Newsletter - Cross River Heritage Center


Newsletter - Cross River Heritage Center
September 2015 Volume 31 Issue 2
Schroeder Area Historical Society
The first time I heard of the Homestead Hotel was in an
ad accompanying the 1926 "Playground of
Cross River Heritage Center visitors often asked
he Nation" map published by the Duluth Auto Club.
"Where is that cabin I stayed in with my mom and
Maureen Olsen Singleton, granddaughter of pioneer Andad?" or "Where is the resort my grandparents talked
drew Olsen, had photos and remembered family stories
about?" We began to wonder ourselves and to
about this hotel. It was said
search for the LOST
that her great grandmother,
Johanna Tofte Engelsen noticed that John Beargrease,
We found that from
who stopped at the Home1920 to 1950 more
stead on his mail route, ate
than 50 resorts dotted
only part of the food on the
the shores of Lake
plate she prepared for him.
Superior and the inShe watched as he took the
land lakes from the
rest of the food out to his
Caribou River to the
dogs. From then on, Johanna
Cascade River. In admade two plates of food for
dition, Lutzen Resort
John Beargrease.
opened in 1893 and
The Homestead Hotel
I was also surprised to disin Tofte and the W.C. The W. C. Smith Hotel in Schroeder opened in the early 1900’s.
cover that three resorts were
Smith Hotel in Schroeder opened in the early 1900s.
open on Caribou Lake before the North Shore International Highway was built. Suzy Pecore, granddaughter of
Only eight of these resorts/hotels are still hosting
Albert and Etta Pecore, provided photos, letters and
tourists today. Where are these other resorts? Some
stories of her grandparents' Caribou Cottages, the first
have been replaced by other businesses; some have
housekeeping cabins on Caribou lake built in 1924. Exbeen divided and sold to individuals, and some have
hibit visitors remembered swimming at Pecore's sandy
simply disappeared.
LOST RESORTS by Barb Livdahl
Docent Brenda Nelson Melin said Lost Resorts exhibit visitors' first response is sadness that so many resorts have been lost. That is quickly followed by
"Why?" ...and then they begin to share their own resort stories.
H. P. and Stella Lyght, with the help of their 14 children,
built and ran Northern Light Resort. Northern Light hosted blacks and whites alike from Duluth, Minneapolis, St.
Paul, Chicago, and Iowa. Son Norman remembered his
father "had us
kids peeling
Lutzen Resort, the first resort in Minnesota, opened
the bark and
even before tourism was known. It began in 1886 as
stacking the
a simple act of hospitality when C.A.A. and Anna Nellogs up to dry.
son opened their small home to the homesteaders,
He even
explorers, prospectors and fishers that the Steamer
taught us how
Dixon dropped off at their dock. In the early 1900s
to notch the
the Homestead Hotel in Tofte and the W. C. Smith
corners of the
Hotel in Schroeder were also welcoming the travelers
cabin so they
arriving on their shores and docks. These travelers
would hold
became tourists when they returned to enjoy the
warm Scandinavian hospitality and to fish, hunt, and
Lutsen Resort with Carl Nelson in the boat.
Schroeder Area Historical Society
(continued from page 1)
Barbara Lyght Seaburg, granddaughter of H. P. and
Stella Lyght, remembered hearing the story that
when the "gang" came to stay at the resort, H. P.
made sure the girls were safely at home while the
boys served the guests. She also remembered the
story of how Mt. Olivet bought the property and built
Cathedral of the Pines Camp. Barb found a photo of
the original sign of her Grandparent's Resort.
The 1937 Lake Superior North Shore Drive Log and
Directory proclaimed the North Shore the "Hay fever
Haven of America," and “America's Summer Playground." It had everything: recreation, scenery,
hunting, fishing, and resting. And, it, promised there
were no snakes or poison ivy. And it was "air conditioned all the way." The resorts flourished.
Guests often stayed for
extended periods of time.
Linda Lamb of Lamb's
Resort remembered that
some of them stored dinnerware, bed spreads
and flatware at the resort
during the winter. Then
when they were coming
to stay, they asked to
have their possessions
placed in the cabin.
In an oral history, Willard
Nelson told how his parents, Carl and Phoebe
Nelson built Portage Resort, and named it
"Portage" because the
land contained a portage
used by local Ojibwe families to cross the peninsula.
