Forgotten Memories on Lake Mille Lacs

Memories are made at the lake. Whether you’re lucky enough to go every weekend in the summer, for a week, or a weekend jaunt, you probably have a favorite place to stay. For many in Minnesota, the area around Mille Lacs is that place. The area is B-U-S-Y in the summer, and it isn’t always easy to find a place to stay. So you can imagine my surprise when I found one vacant motel and one that had been vacant but recently burned down. 

That’s the reason I made a quick turn off of 169 during peak Sunday afternoon traffic. Something vacant caught my eye and I had to do it! To the person behind me who honked, sorry not sorry. ?‍♀️

So there I was in Garrison, heading home after a long day of exploring. I’d already changed out of my exploring shoes and into flip-flops when I pulled off the road. In front of me was a blue building in need of a lot of TLC. Then, as I walked around my car, I saw them — a bunch of small, blue cabins. I’d arrived at Pike Point Resort.

Pike Point Resort

Pike Point Resort opened in 1934 when Michael and Alice Lewandoski moved from South St Paul to Garrison. The newlyweds built the lodge from the ground up and made it into a thriving resort by the time they retired in 1948. The adorable blue cabins were added by one of the subsequent owners. I made my way around to each cottage to snap a photo and left no trace that I’d ever been there. 

I was feeling pretty happy about finding the resort before it was demolished or deteriorated too badly. But as I was about to drive off, I noticed an old sign in front of a big open space. It said Mille Lacs Motel. 

Mille Lacs Motel

I did a quick search online and found that the motel had been destroyed by fire on September 5, 2018. That sign was the only tangible evidence that something had been here.

The motel was built in 1956 and outfitted with knotty pine paneling, cozy custom-made furniture, and rustic “up north” decor. Looking back at old photos, you can tell it was a place where happy family memories were made.

Thankfully, the motel had been closed for more than a decade before it was destroyed, and no one was hurt in the fire. As of the summer of 2020, the prime parcel of land remains vacant.

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