the resort is that right next to it is a building, also owned by the Kananen and Leino families, which had a dance hall on the upper level. Every Saturday night bands, such as Buddy Lawrence from Grand Rapids, provided dance music.

Early Squaw Lake Community History

Just after the turn of the century, Finnish people began settling in what is now Squaw Lake and surrounding areas. Some men, like Emil Kananen and John Hamalainen, came directly from Finland. John’s wife and children followed a year later. Emil immigrated on the Dominion in a crossing from Liverpool, England to Portland, Maine that took eleven days. The ship’s records indicate he was heading for Ely, Minnesota. By about 1903 he had settled on Round Lake about a half mile south of where the Popple River flows out. Other Finnish families that had first immigrated to Menahga, Minnesota also began making their way north as they learned that land was available.

Emil and John were both entrepreneurs and it didn’t take them long to see that the location of the Popple River, between Round Lake and Squaw (now Nature) Lake was a good place to establish a village. According to information on file at the Itasca County Historical Society, John Hamalainen, who wanted to establish a post office for the community, thought that Emil’s location was the best place for the post office. John had settled about one-mile further north, so the two men made a trade. John named the location Max, and he was the postmaster from January 1906 until December 1910. (The Max post office was later moved three and a half miles northwest, and in 1923 there was a post office established in the village of Squaw Lake.)

Emil built a sauna which he lived in for a couple years and a trading post both from logs he harvested from his land.  Emil began trading furs with the local Native Americans for essentials like milk from his cows, sugar, salt, flour, coffee, and tea. He purchased these items from towns where the train stopped, like Bena and Blackduck, both two-day trips from his trading post.

Emil and Hilda Kananen

In 1909 Emil married Hilda Uusitalo. Hilda had immigrated to the United States in August 1905 aboard the Saxonia. Her passage was paid by someone with the arrangement that she would work in Massachusetts until it was paid in full. Bruce Leino, grandson of Emil and Hilda, explained that the Finnish people were great letter writers, and that probably through an acquaintance the letter writing between the couple began. He believes Emil and Hilda, his grandparents, corresponded for several years. When Hilda was free to leave her obligation, she came to Itasca County, married Emil, and set up housekeeping in the frame home he had built.

The 1910 United States census shows that both Emil Kananen and John Hamalainen were proprietors of general stores. John of course was also listed as the postmaster. On the road between those businesses, six additional families had built homes, so it wasn’t long before the Kananen School, a log structure was built north of the house on the Kananen property. For years the Kananens boarded the local teachers. Their own daughters, Ellen and Vienna both taught school before they married. Sons, George and Toivo, had their father’s entrepreneurial spirit. Toivo expanded the fur business by also purchasing furs in North Dakota and Ontario. He sold to fur garment makers, such as Rothchild’s in New York. Other successful ventures include bullhead fishing and the sale of wild rice. George was involved in getting northern Minnesota wild rice into the markets and restaurants of the East Coast.

Eino and Ellen (Kananen) Leino 1937-1987

Ellen Kananen began her forty-two-year teaching career when she was just seventeen years old.  She taught in rural schools in the Grand Rapids District for almost ten years before she married Eino Leino.  Eino was born in Pennsylvania and was the son of Finnish immigrants. The family moved from Pennsylvania to Canada for a short while and then to Hibbing in the mid-1910s.  The 1930 US census documents that Eino was employed as a truck driver for the co-op grocery store. He was a talented accordion player and had a band of his own called the Night Hawks. Ellen heard the band play for a dance at a Buck Lake School fundraiser and asked if he would do the same at the school she taught at. He agreed.

The couple began a long-term courtship. Ellen continued to teach school, and Eino worked and remained in Hibbing. After the school year ended in 1937, it made sense for them to finally get married. Earlier in the year, a fire destroyed the hotel and store in Squaw Lake that was owned by the Felter family. The loss hit the Felters hard, and they sold the property which included cabins on the Popple River to George and Toivo Kananen. A large two-story building was erected which included a butcher shop and grocery on the main floor as well as living quarters and a spacious dance hall upstairs. It was one of the only structures in town to have electricity and indoor plumbing. The store was named Kananen Bros., the dance hall was named Riverside, and the resort name changed to Kananen’s. Eino and Ellen moved into the living quarters and managed the store and resort. Eino’s band played there occasionally and at other locations in the area.

Not long after the purchase, George and Toivo built a log cabin on the resort property. It is the only one that was made of Norway pine logs and the oldest cabin there now. Although the other cabins were referred to by number, the log cabin has always been called “log cabin.” Several years later, Eino and Ellen bought the resort which, of course, they renamed Leino’s.

During most of WWII, all the cabins were rented out to “war widows,” women who had married local men before the soldiers were sent overseas. There was electricity to cook on a hot plate and running water, but only outhouses. Nancy McDonald was one of these women.  She married Toivo Kananen in April 1941. Their daughter, Patricia was born the following spring, and their son Richard, a few years later.

Because of the shortage of teachers, Ellen was called back to teach when her oldest son, Bruce, was three years old and Eldon was only an infant.  Eino, who was exempt from serving in the military because his lungs were damaged when he contracted pneumonia in 1918, managed the family businesses.  After the war, the tourism industry picked up again so a few more cabins were added. At one point there were ten. 

Eino and Ellen bought the store and dance hall in the late 1940s and renamed the resort and store Leino’s Cottages and Grocery.  Bruce and Eldon helped with the chores that most boys growing up on a resort did.  They cleaned boats, hauled away fish guts, and mowed grass.  And of course, they had a chance to fish, swim, and get to know some of the kids who came to the resort. The brothers also helped in the store and the dance hall.  One of their responsibilities was to make sure there was plenty of crushed ice (harvested from Round Lake each winter) for beverages!

