Written by Margaret Kurth
The history of this resort goes back to the late 1920’s. In 1930 the owner of this resort was DC Servis. The resort had 10 housekeeping cottages with ice, partial bedding, silver and boat for $18-30 / week. There was also a free campground, horseshoes and croquet and it was open all year.
In the 1940’s the brochure below makes mention of the “hardened minnows and worms” that the resort has on hand and a “central two-section shower house” that has been added for the “convenience of our guests.
In the 1950’s Rose and Ed Straube were the owners and the resort included completely equipped log and frame housekeeping cabins accommodating 6-8 people.
In the 1960’s Edward Hrubsky and Mr. and Mrs. Keith Kraft owned this resort.
Conversation with Keith Kraft
Keith Kraft a retired judge and former owner of Potato Lodge still lives in Park Rapids. Keith graduated from Drake University but he had always wanted to move to northern Minnesota. In 1951 he took a teaching job in the Park Rapids school system and moved up north.
4-1/2 years later Governor Orville Freeman met Keith Kraft when he visited the area for a flyover of Itasca Park. The purpose of this visit was to gain information so that they could make a decision about maintaining trees in Itasca Park vs. thinning the deer population. A year later Mr. Kraft was appointed as the Hubbard County Judge and ultimately took over as a District Judge until his retirement 35 years later.
In the 1960’s Keith’s wife, Maryanne, wanted to live on the lake. At that time, as it is now, it was hard to find lake shore property on Potato Lake. They found a lot for sale that was close to Potato Lodge but it required construction of a very long driveway to access the property. They then heard that Potato Lodge was for sale. The resort had been owned for many years by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Hrubsky. Mr. Hrbusky had recently died and his wife at returned to St. Louis, Missouri where they were originally from. The Krafts bought Potato Lodge including 1333 feet of lake shore for $32,000 in 1964. It included the main lodge and 10 cabins as well as two carports, a tool shed and laundry building. These were built mostly of log but there was one new cabin just east of the main lodge that was of more modern construction. All cottages west of main lodge were of log construction.
The Hrubsky had run the Potato Lodge as an old fashioned fishing resort. Many people came back year after year and one of the more famous clients were the Mayo brothers. People who helped at the resort lived in the L. Johnson house and cooked food there. The food was then brought down to a building between the lodge and cabin #7 where it was served.
The Krafts ran the resort for 3-4 years and then began to sell off the cabins. There were 9 cabins which were each sold off with approximately 100 feet of lakeshore. Most of these were remodeled and are now used as cabins although the “honeymoon cabin” was bought by Ivan Fern who tore it down and built a new home. The Krafts kept the main lodge building until Nub Johnson offered to build a new cabin in 1979 just east of the lodge up the hill next to Vagabond Village property. Keith’s wife, Maryanne, died in 1981 and he had sold the last of the cabins by 1987.