View from the Lake. . .
Promotion of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes

This article submitted by Linda Lorentzen on 8/11/99.

Bringing revenue to Minnesota has been a priority for all of the state's governors. In 1926, Governor Christianson's focus was on Minnesota's ten thousand lakes. Acknowledging the potential financial gains of the lakes, Christianson named the week of May 3, 1926, as "Ten Thousand Lakes Week."

Previous governors had encouraged promotion of the 10,000 lakes to people outside the state of Minnesota. Christianson wanted the "Ten Thousand Lakes Week" to be a "week in which to sell Minnesota to Minnesotans."

The governor's proposal follows: "In one week there are seven days. In those seven days are 168 hours. In those 168 hours there are 10,080 minutes. That means there are just about enough minutes to devote one to each of the 10,000 lakes which Minnesota can actually boast. One lake for every minute in the Ten Thousand Lakes week. And we have to sell them all to nearly 3,000,000 people within that time. It is a tremendous undertaking but it can be done."

Christianson thought that if 300 people per lake could be recruited to promote their lake, the campaign would be successful. The key was to find people committed to promoting their lake beginning the week of May 3 and continuing throughout the year.

This core of 300 people per lake would then become the salesmen to sell the lakes to the rest of the country. Christianson proposed, "If each of these 300 persons sent a Kodak picture of the lake to one friend it wouldn't be long before tourists would flock to that lake many hundred strong."

The aggressive grassroots plan was dependent on the 300 people per lake sending personal correspondence to friends and relatives in other states. Governor Christianson wanted people to send invitations to those living in dry areas on "a city where yearning to get out on the lakeshore somewhere is beginning to tug at the heart." He suggested enclosing a picture of the lake along with the personal message. These personal invitations from 300 people per lake in Minnesota would have the potential of bringing over three million tourists to Minnesota.

Paynesville's community appeared to have done its part. In the August 9, 1926, issue of The Paynesville Press, an article appeared which carried the title, "Paynesville The Gateway To Beautiful Lake Koronis." The article concluded, "...a village that has near it the finest lake in Minnesota, Lake Koronis, of which it was once written: To the scholar and student Lake Koronis offers many a place of real historic interest; to the artist a varied scenery and unsurpassed natural beauty; to the sportsman many a victory of both rod and reel; to the tired businessman rest and quiet in a large measure; and to the seeker after an ideal home, a place that is fairest among ten thousand and altogether lovely.'"

No one will ever know how much impact Governor Christianson's plan had on the state of Minnesota. Surveying the shoreline of Lake Koronis one might conclude that the efforts of one person in the past lead to a popular view from the lake.

Information for this article was taken from the following issues of The Paynesville Press: May 6, 1926, and August 9, 1926.

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