Monday, April 28, 2014

Kenney Lake Overlook

Kenney Lake
Minnesota Highway 18

Kenney Lake Overlook is located along MN 18 about 2.5 miles north of the Garrison Concourse. The overlook serves as a roadside parking area. The overlook wall and other features were built by the CCC from Garrison in 1939.

Overlook wall and parking area

South end 'niche', with stairs and terrace


Steps and second terrace

Overlook wall and granite curbing

North end below the "niche"

North "niche"
Kenney Lake

Kenney Lake Overlook, Circa 1939 (Mn/DOT photo) 1

Kenney Lake Overlook, Aug. 1997 1

The site originally included two curving stone benches and granite curbing. The curbing remains. The original plan included drinking water, three picnic tables, two fireplaces, and two toilets. A second parking area was designed to be just to the south but appears it was never built.

1 Susan Granger, Scott Kelly, and Kay Grossman. (1998, December). Historic Roadside Development Structures on Minnesota Trunk Highways. Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox (NRHP)

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox; "Colossal roadside statues of mythical giant lumberjack and companion, erected in 1937-38 to stimulate tourism." Added to the Register March 10, 1988.

3rd Street and Bemidji Avenue, Bemidji, MN.

1 Minnesota Historical Society

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Pillsbury Mine Overlook - Historical Views

Chisholm, MN
US Highway 169/MN Highway 73

The Pillsbury Mine Overlook was featured in Minnesota Highway Department publications. First in the August 1963 edition of Minnesota Highways

Cover - photo of Pillsbury Mine Overlook

Page 2 - cover description
Double barreled benefit will accrue from the relocation of the 7½ miles of T.H. 169 between Hibbing and Chisholm, now about completed: 1. Expansion of the highway from two to four lanes will meet the needs of greatly increased traffic in the area. 2. The realignment of the highway approximately a half-mile east of the old location will carry the highway directly across the Oliver Mining Company's old Pillsbury pit, giving tourists a trunk highway closeup view of an open pit iron mine without getting out of their automobiles.
Practically the entire area adjoining the highway in the cover picture is part of the big pit. The light colored spaces on each side of the highway midway of the picture are roadside parking areas to permit a leisurely view of the mine. The bridge at upper left carries railroad tracks of the Oliver Iron mining company over the highway.
Official opening of the new segment is expected to take place shortly.

Then again in the Minnesota Highways, March 1972 ² edition of Do You Recognize This?

The answer in the April 1972 ³ edition:

The "Do You Recognize This?" photo in our March issue was of TH 169 and 73 between Chisholm and Hibbing. The top of the picture is in the Chisholm direction which is northeasterly. Notice the two parking overlooks to the Pillsbury Mine .

And, the 1964 Official Highway Map⁵ featured a photograph of the overlook on the front cover:

The only highway of its kind in the world...TH 169 as it goes through the
Pillsbury Mine, west of Chisholm, on Minnesota's famed Mesaba Range.

The front cover picture is of the segment of T.H. 169 which goes through the Pillsbury open pit iron mine between Hibbing and Chisholm.⁴

The site in 2013 (Google Earth) - Chisholm at top right of image

Pillsbury Mine ⁵
Iron Range, Minnesota
See Iron Ore Mines and tour Taconite Plants while
vacationing in beautiful Minnesota - Year around vacationland.
Pub. by Gallagher's Studio, Duluth, Minn.

¹ Cover Picture. (1963, August). Minnesota Highways, 2.
² Do You Recognize This? (1972, March). Minnesota Highways, 6.
³ Last Month’s Photo. (1972, April). Minnesota Highways, 8.
⁴ New Map Published. (1964, April). Minnesota Highways, 2.
⁵ Personal collection

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canadian National Railways Depot

Baudette, MN

Bungalow/Craftsman replacement depot, a primary transportation link built in 1923; also used by U.S. Government to maintain presence at international border.¹

 ¹  National Register Property Details : National Register of Historic Places : (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2014, from

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pine-Hickory Lakes Roadside Parking Area

US Highway 169

This roadside feature has elements along both the east and west side of US Highway 169 about 6 miles south of Aitkin. Pine Lake is on the west side and consists of a roadside parking area with picnic tables. The parking area looks out to Pine Lake. A restroom building and information board installed by the MHD in 1974 no longer exist at the site.

Parking area at Pine Lake (Little Pine Lake)

Shoreline at parking area

Hickory Lake is on the east side and consists of an unpaved access to the lake. That is the easily seen feature. The older features of this roadside structure are on this side but require a bit of exploring. A stone council ring is on a small rise north of the access road and just off the highway. The ring was built in 1938 by the National Youth Administration (NYA). A smaller fire ring is in the center. The ring is overgrown with brush and weeds and the stonework needs repair.

One of two council rings at the Hickory Lake side

"A low, outdoor stone seats built into the landscapes of gardens or parks
and used as places for discussions, drama, dances and other social activities."

Farther north of the council ring is the stone overlook. This sits on a noticeable rise a couple of hundred feet off the highway. A small fire ring is in the center of the overlook. The overlook was also built by the NYA in 1938. There is no signage indicating the overlook and the state has placed boulders in what looks like seldom used trails to discourage ATV and OHV traffic. 

Overlook side
Entrance side

Pine-Hickory Lakes Roadside Parking Area, Circa 1938 (Mn/DOT photo)
Historic Roadside Development Structures on Minnesota Trunk Highways

The site also includes a dam and bridge (bridge 3911) over Ripple River, a second council ring, stone fireplace and stone refuse container; all of which were added during a second site survey.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Great Northern Depot (NRHP)

Bemidji, MN

Classical Revival, brick-and-stone depot built in 1913 for passenger and freight service to booming logging town.¹ Now houses the Beltrami County History Center.

Added to the National Register May 26, 1988.

¹   National Register Property Details : National Register of Historic Places : (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2014, from

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Martin County Courthouse (NRHP)

Fairmont, MN

Renaissance/Baroque stone courthouse with domed tower designed by Charles E. Bell, built in 1906–07; interior murals by local artist F. Rorbeck.1

Added to the Register September 22, 1977.

1 National Register Property Details : National Register of Historic Places : (n.d.). Retrieved March 3, 2014, from

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chase Hotel (NRHP)

Walker, MN

First-class resort hotel built by L. W. Chase in 1922 to cater to tourists in new age of automobile transportation.
Added to the Register June 4, 1980.

¹ National Register Property Details : National Register of Historic Places : (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2014, from