Bruce and Sandy Leino 1987 – current

Bruce Leino graduated from Blackduck and then attended Bemidji State College. He met fellow student Sandy there, and they married in 1967. After receiving his master’s degree in 1969, Bruce was hired as the Director of Kooch-Itasca Headstart and later was also the Executive Director of Kooch-Itasca. The Leinos lived in Squaw Lake with their children Michael and Kari.

In 1972 Bruce and Sandy purchased the Squaw Lake Liquor Store which they renovated and established as The Hill restaurant. Both had experience in the restaurant industry and worked side by side at The Hill for nearly thirty years. Known for its wild rice soup, prime rib, and the famous Hill Burger, it was a popular place for locals and visitors alike.

Eino died in 1984 and Ellen died three years later. Bruce and Sandy took over the responsibilities of the resort. They closed the store, though still catered events in the dance hall for many years.

The Harbor Bar and Resort located just south of the store was for sale in the late 1990s. Bruce and Sandy bought the property, took down all the buildings, and repurposed it as an RV park with 4 sites.  After selling The Hill restaurant in 2001, the Leinos downsized the resort by removing the oldest cabins. They built a modern duplex, remodeled cabin #10, and renovated a three-bedroom cabin on the other side of the Popple River. The Log Cabin is still the most requested by small groups because of its traditional log walls and stone fireplace.

Sandy wasn’t quite ready to retire, so in 2012 she opened a gift shop in the Leino store. Seven years later her daughter and son-in-law Kari and Cory Smith proposed starting a new restaurant. The owners of The Hill had a fire which destroyed the building and were not going to rebuild. In 2019, the gift shop was replaced by Leino’s Riverside Pub. And what is it famous for besides the made-to-order broasted chicken and homemade potato chips? The wild rice soup, of course.

Leino’s Resort and Leino’s RV Park remains a family run business. Bruce and Sandy, along with their children daughter Kari and husband Cory, and son Michael and wife Brigette, their grandchildren Brock and Kennedi have helped throughout the years and continue to as they are needed.

Chances are likely that the Leino Resort will stay in the family for at least a few more years. After all, it’s only fifteen years until it will have been in their family for one-hundred years!

“A Place Where Law and Order are to be Upheld” Itasca County During Prohibition

7.3.2022 [archived ~ previously published 8.23.2020]

NOTE: Tuesday July 5, 2022, is the one-hundred-year anniversary of the shooting that resulted in the death of Deputy Earl Pearl Hyatt. His family recently shared with me that Deputy Hyatt is honored on the Officer Down Memorial Page. Thank you for your service, dedication, and life Deputy Hyatt. You are not forgotten. https://www.odmp.org/officer/24689-deputy-sheriff-earl-pearl-hyatt

Making arrests, especially during Prohibition, could be hazardous, even in Itasca County.  In July 1922, John Lence caught wind that his home in Taconite had been searched for moonshine and that law enforcement was looking for him.  A train ran between Grand Rapids and Duluth several times each day. Lence was expected to be on the evening train and, if so, would disembark at the Holman station just east of Taconite.

Earl P. Hyatt and Howard Harmon are identified as deputy sheriffs and employed at the Oliver Mine as policemen.  As mentioned in a previous article on Prohibition, there were no specific guidelines for the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment when it took effect in January 1920.  It appears that in Itasca County game wardens and mining company policemen had the authority to make illegal alcohol arrests. Hyatt and Harmon were waiting at Holman station.  When Lence got off the train, they planned to place him under arrest.  Lence had already decided as to how he wanted to deal with the situation. He shot both men, claimed self-defense, and was found guilty of murder less than two months later.

Moonshiner Shoots Two ~ Grand Rapids Herald-Review 7-5-1922

“Enraged because his activities in disposing of illicit liquor had been discovered, J.L. Lence, former Oliver policeman at Taconite, shot and seriously wounded E.P. Hyatt and Howard Harmon, Oliver patrolmen and deputy sheriffs, last Monday evening.  The shooting occurred at Holman, the Great Northern station nearest to Taconite, just as Lence stepped off the evening train to return to his home in Taconite.  Four shots were fired by Lence, three taking effect in Hyatt, and the other in Harmon.  Hyatt was shot twice through the neck and once in an arm, while Harmon was shot through the left breast, just above the heart.

“It appears that activity in moonshining was suspected of several individuals in Taconite, so the officers came to Grand Rapids on Monday and secured search warrants.  A search of three houses resulted in the arrest of Paul Salitero and H.N. Steinhart, and the finding of evidence in the Lence home.  Lence himself was away, however, and Hyatt and Harmon took the evidence they found and brought it and their two prisoners to Grand Rapids.  They then returned to Holman to await the arrival of Lence, who was expected on the Merry Widow train.

“Evidently, Mrs. Lence, or someone else knowing his location during the day, had telephoned him of the officers’ action, for when he got off the train, he had his heavy revolver in his right hand, carrying his grip in front to conceal it.  Seeing Hyatt and Harmon awaiting him on the platform, he opened fire as he stepped from the train, dropping both at once.  He then ran from the platform, and took the road to Taconite, escaping in the gathering dusk. His wife ran behind him, shielding Lence so that others who were on the platform could not shoot the escaping criminal.

