View from the Lake-
Tourism was promoted in the 1890s

This article submitted by Linda Lorentzen on 06/21/00.

The Litchfield Independent, as most of the area newspapers, made a thorough effort to promote tourism. In the Feb. 4, 1890, issue the "Minnesota Park Region" was featured in an attempt to attract people to the county's lakes. This region was a strip of land "extending from Meeker County northwesterly for over a hundred and fifty miles, and including Meeker County in its southeast extremity and Otter Tail on the northwest, and the counties lying between these two." Lake Koronis was one of the lakes advertised.

In 1836 Joseph Nicollet, one of the famous early explorers, visited the region. He journeyed through the "Minnesota Park Region" and reported enthusiastically of the offerings of the land. The land, as it appeared in the early 1800s, consisted of rolling prairies, timber groves and belts, beautiful lakes, and clear streams. "The prairies were then covered with the rich wild grasses and are now dotted with the homes of the people, the timber was not the monotonous forest of pine or spruce of other localities, but consisted of the finest mixed timber­oak, elm, popple, butternut, hickory, and linden in picturesque profusion. Everywhere the landscape was dotted over with the beautiful clear lakes which is a feature known to no other land."

At the time of the early explorers animals were in abundance. Buffalo, elk, moose, bear, and deer roamed freely and survived on the abundance provided through nature.

"To give briefly the principal natural features of Meeker County, we have only to state that they consist of a picturesque panorama of successive lakes, groves, and prairie openings. The surface area of the county is about one-third timber and two-thirds prairie. The lakes within the county number nearly a hundred. We enumerate a few of the most noted: Lake Koronis­fifteen miles northwest of Litchfield, and only partly within Meeker County. Six miles long and three broad, with three picturesque islands near the center. High wooded shores. Water in places two hundred feet deep. A splendid lake for fish."

All of the lakes featured in the article were promoted as plentiful fishing waters. Abounding with many kinds of fish including: bass, muscallonge, pickerel, pike, and sunfish, "which take the hook readily and make fine sport." Other varieties of fish existed such as: white fish, suckers, red horse, and catfish. "The fish supply seems to be inexhaustible, ton after ton being caught every year, with but little apparent reduction in the supply. Stringent laws prohibit the catching of fish by any other means than by angling."

In addition to great quantity of fish was an abundance of wild game. Prairie chickens, ducks, and geese provided sport for the hunter. Grouse and squirrels were available in large numbers but larger game was becoming scarce in the late 1890s.

Accommodations at most of the lakes were primitive and the most was made of this aspect of tourism. "Those who prefer to Œcamp a little in the wilderness,' can find ample opportunity for primeval solitude away from the busy haunts of man, by erecting their camps on the shores of almost any of the numerous lakes in the county, or on one of the picturesque islands, and there cast aside for the time being the frivolities and vexations of civilization and revel in the experiences of pioneer life." Even in the 1890s promotion of tourism at the many lakes in the county included getting away from Œcivilization' for a less hectic view from the lake.

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