Written by Margaret Kurth
Northern Pine Camp
Northern Pine Camp was opened in 1914 under the ownership of Lynch & Company. Horses and wagons were initially used to transport tourists to the resort from Park Rapids. Hunting and fishing were the primary activities in the early resort through the spring, summer and late fall.
William and Margaret Peterson of Indianapolis took over ownership in 1916. They spent summers at Northern Pine Camp and winters in Florida. They had the cabins built and these were small with 1-2 bedrooms. Hunting and fishing remained the primary activities in the early days of Northern Pine Camp, but gradually this resort became a summer vacation destination for families. Many came from Minnesota but resort registers showed that families from all over the country made the trip to Northern Pine Camp. The lodge was expanded with indoor bathrooms and a kitchen and dining room to accommodate the American plan. The building was further expanded over the years to include a lounge and five motel-like rooms on the second floor.
Through the 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s William and Margaret Peterson continued to be the owners. The resort included the main lodge and ultimately 14 cabins and 5 motel rooms accommodating 60 people. Housing and food (American plan) cost $25-30 / week. Bathrooms for the guests were in the main lodge with hot and cold running water. Boats could be rented for $1/day. Tennis, swimming, shuffleboard and motorboats were available.
In the 1930’s the Petersons built the Delray Beach Hotel in Florida and managed this during the winter but always traveled north to Northern Pines for the summer.
Northern Pine Lodge
In the 1940’s the resort’s name was changed to Northern Pine Lodge. Just after WW II, William and Margaret Peterson’s son Robert and his wife Muriel (Siddy) took over ownership. They continued to spend summers at Northern Pine Lodge and winters running the Delray Beach Hotel in Florida.
A 1950’s brochure described Northern Pines as having the American plan and one of “Minnesota’s most distinctive resorts.”
Robert and Siddy Peterson operated the resort until 1974. From 1974 to 1979 Northern Pine Lodge remained empty. Jonathan and Kelly Schupp took over ownership in 1979 and continue to the present time. The Petersons did keep one cabin for summer visits after they sold the resort. Robert died in 2006 at the age of 94. Siddy had died earlier.
When the Schupp family took over they found that the building had deteriorated over the 5 year that it had not been used. They spent the first years repairing and expanding the 14 cabins that were on the property as well as building 7 new cabins. The motel rooms on the second floor of the lodge could not be salvaged and that space was turned into a large children’s indoor playroom. They discontinued the American plan after five years and currently have 21 housekeeping cabins available. The lodge remains a center of activity for the resort.
My memories of Northern Pine Lodge go back to the 1950’s. My family would take our fishing boat with its 3HP motor from our cabin on the east arm and go over to the Lodge for dinner at least a couple of times each summer. My father, who grew up in Park Rapids, was an avid hunter and fisherman and he had been a friend of both William and Bob Peterson’s over the years. Dad often reminisced about his high school graduation dinner held at the Northern Pine Lodge in 1929.
In 2012 Northern Pine Lodge was featured as one of the most beloved resorts of Minnesota in an article titled Resorts: Greetings From The Lake. Here in an excerpt from that article:
“Staying at Northern Pine Lodge is like stepping back in time. It is the classic old-school Minnesota lake cabin resort with modest but clean and comfortable cabins on one of the best lakes in the state. The resort itself sits on a sort of dead-end peninsula of Potato Lake with no noise or through-traffic of any kind. It has a super-safe swim beach, paddleboats, kayaks, bicycles, mini-golf, an old clay tennis court, docks for fishing and several rowboats for rent. The heart of the resort is a beautiful 100-year-old log building with pool tables, just enough arcade games and an impressive stone fireplace for those rare chilly mornings. There is also a log sauna building. Every day at a certain time, an old school bell rings and kids run from all over the resort to take part in that day’s special activity. In the evenings, there are family-centered activities like Bingo Night and Movie Night in the lodge. It truly is an idyllic place.”
“Conserve Gas and Tires: You don’t need to burn gas…wear out your tires, or your car once you have arrived at Northern Pine Lodge.
You can fish, play golf, tennis, shuffleboard, badminton, or swim”Northern PIne Lodge Brochure
The Park Rapids Enterprise has recently published an article “A Century of Memories” in the August 30 paper detailing the history of Northern Pine Camp/Lodge.
In October, 2017 Northern Pine Lodge was honored by the Minnesota Resort Association as one of 6 resorts in Minnesota that have been in business for over a century.