“Word of the shooting was telephoned to the office of the sheriff in Grand Rapids and the Oliver police headquarters in Coleraine as soon as possible, and the injured men were taken to the Coleraine hospital.  The entire section between Holman, Taconite, and the mine pits to the north was surrounded, for it was thought Lence was hiding there.  Instead of that, however, he escaped through the cordon of guards and walked to a point two miles west of Coleraine, where he secured a lift from Claude Merritt of Deer River, who had been on the range and who was returning home.  Reaching Grand Rapids, the gunman first secured a lunch, and then went to the county jail and asked to be locked up, saying he had shot the officers.  He was immediately accommodated, and the hastily formed posse called in.”

The following day, the Iron Range News reported that while at Duffy’s restaurant, Lence heard that everybody knew what had happened and he told Deputy Sheriff Ed LeFevre that “he would no longer try to make his getaway.”

Although every effort was made to save Hyatt’s life, he died from the gunshot wounds two weeks later.  Immediately following Hyatt’s death, Judge Charles Stanton called a special term of the district court in Grand Rapids.  The term was scheduled to begin August 17. Both grand and petit jurors were drawn for the purpose of trying Lence, who was now charged with the murder of Hyatt.  It was one of the first murder trials in the county since women had the right to vote and be part of a jury. Alma Chalberg, the wife of Charles Chalberg of Goodland, “was ‘foreman’ of the [grand] jury which was made up largely of women.” [Iron Range News 8-24-1922]

John Lence

John Henry Lence was born about 1874.  At trial he stated he was from Kentucky, but the information in the 1930 and 1940 federal census records indicate he was born in Tennessee.  It is not known what brought him to Itasca County or when he arrived.  There is a Charles and Clara Lence in Bass Brook as early as 1905, but they were born in Iowa and Minnesota, respectively.  John Lence was married at the age of 42, and there are no known children.  He told Judge Stanton that while in Minnesota, he had lived a short time in Bemidji, Deer River, and Cohasset. When he got the job at the Oliver Mining Co., he and his wife lived in Taconite.  I have found no information on Mrs. Lence, other than that she died between 1930 and 1940.

Major Earl Hyatt

Earl Pearl Hyatt was born in Anoka, MN, in 1881.  He married Catherine Stewart, and together they raised two sons, James and Irving.  The 1910 Federal census shows the family living in Anoka, and Hyatt working as a store clerk.  Hyatt received the commendation of major during his nearly 20 years in the army.  He started as a member of the Minnesota National Guard in 1899, and by the time he returned from France after WWI he was a major.

The 1920 census shows Hyatt’s family living in Anoka, but he is not listed in the household. The Grand Rapids newspaper stated that he had been a deputy sheriff in Deer River before taking the job as a policeman for the Oliver Mining Company. Perhaps upon returning to Minnesota, he came north in hopes of securing a good position before moving the family.  General Albert F. Pratt was Colonel in the regiment in which Major Hyatt served in the army.  He was a friend of Hyatt’s and agreed to aid the prosecution in the trial of Lence, the man who killed his comrade.

Trial

The murder trial of John Lence began on Tuesday, August 22, with the selection of ten jurors from a pool of sixty men and women.  The following day, after two more jurors were secured, the presentation of evidence began.  There were fifteen witnesses for the prosecution and six for the defense.  Lence pleaded he shot in self-defense and, while on the stand, stated that the officers struck him with clubs. By late afternoon on Thursday, the case was given to the jury who returned a verdict several hours later.

Found Guilty of First Degree ~ Grand Rapids Herald-Review 8-30-1922

“‘Guilty of murder in the first degree.’ This is the verdict of the jury that tried J.L. Lence for the murder of Earl P. Hyatt, Taconite patrolman for the Oliver Iron Mining Company and deputy sheriff of Itasca County.  The evidence was all heard, the attorneys made their pleas, and the case was given to the jury, on Friday afternoon at 3:30.  It is reported that the jury determined the guilt of the defendant in less than ten minutes after entering the jury room, but that the degree which should be named took them several hours to decide.

“Judge Stanton and a large number of interested spectators were in the courtroom when the announcement was made late Friday evening that a verdict had been agreed upon.  The judge took his place on the bench, and the jury filed in.  After the verdict had been read, each member of the jury stated that it was his or her verdict.  The judge then congratulated the jury members on performing a difficult and disagreeable task in a satisfactory manner and discharged the members.

“The sentence was then passed upon Lence, who was present in the courtroom with his attorneys.  Judge Stanton imposed the penalty of imprisonment at hard labor in the state prison at Stillwater ‘for the term of your natural life’.

“During the trial, the defense attempted to enter a plea of self-defense in the killing of Hyatt and the shooting of Harmon.  This was disproved, however, by the testimony of a number of eyewitnesses who showed conclusively that no attempt was made to strike Lence or injure him in any way before the shooting was started.

“It is the general expression of opinion that the state’s side of the case was presented in the best possible manner by Ralph A Stone, County Attorney.  Mr. Stone worked diligently in the preparation of the case and presented the evidence in such a manner that it was clear to the jury, beyond doubt.  The summary disposal of this case, and the immediate sentence of the guilty man, will do much to put Itasca County on record as a place where law and order are to be upheld, and criminals punished.”

The jury for the trial included seven women and five men.  The newspaper listed the women by their husband’s names.  Instead, I chose to identify them by their birth name first. Elvira “Vie” (Crabill) Gary, Cohasset; Josephine Syverine (Noderhaug) Bartels, Cohasset; Emma Ruth (Sturgeon) Franti, Bovey; Eldora “Hattie” (Zimmerman) Franks, Coleraine; Mary (McDonald) Harlin, Marcell; Margaret (Benzing) Passard, Grand Rapids; and Mrs. G. Hill, Marble.  I could not find Mrs. Hill’s given name.  The men were: Albin Rudquist, Third River; James Duffy, Grand Rapids; John Rush, Bowstring; Ed Bowman, Nore; and Ernest Sweedman, Max.