The Scenic North Shore
Guests and resort famiHighway opened in 1925
lies established friendAlbert and Etta Pecore had a sandy beach at Caribou Lake.
changing the lives of
ships with one another
North Shore residents forever. It allowed them to deand with other guests, often reserving the same
liver fish to market by truck. Tourists, who could visit
week the following year as they pulled away. Curthe North Shore by car for the first time, swarmed into
rent Koeneke Cabin inn keepers Chris and Franz
the area. At the same time, commercial fishing beKoeneke look forward to seeing guests who have
came less profitable and the fishing families began to
become friends who return almost every year.
rely more on tourist dollars. Tourism took off! Cabin
owners began to develop their properties with an eye
Five generations of the Schuldt family have stayed
to serving tourists.
at Lamb's Resort. Skip and Linda have celebrated
In the 1930s twenty-two resorts were open. Hunters,
fishers, vacationers and those seeking relief from hay
fever symptoms rented these small cabins. These
family-owned resorts have affectionately been called
"mom and pop" resorts. The entire family was engaged in running them. In addition to caring for the
children and helping the men who continued to fish,
the women cleaned cabins and washed linens in old
fashioned washers and hung them on lines to dry,
quite a challenge with rainy, chilly North Shore weather. Joyce Krueger and Joyce Krueger Taylor told how
blankets and linens that didn't dry were hung in the
attic of the North Shore Hotel to dry. The children carried ice and wood to customers. Jim Tveekrem remembers carrying water to the guests at his mother's
Birch Beach Resort after school.
birthdays, graduations, and weddings with them.
One Lost Resorts exhibit guest reminisced about
her time at Gunderson's Resort. Her grandparents,
parents and her family had vacationed there year
after year. "We loved the Gundersons so much we
even helped them make beds and clean cabins."
She was sad that Gunderson's was closed so her
grand children wouldn't experience vacation there.
The local dumps were the outdoor theaters. Children begged their parents to take them to the
dump. "My dad made us keep the windows up. I
was so scared anyway." "We took marshmallows to
the bears, and the restaurants dumped bacon
grease and bacon rinds. The bears jumped up and
down on bed springs and mattresses dumped by
the resorts." " I was so scared when a guy chased a
bear up a tree and started climbing up after it."
Unfortunately, these cabins were marginal sources of
income. Often the men worked off season in construction, at lumber mills, or on farms to make a living.
Schroeder Area Historical Society
(continued from page 2)
American Plan resorts prided themselves in "serving
the best meals on the shore." The "two Joyces,"
Joyce Amy Krueger and Joyce Krueger Taylor,
cooked at the North Shore Hotel in Tofte. They remember cooking everything to order. The chicken
and fish were fresh and homemade pies and rolls
were always on the menu.
Jerry Loh remembered the famous people that
stayed at his family's Sunny Dale Cabins in Tofte. He
looked forward to the caramels Mrs. Eva Sears of
Sears Roebuck "fame" brought for him. Carlton
West of West Publishing and his sons David and
Stanley brought a whole brick of 22 shells to shoot
across the road. In the evenings Charles Hollowell,
violinist with the MN Symphony, would sit on the
porch and play to the delight of the guests.
Marland Hansen remembered the good times he
had playing cards at Deer Haven Resort that was
owned by his father Isaac's cousin's family the Williamsons. He also remembered the cedar strip and
canvas boats built at the Sandstrom Boat Works
down at Spruce Falls Cabins.
Jerry Loh remembered the famous people that stayed at
his family's Sunny Dale Cabins in Tofte.
Despite their efforts and the opening of the Lutsen Ski
Area in 1948, family resorts began to disappear. Vacationers saw new vacation opportunities with the development of the interstate highway system, the increase
in air travel and the expansion of Greyhound and other
bus transit systems.
Ren Holland, author of Early Resorts in Minnesota and
Johnson, Neil, with Adam Swenson, authors of Resorts
of Minnesota; exploring the Heritage and History of
Minnesota's Family Resorts point to the possible economic problems of resort ownership. When owners
want to retire, the resort may not be big enough or the
Two different groups from the Volden family that
cash flow great enough for the next generation to make
had owned Gitche Gumee Lodge were thrilled to see a living. Or there may not be anyone with the desire or
photos of Gitche Gumee in the exhibit.
the skills to take over the business. Sometimes the real
estate value of the resort is double the business value.
Bill Hansen of Sawbill Canoe Outfitters remembered
being fished out of Sawbill Lake at least twice a day But are these resorts really Lost? I don't think so. The
when he was about 4 years old. His parents Frank
"Legend of Sugar Beach" and other stories people told
and Mary Alice Hansen, who had begun working at
me when I was collecting information for the exhibit,
Sawbill, zipped a life preserver on him backwards.
the numbers of resort owners, inn keepers, former and
current guests who have come to see the exhibit, their
Gary Hansen, son of Edgewater owners Madeline
remembered stories, laughter and tears have conand Tom Hansen, remembered the Tofte Hotel run
vinced me that there are no lost resorts. The evidence
by Hans Engelsen near the dock and the potato
is too strong! Although the buildings may have disapwarehouse that was where the first motel units
peared, the resorts live on in our hearts and minds.
were built.
World War II disrupted the tourist industry. Rationing of gasoline and tires made it harder for people
to travel. Many resort owners closed the resorts and
moved to work elsewhere or in wartime industries.
