A View from the Lake

This article submitted by Linda Lorentzen on 7/28/98.

Perfect lake weather provided us with the desire to be in the boat most of the weekend. Trying to find a quiet spot for water skiing and tubing was a challenge as many people around the lake must have had similar desires. At one point in the small bay in front of the cabin I counted three personal watercraft, two speed boats pulling water skiers, one pontoon boat on a leisurely sight-seeing pace, one fishing boat close to shore, and a sailboat trying to navigate the turbulent waters. After that kind of water action itís hard to believe that one hundred years ago very few boats existed and the general public had little access to boating.

An article in the January 28, 1897, issue of the New Paynesville Press relates that one of the neighboring newspapers (unnamed) predicted a ďboat famineĒ on Lake Koronis. The writer suggested that it was the responsibility of the businessmen of New Paynesville to act immediately to ensure that enough boats, fishing tackle, eating houses, and cottages be available to visitors to the area. In response to a wealthy man asking about Lake Koronis accommodations, the writer wrote the following:

ďAnswer him, you businessmen of New Paynesville. Tell him that there is nothing there. Tell him that there is not a single boat there which can be had except at courtesy of its owner. Tell him that there is not a cottage there in which he can find a place to cover his head at night. Tell him that there is not a place there at which he can get so much as a bowl of bread and milk to satisfy his hunger. Tell him that he must dig his own worms and kill his own frogs. Tell him more-that though you have at your very doors the ďQueen of Minnesota LakesĒ that you do not care to have anyone visit the lake. That you want all the fishing there for your own selfish enjoyment. That what fish you cannot get out in the summertime, you spear in the wintertime. Actions speak louder than words and the actions of the businessmen of this village are saying practically these things to the outside world.Ē

The response of the New Paynesville businessmen was interesting. In 1897, they needed to be convinced that by supporting a summer resort enterprise that they would be able to accomplish something positive in the ďupbuilding of the village.Ē At that time many of the businessmen reported that they had all they could do to furnish their own families with cottages and boats.

From 1894 to 1897, estimates revealed that hundreds of people from the Twin Cities had visited Lake Koronis. The lake was recognized as one of the most beautiful and popular of its time; however, visitors were sometimes disappointed at the lack of boats and accommodations.

Just 101 years later, I look out upon the beautiful and often busy waters of Lake Koronis and cannot imagine a lack of boats or accommodations ever existed. I take a lot for granted in knowing I have a weekend/vacation retreat that year after year provides me with a view from the lake.


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