Forest Lake / The stories old cabins could tell
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Saint Paul, MN
#1 May 30, 2010
I was so pleased to see this story in the paper today. I think it's terrible with what has been going on with the small, quaint cabin of yesteryear. I find myself asking questions like, "Why does it always have to be bigger, or "better"?" Bigger isn't always better. There is definitely a sense of loss with the feeling one gets from "relaxing" at the cabin in a classic cabin versus a lake home. Children of today will never have that appreciation....their lakehomes are basically like their regular homes, but on water. I have a friend who still has his 2 bedroom shack of a cabin on Pelican Lake in Brainerd....he is accosted at least 5X a month on a weekend by folks hawking his land and wondering if it's for sale. "Do you see a For Sale sign?" he'd say. They would retort with, "We just want this lot before others get to it." His parents are in their 80s and it's completely disrespectful to them when they approach. What's wrong with people?
#2 May 31, 2010
The cabins of Minnesota and Wisconsin are a huge piece of forgotten history. The many lake cabins provided an unreplaceable and affordable sanctuary for families.
Thank you for all who attempt to capture the history before it is gone.
#3 May 31, 2010
I think sometimes it just happens that the cabin turns into something more.
I grew up on the east side of St.Paul, and in the early 60s my old man bought a few lots on a small lake between Webster and Danbury Wisconsin. He chose the "rough and steep" lots so we could get more for less, and have the space. We had a small old one room travel trailer, and soon added a screen porch. Friends and families that came up to spend weekends camped in tents, or slept in their station wagons. No running water [we hauled buckets from the lake up about 30-40 steps up the bank], and just a simple pit toilet [outhouse]. We did this for many years, untill we had enough money to put up a small shack like the one in the story. Although we had two rooms [mom wanted their own bedroom, which I think she deserved], an an open loft for kids to use as bunk space. A parlor type wood stove for cool nights would act as a cook stove at times, but the old double burner pump up gas stove was our regular cooking stove. The sink was am old washtub, with a hose on it that drained outside, and near the outhouse we had a 55 gallon barrel on posts that we filled via buckets for a simple shower. It was peaceful and a great place to spend our summers. Our neighbors from the city were regular visitors [free of course], and I remember great times swimming with my friends while the aduts watched over us from the porch, just enjoying the day.
As years past, the area adopted land use standards that began the end of our little cabin. I don`t blame them for this, it just was what it was. Soon, the outhouse and outdoor shower had to go, in favor of a septic system. My dad sold a lot at the end to pay for the update. Then came the lake water system....a well had to be put in, and dad had to sell another lot to pay for it. By then the area was looking at the fact we had campers all over the place, and that fell to regulation also. Granted it wasn`t a big deal, but it did put a stop to having 5-10 cars parked like at a campground, so my dad took a permit out. He sold a lot to do that also. By now the taxes were going up fast. Dad sold the remaining lots he had, so the grand children could use the place, and our whole family chipped in yearly to keep things going.
The cabins that got built on the property dad sold were nothing like what we concidered to be a "cabin". A couple of the owners were from places as far away as Chicago, and they built more or less a home instead, even though they only came "up to the lake" once or twice a year. By now, the roads to our cabin were vastly improved, and instead og a 3 hour drive, it was done in an hour or so. By the time we decided to sell the place, the lake was filled with places, the lake so busy you had water use regulation, and people lived at the lake and commuted. It priced us out. I wish we could have kept it, but it just didn`t work out for us.
But the memories are fantastic. Good for that family, they still have the cabin!
#4 May 31, 2010
"And taxes have surged. The Schneiders bought their land for $100 and paid 33 cents in property taxes. Today, taxes are nearly $2,000."
And if Karen Morehead and the other liberals in the Forest Lake area had their way it would be 3 times that!!!
#5 Jun 1, 2010
Thanks to the St. Pioneer Press and the Washington Country Historical Society for their interest in our family cottage. When we celebrated it's centennial several years ago we realized that 6 generations of descendants of Rudolph John and Emilie Schneider have gathered to celebrate the 4th of July at this Forest Lake cabin. This humble venue has brought cousins and their great-grandchildren together. In a time when renovation and "improvements" often bring more burden the simplistic formula of life at this cabin truly is rejuvenating!
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