When they returned after the war, they worked hard
to reinvigorate the tourist industry. The resorts built
in the 30s and 40s needed repairs and modernizing. Some resorts found they would have to completely renovate their places in order to compete.
Edgewater Inn is in the background and the
potato warehouse is up front.
Schroeder Area Historical Society
New News
John Schroeder Day August 15, 2015
What’s Happening at SAHS
Jewelry vendors Kenny Albrecht and Julie Berquist make the scene on John Schroeder Day.
Cross River Quilters
“Cozy in Red” Quilt Raffle
Drawing November 21, 2015 at 2:00 PM
Beer and Wine Tasting
Thursday September 24 , 2015
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Cross River Heritage Center
Thanks to Temperance Liquors for
their donation
Kate Griffith tends SAHS John Schroeder Day flea
market with great success.
Help Contribute to SAHS 2016
Save the Date…..
Taconite Harbor Exhibit/Booklet
with photos and memories
Taconite Harbor Reunion
By January 31, 2016
Saturday August 6, 2016
Cross River Heritage Center
Financial Contributions Appreciated
Schroeder Area Historical Society
Eleventh Lundie Tour July 11, 2015 Steve Lukas and Skip
Lamb depart.
The Lundie Tour group gathers at Cross River Heritage Center before embarking for the Tour.
75 guests enjoy beautiful Lake Superior vistas.
Every cabin needs a reading place.
The beautiful exterior landscape around
this Lundie Tour home moves inside with
the flower arrangement.
The Lundie Tour group relaxes at the Ledge Rock picnic
with brats, beans, potato salad and homemade rhubarb
cream pie.
Schroeder Area Historical Society
Lake Superior Watercolor Society
CRHC Artist Gallery July 15- August 31
September 1– October 17
Myriad Lake by Charlotte Durie
Pitcher by
Rose Kadera
Superior Bluffs by
Sandra Maxwell
CRHC Artist Gallery May 22– July 15
Red Bear by Rosemary
The contemplative beadwork of Marcie McIntire
Waterfall by Kay Bloom
SAHS New Photographic Acquisitions
This postcard says “Scenes from Fred Gunderson’s Schroeder, Minnesota”.”
In Memory of ...
Steamship America at the Schroeder Dock
Gloria Smith Wolf June 29, 2014
Call CRHC to sign up for Trish Hunter Watercolor class
Bob Wolf December 2014
September 26 9 am– 12 noon $35
Arlene Grage August 3, 2015
Schroeder Area Historical Society
Schedule of 2015 Events at Cross River Heritage Center
September 1– October 17
Lake Superior Watercolor Society Art Gallery
September 13 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Lake Superior Watercolor Society Reception
September 16 7:00 pm Making Beds and Slinging Hash;” Stories about North Shore Resorts
September 23 7:00 pm Mathison Law Firm ’s Ruthanne Vos speaks on Wills and Trusts
September 24
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Wine and Beer Tasting
September 26
9:00 am -12:00 noon “Celebrating Fall with Watercolor” Class with Trish Hunter
October 17
Closing Day
November 21
10:00 – 2:00 pm Holiday Sale and Quilt Drawing
An important way to continue the work of the Schroeder Area
Historical Society is by becoming a member.
Thanks for your continued support!
Annual Memberships:
_____ Renewing Member
__ Individual Membership
_____ New or Gift Membership
__ Household Membership $25
Address: ______________________________
__Business Membership
City: _________________________________
State: ___________ Zip Code: ____________
Telephone: ____________________________
E-mail: __________________________________
Your membership is important to us.
Please mail your membership to:
Schroeder Area Historical Society (SAHS)
P.O. Box 337
Schroeder, Minnesota 55613.
Non-Profit Org.
Schroeder, MN
Permit No. 1
CRHC Director: Suzan From
SAHS Board of Directors
President: :Linda Lamb
Vice-President:: Deonn Cicak
Treasurer: Jim Tveekrem
Secretary: Barb Livdahl
Linda Lamb (Newsletter Editor)
Bill Christ
Orlene Fisher
Judy Gregg
Kate Griffith
Peter Juhl
Steve Lukas
Spencer Motschenbacher
Alta McQuatters
Dory Spence
Steve Schug
See SAHS website at
SAHS Vision and Mission Statement
Vision : “Draw from the past, bring to life in the present, preserve for the future”
The mission of the Schroeder Area Historical Society located in the Cross River Heritage Center is
to research, document, record, and preserve the unique history of the Schroeder area.
SAHS goals are to:
 Collect local artifacts and oral histories and preserve them appropriately.
 Develop and present exhibits that will inform and engage visitors.
 Provide insight and reference for future generations
 Build community
 Partner with other local organizations
 Ensure financial solvency
 Maintain a strong corps of active volunteers.