Remembering Quadna Resort

When I arrived at the Quadna Resort, I felt like I’d stepped back in time. Although the lodge is no longer used, you can still feel the 1960s vacation days vibe. The ranch-style lodge had two floors of guest rooms and a three-level center section that housed the lobby, restaurant, bar, indoor swimming pool, and ‘rumpus rooms.’  End-to-end, the lodge measured 400-feet and contained 40 guest rooms and eight suites with fireplaces. 

When Thomas O’Fallon and his co-owners opened the lodge in 1964, it was hailed as a premier ski lodge. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, there was little chance of getting a room at Quadna once the snow started flying unless you’d booked the room months in advance. A shuttle ran every 30 minutes to take skiers back and forth between the lodge and the slopes. But the resort wasn’t just popular in the winter; warm weather amenities brought families to the resort throughout the summer.

There was plenty to do at the resort in the summer. Swimming in the indoor and outdoor pools, catching some sun on the 300-foot beach, fishing on Hill Lake, tennis lessons, hiking, or playing a few rounds on the 18-hole golf course. Guest condos and a budget motel opened in 1974 so more people could enjoy the resort. 

O’Fallon, his wife Marlys, and their eight children kept the resort running smoothly until 1977 when the family left the business. The resort started losing money as warmer winters shortened the ski season, and the 1970s energy crisis kept people from traveling long distances. While remaining the top employer in the county, Quadna was having trouble paying its bills. 

By 1986, the resort owed the state more than $118,000 in delinquent taxes. Aitkin County economic development organizations kicked in most of the money to keep the resort operating and 200 employees working. But the struggle to stay open became more difficult each year. Soon, the lodge and its recreational facilities weren’t being maintained. It gained a reputation for being rundown and a terrible place to spend the night. 

The condos and golf course remain open, but the lodge closed in the early 2010s. The 17-acre resort was for sale as recently as 2016 with the hope of reviving the resort. But as of 2020, it doesn’t look like anyone has made any headway on that front. The property may have been divided and offered for sale since then. Still, sadly, the retro lodge remains vacant and left to deteriorate further.

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