View from the Lake-
Stories of Lake Koronis from the late 1800s

This article submitted by Linda Lorentzen on 7/26/00.

In reading old issues of the New Paynesville Press, I've found many small stories, some of which seem to have the entire story and some of which I wonder about the outcome. Often when I'm reading the old issues I get so wrapped up in the small stories that I lose track of time and forget that my real mission is to find out information about Lake Koronis. Particularly intriguing are the stories from the late 1800s in a time before the modern conveniences we take for granted. Our common thread in the following stories from past Press issues is that we share the lake.

August 13, 1896: Last Wednesday was Miss Nellie Davis' birthday, and she invited the Misses Ruby Drinkwater, Myrtle Smith, Hazel Huntington, Ivy Tuttle, Inger Christianson, Bertha Bugbie, Bessie Ostrander, Maud Tuttle, Clara Woodhouse, Mable Phipps, Grace Haines, Mable Davis, Phoebe Hoar, Ida Gongoll, and Zora Abbott to spend the day with her at the lake.

April 8, 1897: The water in Lake Koronis is higher this spring than it has been for many years. The small streams tributary to the lake are swollen and low lands in the vicinity are completely submerged. The boathouses along the shore at the park are flooded and the backing up of the ice has damaged the buildings so the contents of many have been removed.

June 2, 1898: Some miscreant is evidently enjoying (?) himself at the lake by breaking into the boat houses and damaging the boats there to a more or less extent. Sam Kroonblawd's boat was smashed up considerable last week. Several persons are under suspicion and as soon as positive evidence is secured, they will be summarily dealt with. They are being watched and will be nabbed at the first opportunity.

June 9, 1898: The telephone is now being built from Willmar to St. Cloud. The first load of poles was received here the latter part of last week and distributed along the route of the line west of this village.

July 14, 1898: A merry party of young people is enjoying camp life at the new landing at the lake. They are being chaperoned by Mr. And Mrs. Ed. Drinkwater.

July 21, 1898: Fred Phillips has purchased a cottage by the lake at the old landing and will move it up in view of the lake to a point near Dr. Pilon's cottage.

June 22, 1899: The Norwegians of this vicinity indulged in a big basket picnic on the other side of the lake Tuesday and there was a dull day in town in consequence. Quite a number from here were in attendance and report a big time. This picnic is an annual occurrence.

July 28, 1899: The members of the "Entre Nous" Camp came in last Saturday after enjoying a ten days outing at the old landing. The members of the party were the Misses Pettengil and Ruehle of Stillwater, Lillian and Helene Henke and Edith Ostrander. The party was chaperoned by Mr. And Mrs. C. W. Henke.

July 12, 1900: Sam Kroonblawd has a novel attraction in his show window. It is a blue heron that Sam captured on his way home from the lake one evening. The bird swallows anything from a carpet tack to a two-pound bullfrog and appears to be perfectly contented with his strange surroundings.

July 26, 1900: A.E. Bugbee tells a hair-raising tale of a fierce wild animal that descended from a treetop while he was doing his evening chores the other night. It was nearly dark and Mr. Bugbee had no opportunity to get a good sight of the beast, but it must have been fully as large as a good sized dog as it tore off branches in its flight toward mother earth and cleared a high fence without an effort. It was probably some sort of a wild beast that strayed away from the circus when it passed through here last week.

Feb. 1, 1901: Jerome Motts bears the distinction of having captured the largest fish ever taken from Koronis. It was a 24-pound pickerel, measuring 3 feet 7 inches in length and 20 inches in circumference. Jerry was obliged to quiet the monster with a shot from a 32 before he could be landed.

May 30, 1901: Sampson & Pease have their lunch counter and refreshment stand in operation at the old landing and their business Sunday demonstrated that the people appreciate an institution of that kind.

July 25, 1901: Saturday was not only the hottest ever noted in Minnesota­105 in the shade­but the present is the longest spell of continuous hot weather on record. This is the 13th successive day on which the thermometer has registered above 95 at some time during the day, and the average temperature for the period has been 85. Three weeks ago people were praying that it might cease raining. Today a lighted match dropped in the grass will start a prosperous prairie fire.

As I sit in the air conditioned cabin writing my column, with the sun heating up the lake, I am amazed at how even though a hundred years stand between past and present many things are the same. In another hundred years, I hope future generations will still be gathering on Koronis' shores for a view from the lake.

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