Itasca County Resorts with a History ~ Lakewood Lodge

7.10.2022 [archived ~ originally published 7.6.2017]

Lakewood Lodge is in a quiet, protected 80-acre bay on the south end of Sand Lake. William Schultz and his sons built a two-story lodge during the years of 1917-1919, and it is believed the first sportsmen stayed with them in1917, making this the Lodge’s 100th year.  Though it is one of the first resorts to be built north of Deer River, it was an afterthought.  It was the Schultz farm for years before it became a resort. 

Schultz Family History

Wilhelm Johann Schultz was born in Germany in August 1873. At the age of four, he immigrated to a small German community near Eau Claire with his aunt and uncle.  By necessity, Schultz was industrious from an early age and was employed in a barrel factory making staves when he was only eleven.  

In June 1898, William married Mary Sophia Luebstorf, also of German heritage, and while living in Wisconsin, the young couple had three sons, Herman, William Jr. “Bill” and Henry “Hank.”  Striving to improve life for his family, the Schultz’s moved to Newport, WA in 1904 for the good-paying jobs.  Indeed, the weather was milder than in the Midwest, but the jobs were not exactly what they had hoped for, so they headed back east with another son, Harold “Buck” in tow. 

Learning that land was available for homesteading in northern Itasca County, Schultz filed on 80 acres in unorganized township147-26, twenty miles north of Deer River. During the winter of 1906-1907, William and his cousin Charlie built a two-room homestead cabin near the south bay of Sand Lake while Mary and the children lived at Shady Rest Resort in a small house with the owners.  

Darlene Vobejda, daughter of Buck, relates the following story: “By April, Mary had had enough of being in the cramped quarters and decided to hike to the homestead.  She carried a pistol for safety and pulled a hand sled with the smallest boys.  They walked across the bay because it was quite a shortcut, but when they got close, the ice had melted and receded so they could not get to the shore.  Mary couldn’t see anyone, so she fired the pistol a few times to get the men’s attention.  They came out and cut down a couple of trees, and helped them get to shore.

Mary was disappointed that there was still a dirt floor in the cabin and stated she couldn’t stay in a building with a dirt floor.  So, after the children were put to bed, the three adults spent the night laying a wood floor.”

The Schultz’s farmed for ten years, and the family grew to include another son, Levi, and two daughters Lenora and Orletta.  According to Bureau of Land Management records, by 1915 Schultz had acquired to additional 80 acres.  Now three of the four lots bordered Sand Lake, and since Mary had helped her parents run a boarding house in Wisconsin, they decided that operating a lodge for sports enthusiasts would be a clever idea.

As Proprietors of Lakewood Lodge

The large log building which served as the main lodge for many years was believed to be one of largest cabins in Itasca County at the time.  It consisted of a lobby, a dining room, kitchen and two screened porches on the main floor, and six sleeping rooms in the upper level.  All the furniture in the communal areas and bedrooms was hand-made, except the springs and mattresses.

In 1921 the first cabin was built, which rented for $5 a week!  (In 2005, it was moved from the property and is now used as a private hunting camp a short distance from the resort).  The Schultz’s built five more cabins and outhouses, as there was no electricity or running water.

One of the most interesting artifacts from the Schultz years is the guest register.  It indicates that people came from as far away as the Twin Cities, Chicago, and Ohio, to stay at Lakewood Lodge, as well as locals from Deer River or Grand Rapids who might come for a day of fishing and a sumptuous meal.  The overnight guests generally stayed at least two weeks; after all the train trip to Deer River took several days, and then there was a 2-day trip by horse and buggy along the rutted logging roads to the Lodge.

Herman, Bill, and Hank Schultz were fishing guides. Their days began at first light because they caught minnows for bait, then rowed the boats two miles up the lake to the narrows which let them into the big part of Sand Lake, and by the end of the day had rowed 10-15 miles.  After the guides cleaning the fish caught that day, Mary would fry them up for their guests.

The In-Between Years

In 1938, William and Mary sold Lakewood Lodge, and it changed hands a couple of times before it was sold to the Sieferts, who added cabins number 7 and 8, and in 1950 had the log lodge torn down.  They built a new lodge and a house where they lived. (The second lodge was used until fall 2006)

~ Sieferts sold Panekas but kept some acreage, built a cabin and still spend their summers at the lake. 

~ Panekas sold to Don and Terry Cook who moved north from a resort they had owned on Leech Lake. Don and Terry raised their boys here while making many improvements to the resort.

~ The Cooks sold Lakewood Lodge to Naylors. Roger Naylor was a teacher for the Deer River Schools and author of Black Rock Bay.  The espionage novel is set at a resort in Black Rock Bay and depicts Lakewood Lodge and Sand Lake in a fictional setting.

~ Naylors then sold to the Beahn family from Las Vegas who continued improvements to the resort and still vacation with fellow resort owners from their time in the area.  In the 1990s cabins 2 and 3 were built by the Beahns

~ The Beahns then sold to the Nelsons who owned and operated Lakewood Lodge for 9 seasons while making many improvements to the resort until 2001.  [excerpts from the Lakewood Lodge website lakewoodlodge.com]

Casselman Family

Steve and Danielle “Dani” Casselman decided to give up the corporate life when their boys were young and started looking for a resort to purchase in Minnesota.  For nearly two years they traveled weekends from their home in Nebraska to inspect options in the Brainerd area.  Eventually, their realtor suggested a resort a bit further north, so they packed the boys, diapers and all, for yet another trip.  It took only one visit to Lakewood Lodge for them to decide. “I sat in the swing overlooking the lake and said, ‘I feel at home.’” Dani explained.  Steve agreed wholeheartedly, so in 2001, they became the new owners.

