Written by Margaret Kurth
The property for Sunset Lodge, on the east side of the east arm, was originally bought by H. Beimdiek and H. Stoltz in 1953. Five cabins and a lodge building were built. Three had two bedrooms and two had three bedrooms. The northeast part of the property bordered the site of the old icehouse which provided ice to the early resorts during the summer including Inverlee, Northern Pines and Potato Lodge.
Blue Creek flows from Blue Lake into Potato Lake through a culvert that runs under County Road 40. The Blue Creek is still there although its entry into Potato Lake is camouflaged by very thick and tall bull rushes.
Bill and Dot Aronson bought the property in the mid 1950’s and continued as owners until the early 1970’s. They built 3 more cabins for a total of 8. To the left is a brochure for Sunset Lodge on Potato Lake. It said the resort featured several two- and three-bedroom cottages with full baths, automatic hot water, gas heat, and adequately furnished kitchens. All cottages also came with a new 16-foot round bottom boat with a 15-horsepower motor. They sold the resort to Roger and Darleen Wells in the early 1970’s who built cabs 9 and 10 which were winterized.
In the 1976 the Delwin Berghuis bought the property and continued the resort until 2009 when the property was sold and divided into separate lots as a PUD which is called Green Pines Villas Homeowners Association. After Del and Lois Berghuis sold the resort they moved from the lodge to a home that they had built on property across Green Pine Road from Sunset Lodge. Mr. Berghuis passed away in 2018 and his wife, Lois still lives in that home.
Many of the former guests talk about the beautiful, sandy swimming area with gentle slope which was great for kids. The children would be in the lake most of the day with the parents in chairs on the beach keeping an eye on their children. There was also a fish cleaning house near the beach with a large sink, running water and a small fridge with minnows and leeches. More than 90% of the guests were repeat customers and they came back at the same time each year. Many customers came from Iowa and Kansas. They also recall dining at Northern Pines Lodge and at the Shipwreck restaurant that was on the condominium development on the south arm. The Val Chatel Restaurant was another favorite. The guests also enjoyed going into Fuller Tackle Shop to view the fish in the window to see who had caught the big ones.
The Lodge building had a game room in the basement and an office on the first floor. They always kept a long glass case with a myriad of candy options. Guests were invited to help themselves and just put down their cabin number and what they took. This was then added to the bill at the end of their stay. Later they added ice cream treats, hats and t-shirts. The family that bought the lodge building when Sunset Lodge when it became a PUD say that for years after they bought the lodge, children from the neighborhood would still come to the door asking for an ice cream treat so they started keeping some in the freezer for these occasions.
Information supplied by Kay Lloyd and Pat Reeder. Their father first vacationed in Park rapids area at Itasca Park in 1916. The family later went to a resort on Eagle lake before coming to Sunset Lodge in the 1970s. Lois Berghuis, wife of the former owner of the resort, also provided information.