A View From The Lake

This article submitted by Linda Lorentzen on 07/22/97.

Fortunately, for the preservation of the history of Lake Koronis, George Stephens recorded many of the events surrounding the early development of the lake. As the early owner of The New Paynesville Press his fondness for Lake Koronis was often found on The Press' pages. Even after he moved to other cities he continued to send back articles for The Press.

In the 1915 issues of The Paynesville Press, Stephens wrote several articles titled, "When the Press Was Young." These articles addressed events that occurred in the 1880s and the 1890s. His recollections of the first tract of land developed specifically for lake enjoyment and the process of securing a road to the tract was the focus of his article in the April 1, 1915 edition.

Several businessmen from town wanted land on the lake front. They discovered a three-cornered tract of land that belonged to R.J. Tuttle's father. This piece of land covered 16 acres on the north side of Lake Koronis. Negotiating with Mr. Tuttle, the businessmen acquired the land for about $20 per acre. A surveyor from St. Cloud was hired to plat the land.

"Its shape gave great promise of beautifying, but none of us had the money to spare. So, we built a few cottages, and a boathouse, put in boats, did some clearing and let it go at that."

To get to the lake, people had to trespass over land belonging to the Chisholms and other farmers. "So we began agitating a legal lane straight north to the main road. This required some more scheming, but finally it was established."

Evidently the process of developing a legal road moved too slowly for some people. The proposed road went through thick woods, along the lines between parcels of land owned by farmers. The businessmen organized working parties to clear the road. "One party would work like beavers one day, and be relieved the next day by another bunch, while they nursed their blisters and bruises. Those farmers did not enter into the spirit of this enterprise, so they had us arrested for trespassing. But they got their wires crossed. Some of the farmers prosecuted men who worked on other sections of the road and were not on theirs at all."

The road was created in a short period of time and soon the air of litigation ceased. Many people who had been unable to access Lake Koronis in the past were now able to do so.

As more and more people were able to travel to the lake, changes were also occurring in lodging. Camping in tents was the original accommodation until the purchase of the 16-acre tract of land. This area became known as "Koronis Park" and several cottages were built. Stephens built his cottage on the brow of the hill, under the linden trees. He reported, "There we kept open house. I remember one night we housed twenty-two people."

And so the beginning of modernization of Lake Koronis began. A little over a hundred years later few empty lots remain and the roads are plentiful and well kept. We can thank those early settlers for establishing a means to enjoy a view from the lake.

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