A few months ago, I shared stories about some of my memories of Beaver Lake. This week I will try and bring that story to a close.
My sister Kaye has been back in Minnesota for another visit and again we started talking about “our good old days” at the lake. We loved to swim and my mother would take us out to Beaver Lake. It was a very popular place to cool off during the hot days of summer. I can’t tell you how many other people also enjoyed swimming there, but the lake was full of people. The sloped area just east of the beach area was covered with bath towels, which is what people used to claim their spot of the beach while they were out swimming.
It got to the point where it was very difficult for my mother to keep track of Kaye and I amongst all the other people, and she wished she and my dad could find a place of our own where we could enjoy summer.
They inquired if there were any lots for sale on Beaver Lake, but did not find any back then. They later decided to investigate to see if there was any space available on St. Olaf Lake. They learned there wasn’t any “good land” available for sale. Then they learned that there was a Jacobson who had a parcel of land he would sell, but it wasn’t on the lake, so to speak.
My dad went to look at it and in the process remembered he used to go fishing with his dad at a spot which would have been located in front of that piece of land at the bottom of the hill. It wasn’t a very big spot, but it did have a shoreline which was backed wetland. I believe the area had been the old beaver dam.
Reuben Jacobson thought my dad was crazy when he said he would like to buy it and I guess you can the rest is history. It was perfect.
As I shared back in April we had been living in a “motor home” so to speak, a converted school bus. We moved the old bus to St. Olaf Lake and were able to park it behind a cabin owned by Mavis Lindahl at the time on the north side of the lake and dad got busy building a cabin. My sister Kaye and I did what we could to help. After all we loved being at the lake just as much as my dad did.
Where the shoreline dropped off it had left little dirt to be moved to put up a 1⁄2 basement, which would provided about a 5-foot crawl space underneath. My dad built a small cabin on top of the basement area and we eventually used that space under the cabin to store equipment and wood and such.
Back then there wasn’t a lot of money for fuss or fancy things – my dad used raw boards and a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but it became the finest place off the grid that we could ever want. We didn’t have plumbing or electricity those first few years and the outhouse out back was no different than what my grandparents had on their farm when they first started out.
The driveway on the hill which led down to our property was so steep that the first hint of rain, even if it was in the middle of the night, meant getting up and moving the car to the top of the hill. If we didn’t, we would have to stay at the cabin until the hill dried out again.
Eventually my mom and dad bought more land, rougher and tougher than the original piece, so we had plenty of time to clean cockelburrs, “stick-me-tights” and other weeds off the property, which we nicknamed Grandma C Park because Grandma Hanson was right there helping us.
Eventually we were able to add a boat house, and then when someone wanted to build a new gas station in Geneva across from the bank, and wanted to get rid of the old building, my dad thought that it would provide a great guest house. We moved the old station, which looked like a log cabin, to the lake and were able to enjoy it in a great number of ways.
Over the years we continued to enjoy our time at the lake, fishing, swimming, water skiing, canoeing, what have you.
Dad built a paddle boat. Yes, a paddle boat, as well as a round surf board out of plywood. My sister and I would put the board on top of a large tractor innertube and ride on it behind the motor boat around the lake. One day we decided to take a foldable camp stool with us, and once we got going behind the boat, we unfolded the campstool and sat down while we circled the lake. We also figured out how we could water ski on a canoe paddle.
Dad never trusted a life jacket like he did the old-fashioned inner tube. He would float in that tractor innertube for a long time relaxing.
Eventually my parents decided to make St. Olaf Lake their yearround home and the original cabin was expanded.
Many years ago their lake home burned and they were lucky to get out safe. The fire burned the hair on their heads and my dad’s hands when he thought to get his pickup out of the garage that was under their home. He had just filled the tank with gas.
It only took 20 minutes before their house was gone. How does my mother know? Because Vern and Vera Olson stood on Maevis Lindahls’ place outside, just a few cabins west of the beach area, and commented about it. Not a flicker of light, but within a very short amount of time their home was gone.
They rebuilt their home and spent a great many more years there before they felt it was time to let “younger blood” move in and now their grandson, Cameron, and his family call it home.
Beaver and St. Olaf Lake look a great deal different than they did back then. Others finally realized what a relaxing and enjoyable area these places could be and many people have now gone on to make them their permanent residence.
The old innertubes and canoe paddles have gone on be replaced by all kinds of costly contraptions and invited participations. People are now able to enjoy the lakes using the newfangled paddle boats and jet skis.
I have many good memories of being at the lake and I am sure many others do as well.
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Some of our Star Eagle readers have commented they like to read about events such as family and school reunions, birthdays and anniversaries, and birth and wedding announcements. In order to read about these important things we need our faithful readers to pass along the information to us.
Birthdays and anniversaries:
• Thursday, July 14th: Budach Martin Perry, was born in 2013, Kallen Reed Rasmussen, Gavin Cole Halverson, Sharon Richards Lucas, Annette Hove, Madison Larkin, Dana Simonson, Jeff Kitzer, Jerry Langlie, Lee Cummins, Shane Davis, Peter Kasper, Roger Swearingen, Bethany & Ashley Ashton
• Friday, July 15th: Nathan Daniel Wayne, Nathan Joseph Bauers, Levi Peterson, McCoy LaVerne Schwierjohann, Thad Aaseth, Judd Aaseth, Stacy Seath Tempel, Lacinda Jensen, Vicki Utpadel Knudson, David & Kim Killian
• Saturday, July 16th: Sue Stieglbauer, Hudson Mrotz, Kyle Ladlie, Jeff Helmers, Nancy Wilder, Kenny & Sarah Price, Dave & Deb Oeltjenbruns
• Sunday, July 17th: Kaylee Christine Hanson, Merton Nelson, Ralph Diaz, Sandi Vangen, Victor Christenson, Larry Molenaar, Leslie Schwartz, Lisa & Bob Wayne, Kristine (Simon) & David Freitas
• Monday, July 18th: Anika Christine McDonald, Nancy Anderson, Matthew DeShane, Katie Dobberstein, Michael Graif, Luke Rye, Roger & Betty Davies, Mark & Mandy Boehme
• Tuesday, July 19th: Charlie Glenn Fuller, Cheryl Dunlap, Natasha Marie Peterson, Nicholas Pete Johnson, Carolyn Plunkett, Alyssa Mumm, Travis Jensen, Michael Beckman, Ryan Schmidt, Warren Farr, David Cooper, Angie & Michael Kath
• Wednesday, July 20th: Pam Muri, Paul Marcus, Wayne Sommers, Brad Eder, Richard Nelson, Cody McCartney, Howard Gallentine, Elvern & Jeanne Holland, Cory & Colette Bauers, Mark & Teri Ravenhorst
Let your door open to every joy your special day can bring.