In 2006 the Casselman’s made a substantial investment, purchasing additional acreage, building a new lodge and eight cabins, and remodeling several others.  It was at this time that several old cabins were sold and moved.  In addition to #1 moving just down the road, cabins #2, #3 and #4 found a second home as a bed and breakfast near the Effie Rodeo grounds.  One of the legacies of the Schultz reign is the plum trees they planted when they first settled on the property 110 years ago.

Now in their 17th season, the Casselman’s shared that their greatest accomplishment has been the lifelong friendships they have made with so many of their guests. “We have seen their kids or grandkids grow up, and they have seen ours.” Steve, Dani, and sons Stevie and Cole, have enjoyed vacationing with a few families, and recognize milestones such as graduations, weddings, births and anniversaries, etc. Every week of the resort season they look forward to familiar faces from all over the United States and as far away as Puerto Rico.

As far as interesting guests, they had been told by Ruth (wife of son Buck Schultz), that Al Capone might have stayed here during Prohibition…I wonder how many places Scarface turns up during this special series?  A well-known guest during the Casselman’s time is Carlos Silva.

“Carlos Silva, he pitched for the Twins 2003-2007, was a guest for some years.” Steve said, “One summer when we had an appetizer potluck contest, Silva, a native of Venezuela, made empanadas.” I asked if he won, and they laughed, explaining that he did, but “it might have been rigged – he had a lot of family here, and let them get whatever they wanted from the Lodge store. I was totally out of t-shirts and sweatshirts – had to place a rush order after the weekend!” Dani said.  

The Casselman’s have established a few traditions, but you’ll need to stop in to see what the ‘Bucket of Fun’ is all about!

Postscript

In November 2020, Preston and Aimee (Beahn) Osborne bought Lakewood Lodge. Aimee’s family owned the resort during the 1980s.

Mary and Andrew Hanson ~ Accident or Murder? Law & Order in Itasca County

6.26.2022 [archived ~ previously published 9.8.2016]

Mary (Hedquist) Hanson circa 1895

On September 12, 1901, Mary Hanson was busy working in the kitchen of the home she shared with her husband and three small children.  She heard a commotion and turned, at the same moment a bullet struck her in the abdomen, killing her. The boys ages six and four looked on in shock. Their mother lay crumpled on the floor in a pool of blood and the rifle was in the hands of their father.  What had happened?

The Itasca News asked a similar question and detailed the immediate response of Andrew Hanson:

Accident or Murder? Itasca News 9-14-1901

Mrs. Mary Hanson of Moose Lake Found in a Pool of Blood. Her Husband Delivers Himself to the Sheriff Claiming He Shot Her Accidentally

“Andrew Hanson, a Swede living on Moose Lake, at some hour early Thursday morning shot and instantly killed his wife.   The shooting appears to be enveloped with considerable mystery, but the facts as nearly as can be learned as substantially as follows:  Hanson claims he was taking his rifle from a shelf or the wall when it accidentally discharged, the contents entering his wife’s body.  Taking his children, a boy of six and another some years younger, who were the only witnesses to the scene, he led them to the bridge crossing the thoroughfare between Moose and Deer lakes, and started them to their grandfather’s, Andrew Hedquist, where they told that their mother had been shot by their father.  Hanson himself took through the woods and made his way to Grand Rapids, surrendering to the sheriff and claiming he had accidentally killed his wife. 

Coroner Russell, Sheriff Tyndall, County Attorney Pratt and others took conveyance overland and proceeded to Hanson’s house.  Arriving there they found Mrs. Hanson lying in a pool of blood, shot through the abdomen, the ball taking a downward course, passing clear through her body, a dishpan, an inch pine board and flattening itself against a log in the house.  Considerable difficulty was experienced in securing a jury, the region thereabouts being sparsely settled.  The following gentlemen were finally secured: Jonas L. Long, John Bosley, L.W. Huntley, Gus Anderson, Oscar Norman, John Nyberg.”

Bosley, Norman and Nyberg were neighboring farmers. Huntley was a clerk at the courthouse and the other two lived in Grand Rapids.  All of the men were between the ages of 35 and 50.  The coroner’s jury reviewed the remains at the Hanson home and the body was released to the family.  The funeral took place on Friday, and the burial took place on the Hanson farm.

Mary (Hedquist) Hanson was born in Sweden on Oct 15, 1864, to Andrew and Katherine.  The family immigrated in about 1890, and according to an interview done by Elmer Mattila with Clarence Hedquist in 1994, the family name at the time they came to the United States was Anderson.  “The first two brothers that came over here, they said every other person on the street in Duluth, his name was Anderson.  So, they changed the name to Hedquist.”   At the time of her death, Mary had her parents, at least two siblings, John and Gus; and her children Richard, Theodore and Emilie living in the area.  Her husband was in the Itasca County jail. 

Hanson was visited by a News reporter at the jail the day of the funeral who commented, “He is on the verge of a mental collapse, the strain beginning to tell.  Questioned as to why he did not go with his children to their grandparents and notifying them or some of the neighbors, he could return no connected or intelligent answer.  It has long been an open secret in Hanson’s locality that he was morbidly jealous of his wife, almost insanely so.  What grounds he had, if any, will probably develop themselves at the trial.  However, the affair may be viewed it has most peculiar appearances.  Without any intention of prejudging Hanson and without desire to injure his chances of proving his innocence, the News wishes to remark that the first impulse of ninety-nine men out of a hundred under like circumstances would have been to have rushed for assistance.  No thoughts of personal consequences would enter the mind of any man until his wife had been properly cared for.  The trial will tell the whole story, however.  Until then the News withholds further comment.” [Itasca News 9-14-1901]

Hanson was indicted for the murder of his wife Mary in early December 1901 and his trial began on Saturday December 14, in front of Judge McClenahan.  “The prosecution had just completed its evidence when Hanson’s attorney, C.C. McCarthy, made a motion to dismiss the defendant on the grounds that not sufficient evidence was shown or existed to cause a trial against Hanson.  Mr. McCarthy laid much stress in his words and there was a feeling of general satisfaction all through the court room when Judge McClenahan stated in a few words that the accused man was dismissed.  The jury was then discharged, and Mr. McCarthy walked over to his pale client and in a low voice informed him he was a free man and could go home to his children.

