Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wrenshall Overlook/Veterans' Memorial Overlook/Veterans' Scenic Overlook

Highway 23
Carlton County
Jay Cooke State Park

The Wrenshall Overlook roadside parking area was originally designed and built between 1947 and 1949 by the Minnesota Highway Department. The design was two sites located roughly a quarter mile apart. The southern site was known as the Wrenshall Overlook or Fond du Lac Overlook and had a stone overlook wall. That area is no longer accessible by vehicle and consists of the remnants of the overlook wall and circular overlook bay.

Southern site:

Trail to southern site

This part of the site is accessible by a walking trail from the main parking area. There is a sign warning the visitor of dangerous conditions on the trail and at the southern overlook. The view from the site is to the west and north out over Jay Cooke State Park.


The northern site consists of a parking area and circular overlook wall with five lecterns with marker plaques.

Text of plaque:
"Evergreen Memorial Drive dedicated Oct. 5, 1947, in grateful memory of all men and women
from Carlton, Pine, and St. Louis Counties, who served in the armed forces of our country during the World Wars."

"You've never lived until you almost died. For those who fight for it life has a flavor the protected will never know.
Vietnam 1959-1975."

In Memory of Benjamin R. Sjoberg HT3 US Navy
Aug 24 1973 Oct 19 1996
Lost at Sea

"For God and country. Alex J. Laveau 1928-1991 WWII
For their dedication for this Veterans Scenic Overlook."

The fifth lectern has a geological marker which was moved from the southern overlook.

"St. Louis River. The broad valley of the St. Louis River, visible from this point, is a western extension of the Lake Superior basin. The rounded banks are composed of red clay deposited in Glacial Lake Duluth during the centuries in which it flooded the St. Louis Valley. The scenery at this time is due to the partial removal of that clay by the river as the lake surface fell to its present level.
The St. Louis River today is the result of stream piracy and now comprises parts of two river systems. The Prairie River, which rose 30 miles north of Two Harbors, ran southwest from its source to the Mississippi, while the turbulent St. Louis flowed southeast to Lake Superior. The St. Louis River, falling rapidly in its steep descent, extended itself by erosion toward its source until it intercepted the Prairie River and, by an act of river piracy, diverted the headwaters of that stream to its own channel. The main stream of those headwaters is now the Cloquet River.
"Erected by the Geological Society of Minnesota and the Department of Highways, State of Minnesota aided by a grant from the Louis W. and Maud Hill Family Foundation, 1955."

Northern site; parking area and overlook wall.

The site has had considerable alteration over the years. The southern area was closed in the 1980s. After local requests MnDOT and DNR paved a trail from the northern parking area to the southern site. The DNR has posted a warning sign about dangerous conditions. The overlook is within the boundaries of Jay Cooke State Park, thus the dual agency involvement.