Monday, June 26, 2006

Historical Society

Today is the first annual meeting of The Gunflint Trail Historical Society. It is a new organization whose purpose is to tell the story of the people who live and have lived along the Trail. This story will be available to the public at a place called the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center.

On Saganaga Lake there used to be a resort called Chik-Wauk Lodge. Chik-Wauk means a"jack of pines." It was started in the early 1930's by the Nunstedt family. In 1952 it was sold to Phyllis and Carl Noyes and Erma and Herb Brugger. Bea and Ralph Griffis bought the resort from the Bruggers in 1958.

One of the unique buildings at the resort was a main lodge built entirely of rock. The Nunstedt's had originally built a more traditional log lodge building. This building burned down in 1933 before the first guest stepped in the door. They weren't going to let that happen again so the next building was made with rock walls.

In the 1980 Ralph and Bea sold the resort to the Federal government as part of the 1978 Wilderness Act. Ralph and Bea lived in the main lodge during parts of the summer for the next 20 years before poor health overtook them. Since then the Forest Service has been looking for a use for this historic building.

One idea the Forest Service had was to find a partner who would develop the building into a museum. Last summer this lead to the formation of The Gunflint Trail Historical Society. We are now engaged in building the museum and collecting history on the Gunflint Trail and its people.

It is turning into quite a project. We hope to open the doors in 2010 but we need lots of help from people like those of you reading this blog. None of us know the stories of you or your family's experiences on the Trail. We don't have your pictures or maps or letters or diaries. We don't even know your name to contact you. If you have a story to tell about the Gunflint Trail, please contact us with it. The quilt that will be the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center is going to be sewn from many stories of the people who love this area. Instead of responding to this blog, just use my e-mail address of

As I hear stories, I'll forward these stories on to the rest of you. There are going to be some really good stories coming in.

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