Mr. Hanson will immediately resume to his home with his three little children, the oldest of which is only six years, and undoubtedly life will now be smoother for him.”  [Itasca News 12-14-1901]

It is hard to say how much smoother life went for Hanson.  At least to some he appeared to be emotionally distressed.  On April 29,1903 there was an insanity hearing for him on a complaint alleged by Charles Sterling.  Several neighbors were summoned and based on the evidence, he was discharged.  “…Judge Huson finding that Hanson was perfectly sound in mind.  Of all witnesses examined none ever heard Hanson speak irrational except Mr. Sterling.” [Itasca News 5-2-1903]

However, Hanson is an inmate at the Fergus Falls State Hospital for the Insane by the time the1905 Minnesota State Census was conducted.  For whatever reason, his three children are in an orphanage in the Washburn Orphan Asylum in Minneapolis.  According to the census record, they had been there 11 months, so were placed in July 1904.

Theodore and Emilie are still listed at the Washburn Home on the 1910 U.S. Census.  Richard is seventeen and was probably released to work for himself on his 16th birthday.  Their father remains at Fergus Falls and in February of 1911, he died and was buried in the cemetery on the grounds of the hospital.

The 1910 census was as far as I was able to trace Emilie Hanson.  The WWI registration indicates Richard was in Moody, SD and by the WWII registration he is living in Minneapolis with his wife Margaret.  A family tree on ancestry.com connects Theodore with the Washburn Home, and shows him residing in Wichita Kansas by 1915, where he lived until his death in March 1994.

Of course, I cannot help but to wonder if Richard, Theodore and Emilie Hanson saw their father after 1904, or if they stayed in touch with one another.  The tragic event that took place on September 12, 1901, and subsequently haunted their father until his early death, surely affected each of them for a very long time.

Itasca County Resorts with a History ~ Cut Foot Sioux

6.19.2022 [archived ~ originally published 7.12.2018]

The Cut Foot Sioux Inn, first established in 1916, is nestled in the heart of the Chippewa National Forest on Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake.  Little Cut Foot is connected to Big Cut Foot Sioux and Winnibigoshish offering 70,000 acres of water and plenty of fish of many species.  Walleyes are a favorite, and the Cut Foot Sioux walleye spawning site is within 450 feet of the main lodge.  Since the 1920s, eggs have been collected from female fish in April, raised in protected environments, and then placed in lakes through Minnesota.

According to a history compiled by Dori Stanek (owner 1975-1992), before being a resort, the location served as a trading post established by William Fairbanks in about 1892.  At that time there was no bridge, so Fairbanks built a ferry and charged a fee to shuttle homesteader to land across the channel.  The Hudson Bay Fur Company had a steamship built which traveled the waterways and docked for the winter at the trading post.

George Perry acquired the property in about 1916, and it is believed that the log trading post became part of the resort’s lodge.  The 1920 United States census shows that he was the owner and proprietor of a hotel on that location.  Very shortly after that, Perry sold the business to Mr. Herbert Bowen and his wife, Jessie, from Hibbing.

Early Years ~ Establishing Resort

The Bowens, along with their daughter Stella and her husband Albert Christie, did a brisk summer business, and by the close of the 1923 season, it was evident that more cabins were needed to accommodate guests.  Before the fishing opener, a six-room cottage, ice house, and storage building were added, as well as renovations to the main lodge.  A Delco lighting system was installed, ten new rowboats (bringing the total to 32) and five Evinrude motors purchased.

A favored site for the fishing opener, the May 21, 1924 issue of the Grand Rapids Herald-Review stated, “some idea of the size of the crowds that went fishing is gained when Herb Bowen reports that at the Cut Foot Inn, they fed 102 people for breakfast on Sunday morning.” Before that summer was over, Bowen had obtained a lease on the additional property on the north bay of Big Cut Foot Lake, two miles from the Inn, from the government, and several buildings were put for the fall hunters.

In March 1925, Bowen sold his interests in the Inn to his son-in-law, Albert Christie.  The Deer River News stated: “Mr. Christie needs no introduction to local people or the tourist public.  He has been associated with Mr. Bowen ever since the latter bought Cut Foot Inn and has been a large factor in the popularity the resort has developed.  Mr. Christie is one of the most accommodating men connected with any of our resorts and has always been popular with patrons.  Cut Foot Sioux Inn will take no backward steps under his management.

Mr. Christie is hard at work getting things ready for the opening of the resort season, and when fishing season opens May 15, will have his hostelry spick and span and ready for business.  We predict that it will grow in popularity.  The new proprietor is a hustler of first quality.” 3-12-1925

The Christies advertised the sale of the resort that same summer, perhaps hoping to cash in on the popularity, but I haven’t determined whether it sold, or to whom.

