Minnesota's ten thousand lakes had already been recognized as part of the state's most valuable resources. Fishing and recreational advantages of the lakes were attractive to many tourists. The financial gain to businesses associated with lake tourist trade was significant.
The original mission of the Ten Thousand Lakes Association was to "put into circulation millions of dollars brought into the state by tourists each year which have been turned away to other states that are appealing for summer travel and have the accommodations to take care of them." Tourists were to be courted from within the state as well as from eastern and western states.
An advertising campaign of the Ten Thousand Lakes Association was so successful in attracting tourists that accommodations became an issue. As a result, a holding company was established with a capital stock of several million dollars to finance construction of summer resorts and hotels throughout Minnesota.
Ranking of Minnesota lakes was another mission of the association. "Mr. Donovan, the representative of the Ten Thousand Lakes Association, who was in Paynesville last week, stated that Lake Koronis ranked fourth among the beautiful lakes of the state. The three islands in the lake adds more to the attractiveness of the lake than any other feature. The people of Paynesville and vicinity should feel proud to have such a lake in our midst," read an article in The Paynesville Press in August 1920.
By 1926 the Ten Thousand Lakes Association had "outgrown some of the limitations of its original articles of incorporation." A new set of by-laws and articles of incorporation were adopted. "The procedure in the past has been to let anyone on the meeting floor vote. The manner in which officers may be selected has also been changed. At future meetings a board of nine directors will be elected by the delegates at the annual meeting and these men shall elect the officers from among their number. The president and directors shall then select an advisory committee of 50 members which shall represent the various sections of the state and which shall cooperate in the work of developing the state."
The members of the association realized that for individual lake and community benefit, cooperation was needed on a statewide basis to address larger issues such as condition of roads and national advertising. Through the cooperative organization Paynesville helped promote one of its natural resources through providing thousands with a view from the lake.
Information for this article was taken from the following issues of The Paynesville Press: March 4, 1900; July 22, 1920; August 26, 1920; August 26, 1926; December 30, 1926.
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