George Stephens, the original publisher of the Paynesville Press, lived in town for only 10 years. Long after he left for a climate better suited for his poor health, he continued to write about his memories of Lake Koronis. In 1915 he submitted several columns called "The Press When Young." The topics were varied and included his memories of events and people of the developing town. The "glories, beauties and moods of Lake Koronis" were his topic in the April 29issue. Excerpts from this column appear below.
"Lake Koronis as a subject is never exhausted. People may come and people may go, but smiling Koronis is there forever. But it has its moods, that remind me of mankind. The cares of men, the sorrows of women and the smiles of youth are reflected in its changes. I have seen it lashed into a gray rage, when boats were torn loose from their anchoring and dashed to pieces on the rocks. Long lines of foam ran from shore to shore and you had to shout in one's ear to be heard. After such storms the beach would be littered with large dead fish. Apparently, they had come into the shallows to feed, and had been driven ashore. Then I have seen it in a rainstorm, when everything along the banks was dripping and sodden, and the whole water surface was dismal. It is then that you take an extra grip on your reserve cheer, and hope for a better tomorrow. Again, I have seen Lake Koronis in her most captivating humor. And this is hers by a large majority. The others serve to make us appreciate the long good spells."
Stephen's first experience with Lake Koronis took place on a sunny day in October. He had arrived by train in the town of Paynesville to decide if he should start a paper. At some point in the day he headed alone to Koronis. By the shore he found a flat bottomed boat, a broken oar, and a piece of fence board. Using these he rowed to the first island, climbed to the top of the hill, overlooked the beautiful lake, and made his decision to stay in Paynesville.
He recalled, "I also remember a couple of years later, John G. Taylor, General Passenger agent of the Soo Line came up, and said he had heard a good deal about our lake, and would like to see it. So I got hooks, and took him for a boat ride around Sanborn's Bay, Beckley Point, and the First Island. There he caught a fish as long as his arm, and was perfectly satisfied to come back."
Just as Stephens reported the air of rest he felt around the lake whenever he was tired or worried, so do many of Koronis' current residents. Stephens appreciated the lake during his tenure and for many years in his memories. He reminisced, "Of course you appreciate it, you residents, but I think your memories of it, when you are far away, will make its true beauty shine all the more."
And as another summer comes to an end, Koronis fills our memories with a view from the lake.
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