Middle Years ~ New Buildings

Sometime after 1930, Fred and Emma Willman bought the resort.  The Willman’s had moved from North Dakota, and no doubt appreciated the woods and lakes of northern Itasca County. Willman’s son Alexander and wife Enid helped run things, then Enid’s mother Bernice joined them.  After the 1944 summer season, Willman sold the resort to Jack and Lena Majerus with a unique ‘deal.’  “The transaction provides that Mr. Majerus bought the property and will operate it, but Mr. Willman will remain there, have the use of a cabin as the quarters for himself and Mrs. Willman, and will help out when times are busy, or help is short. Willman said, ‘it will give me a chance to live here, where I have lived so long, have something to do with helping to make the guests comfortable, and when I want to, I can go fishing with my old friends, and really enjoy myself.’” Mr. Willman died in 1947.

The Majerus’s were instrumental in replacing the main lodge and many of the cabins. According to the Forest Service, most of the buildings now on the resort property were built in the 1950s.  It was probably at this time that some of the cabins were insulated and could be used in the late fall and winter.  I did not find when the Majerus’ sold, or who other owners were, but do know Kenneth and Arvella Clay were the owners from about 1968-1975. Marv and Dori Stanek followed them, 1975-1992.

The first time I stopped at the Cut Foot Inn in the late 1980s, it was Dori Stanek who greeted me. She and her husband Marvin had considered many resort opportunities over a year or two, before purchasing from the Clays. During the nearly 20 years Staneks were owners, many interesting things happened, but one story she shared with me was especially entertaining. 

“It was an August morning when there was a knock on our door at 5:00 a.m.  I opened it, and there stood Virgil, from cabin 11, in his boxer shorts.  Behind him was his wife in her nightgown, and the couple they shared the cabin with, in similar attire. They were locked out of their cabin.  Virgil explained that they had heard an animal in the trash, and went outside, hoping to see a bear.  It ran away, but they climbed in their car, to watch, in case it returned.  It did, and they enjoyed watching the ‘wildlife.’ Returning to the cabin, they realized the door had locked in their haste and not wanting to wake us in the middle of the night, they slept in the car.”  

Other owners included: Bob and Ruth Mohrman, and Matt and Kris Lind.

Today ~ Fishing AND Families

This may be only the second summer as owners of Cut Foot Sioux Resort, but Jake and Amy Perrington’s combined experience of 20+ years working at other local resorts is very evident. With two boys, Jack and Lee, their vision has been to encourage more families to spend their vacation fishing.  Jack and Lee love to fish, and they’re starting to guide for guests this summer.

Amy stated, “Our location is perfect for family fishing because we are protected from the wind and foul weather – more chances for kids to have a fun fishing experience. We are establishing traditions like a potluck early in the week so guest can get to know each other, and s’mores around the campfire.  Of course, some families have their own traditions as well – fishing contests and such.”

No one can remember any famous people coming to Cut Foot. “But,” Amy said, “we have a lot of guests who have been here forever. Since they have been children, a lot of families, lots of memories.  Last summer group staying here and at the campground that celebrated 75th anniversary coming here, over 100 people for their reunion.”  The machine shed, outfitted for barbeques, music, etc. is available to guests for large group activities.

Jake works for Minnesota Power but spends his time at the resort fully engaged with guests and in the winter months with cabin and equipment upkeep.  Amy oversees the day to day operations with the assistance of competent staff, and of course, the boys are eager to help in any way they can. 

Amy is energetic and has a great outgoing personality – perfect for a resort owner!  The Cut Foot staff have a comfortable comradery and obviously enjoy working together.  Guests come from all over the United States.  “Each state has its own personality and each week has its own personality. People who get to know each other come back same time year after year and some even see each other outside of resort at other times during the year.”

The Perrington’s plan on a long career as resort owners, and it may even become a 2nd generation endeavor. “It has been a good decision for us,” Amy said, “Jake and I love the opportunity to raise our family here.”

Gone, But Not Forgotten ~ Willow Beach Resort ~ Old Itasca County Resorts

6.12.2022

As most everyone who lives in Itasca County knows, recreation and tourism have been important facets of our community since before World War I. There was a significant rise in the number of smaller, mom and pop type resorts in the 1930s and early 1940s.

In his book Early Resorts of Minnesota, Ren Holland provides information regarding the resort population. “In June 1916 the Minnesota Game and Fish Department published a list of 564 summer hotels and fishing resorts. By 1930 there were 1,176 resorts listed in the Ten Thousand Lakes Association’s Minnesota Book.” [Early Resorts of Minnesota, Ren Holland, pgs 7-9]

After World War II resorts of all sizes flourished, but not all are in business today. “Gone But Not Forgotten” is a companion to my “Resorts With A History” series. I had intended to feature two resorts in this column until, during my research, I discovered that the Jack-the-Horse Resort near Marcell is still in operation! For sixty years my family has driven past the stone entryway of the resort with such an intriguing name. Gramps told the story of how the lake was named and explained that there had once been a resort. I was thrilled to learn the resort has stood the test of time and will feature it in Reminisce later this summer.

Willow Beach Resort

In the mid-1920s, Charles and Ruth LeMaster, along with their son Glen and his wife Oda, took a vacation trip to Northern Minnesota to explore resort possibilities. The LeMasters were from Ottawa, Kansas where they jointly owned a successful automobile garage business. It was on that trip that they met Levite and Anna Daigle who lived on the south end of Ball Club Lake just north of highway No.8 (now highway 2). The Daigles had homesteaded on a 46-acre parcel and received a land patent for it in 1916.

Charles and Glenn thought it was an excellent location for attracting visitors and proposed an agreement that would be advantageous to both the Daigles and LeMasters. In April 1926 construction of the Willow Beach Hotel was well underway. It had ten rooms on the second level and a large dining room and kitchen on the main floor.

