Papoose Bay Lodge
Compiled by Margaret Kurth
Bar-B-Lyle Lodge, on the south shore of the East arm of Potato Lake, was originally built by John and Mildred (Brazee) Bartness in the mid 1950’s. They built two cabins and a home and then added two more cabins. Rumor has it that Mildred said they traded a bull and cow for the land on which they built Bar-B-Lyle Lodge. The Bareness’s had lived on a farm in the Park Rapids area before buying the resort property and moved out west when they sold Bar-B-Lyle Lodge to the Lassilas.
Les and Helen Lassila bought the Bar-B Lyle Resort in 1959. They lived in the home that the Brazees had built on the property. They built cabin 5 / 6 (a duplex cabin) in 1966. It was one of the first winterized resort cabins on Potato Lake and attracted snowmobilers and cross-country skiers which were becoming popular as sports at that time. Cabin 7 was moved from Shingabee Lodge on Upper Bottle in 1968. Les also moved a sleeping cabin and his shop from Shingabee Lodge and put them on the hill behind the house.
In the late 1970’s they built their “dream home” with six bedrooms across the road from the resort. They used it as their home for 9 years although it was also used as a place for family reunions or other larger groups.
The first guests that visited the Bar-B Lyle Lodge after the Lassilas purchased it would drive by a horse barn that housed several horses that was about half a mile east of the resort. These guests thought with the name of Bar-B Lyle Lodge that it meant that the horses belonged to the resort and that they could ride them. Les and Helen decided a name change was needed and settled on the name Papoose Bay Lodge. The name may have been chosen by Les who was a Native American afficionado according to his daughter Sara. Another explanation is that the bay at the east end of the east arm on some old maps was called Papoose Bay.
The Lassilas sold the resort to Steve and Andrea Frank in 1988. They had it for a few years and then sold it to Mike and Sharon Tronnes from Chicago. They ultimately sold the resort as a planned unit development (PUD) called Village In The Pines .
Information for this article was obtained from Sara, Jim and John Lassila and from various neighbors on Potato Lake.