“In addition to the hotel, seven cabins of latest improved type have been built, and another will be added within a month. These cabins are 16 x 18, with a screened porch addition of 8 by 16.  The cabins are built of selected tamarack logs about seven inches in diameter, peeled, and carefully fitted tongue and groove fashion so that chinking with plaster is unnecessary. All cabins are lighted by electricity, and each is so arranged that a stove can be installed for cooler weather in the fall of the year.

The resort has a bathing beach that is second to none. There is a splendid white sand bottom, and one may walk hundreds of feet from the shoreline without getting to a depth of waistline level. This makes it especially suitable for little children. There is no drop off, which makes the beach extremely safe. A 14-booth bath house has been built.

The owners have a fleet of 23 row boats, flat-bottomed, which they have built of special type, with high seats and oarlocks, and which ride the water remarkably well. Each boat is equipped for outboard motor, and in each is an enclosed fish box which does away with the nuisance of fish flopping in the open boat.” [5-27-1926 Itasca News]

The LeMasters planned to introduce a specialty to the tourists and locals – barbequed meats. They had a large brick oven built outside near the hotel. The inside dimensions of the oven were three feet by six feet with a height of six feet. The Itasca News described what barbeque was. “The principle is somewhat that of a fireless cooker.  In the oven it is possible to roast large portions of meat, or even entire carcasses.  Barbeque lunches will be a specialty at Willow Beach and will prove a pleasing and appetizing novelty.”

And indeed, Willow Beach became well known for its barbeque.

By July 1, the hotel and restaurant were fully operational. Eager to familiarize the locals with the new restaurant and barbecued meats, Willow Beach advertised their location as a “Fine Place to Spend a Safe and Sane Fourth.” For two days dancing, airplane rides, and a lunch stand where “deliciously barbequed meats of all kinds will be served,” were available.The airplane rides must have been a significant draw. The pilot, Clarence Musser, was to make a nonstop flight from Kansas City, Missouri and land on an aviation field at the beach. “He will take you up at unheard of low prices. You can afford to go up if you want to.” Row boats and motors were available to rent, and a launch would take parties for trips on the lake.

The resort’s grand opening was held on July 31, with the focus on the barbequed meats (including chicken), and dancing to music furnished by a first-class orchestra in the fifty-foot screened-in porch with a brand-new hardwood floor.

In 1927 a campground was added which included a kitchen and two shower bathrooms. The kitchen was screened-in and contained a wood range, gas stove, and hot and cold running water. The following year, the Willow Beach hotel and restaurant were winterized and remained open throughout the winter.

Charles LeMaster died in 1930, and Levite Daigle died in 1938. Whatever arrangement the gentlemen made regarding the partnership remained in place until 1946 when the cabins were sold to Tony Daigle, one of Levite’s sons. They were renamed Willow Beach Cabins.

In 1947 Paul Christian bought Willow Beach Cabins. At the time of the sale two of the original log cabins had been dismantled and removed. Three frame cabins had been added. Two years later, Glen and Oda sold the Willow Beach Hotel and restaurant to Paul Christian. The land continued to be leased from Anna Daigle, wife of Levite.

There were numerous owners during the next fifty or sixty years. Eventually the cabins were gone, and for a while there was a small mobile home park. At some point there was a fire in the upper floor, where the hotel rooms were. Because it could not be salvaged, that portion was removed, and the roof was lowered.

The tradition of barbeque continued through many owners. In the 1970s and 1980s Willow Beach was a very busy restaurant which boasted seafood and steaks along with their specialty, barbequed ribs and chicken. Although I did not eat in the restaurant, I do know that my grandma Marcotte was a cook there, for at least one summer. She lived in the mobile home park, and I got to spend a couple of days with her when I was eleven. Grandma made me one of her favorite meals, and one I had never had before nor since – frog legs. I wrote a short memoir piece that has been published about her and our meal. If you would like to read it, send me a message chrismarcottewrites@gmail.com and I will share it with you.

Jim Daigle, grandson of Levite remembers the years when the restaurant was busy. As a teenager living next door, he was sometimes called over in a pinch to help with dishes.  His brother Jerry worked there for a while and had the title of maître d’. Maybe a bit fancy for Ball Club, but Hugh and Mary Cain had a lucrative business, and Willow Beach had an established reputation for fine dining.

And speaking of reputation, if you heard that there were go-go dancers at Willow Beach, you would be correct. That was in the later years. Eventually it was more of a bar than restaurant, and last summer the vacant building was taken down. Owners include, but are not limited to: Ray and Inez Gardner, Hugh and Mary Cain, Erik Meyer, Larry and Sharon Leonard, and Joe Villeneuve.

The name and barbeque sauce recipe live on. Old Willow Beach BBQ Sauce became available to the public about ten years ago. Jim Daigle grew up enjoying the barbeque sauce and learned to make the recipe years ago. In about 2010 he began making bigger batches and bottling it for family and friends. Those who had eaten at Willow Beach were thrilled to use it at home. Those who tried it for the first time and liked it, were pleased to be able to purchase it.

Jim’s Old Willow Beach BBQ Sauce took second place in the 28th Annual American Royal World Series Barbeque Contest in Kansas City, Missouri in 2015. The contest is the largest of its kind in the world. His entry was in the tomato mild category where there were 150 entries. Old Willow Beach BBQ Sauce also placed fifth overall against 390 entries. Jim was delighted that he won in such a prestigious competition and proudly labels his BBQ sauce as award winning! And it is. Yes, I speak from experience.

If you have a favorite Itasca County resort that is no longer open, but has a fun history and a few memories, please let me know ~ chrismarcottewrites@gmail.com