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Waskish in Beltrami County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Old Waskish Town Site

 
 
The Old Waskish Town Site marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By McGhiever, August 31, 2021
1. The Old Waskish Town Site marker
Inscription.  Waskish was named by the Chippewa Indians who hunted, fished, and gathered wild rice along the Tamarack River. The Ojibway word for deer is Wawaskishi, which was shortened to Waskish by the early pioneers. The old town site was located at the mouth of the Tamarack, on the east shore of Upper Red Lake. This location made Waskish an important terminal for the early loggers, settlers and travelers. Transportation was provided by boat from the railroad at Redby on the south end of Lower Red Lake. The Mud Hen was one of the first and largest boats to furnish such transportation. It was also used as a tugboat to tow booms of timber to Redby. Later the Dahlberg towed timber booms.

The first homesteaders came in the early 1900's. In 1902 Frank Lyons arrived to construct the first store and post office. Other businessmen and homeowners began purchasing small tracts for building lots. Waskish thrived as a town until the late 1930's, when the Department of Natural Resources began purchasing the town site. The various town buildings were subsequently razed. By 1977, the last of the former town buildings had been torn
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The old town site is now totally owned by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The Township of Waskish is leasing Homestead Park and Recreation Area from the DNR. This recreation complex is dedicated for the enjoyment of all in memory of the earlier settlers.

1. Chippewa Building
Built in 1915 by John Morrison and his partner Gravelle of Redby, for use as a grocery store, but in the late 1920's and early 1930's is was used as rental housing. Homer Hillman acquired the building in 1937 and re-established a grocery store in it. The building was torn down in 1977.

2. The Mud Hen
This boat operated as a freight hauler, passenger boat, and timber tugboat. it was an important transportation link from Redby to the various settlements along Upper Red Lake.

3. The Dahlberg
Built by Eric Dahlberg, who also served as its captain. The Dahlberg was used as a tugboat to tow large rafts of timber to Redby.

4. First Post Office and Store
Built by Frank Lyons in 1902, and used as a trading post and post office until 1913. Mr. Lyons also built a bunkhouse which was used as a stop-over place for the lumberjacks and other early travelers.

5. Waskish Hotel Building
Dave Lyons built the hotel in 1916.
Marker on the south edge of Waskish Homestead Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By McGhiever, September 1, 2021
2. Marker on the south edge of Waskish Homestead Park
John Morris purchased the building in 1930 and renamed it "Sunset Lodge". Throughout the years the Homer Whitings, Peter Backs, Charlie Carpenters, Harry Davidsons, Chuck Becks, and Ron Dureskys all have operated Sunset Lodge. In 1976 fire destroyed a large part of the building and the remaining portion was razed in 1977 when the new Sunset Lodge was built.

6. River Bridge
The first bridge across the Tamarack River was built around 1910. This bridge was replaced during the winter of 1927-1928. In the early 1930's a new bridge was built and the highway rerouted to its present course.

7. Peter Olson Homestead
Built in 1908 by Peter Olson, who was among the first permanent settlers here. A rural mailcarrier, he was killed in an automobile accident on his way to Kelliher in 1919. The house was used as a tourist cabin in later years.

8. Post Office Building
Built in 1913 by Herbert L. Bowen as a post office and grocery store. In 1920 the building was enlarged to provide living quarters downstairs and rooms suitable for a hotel upstairs. Despite the commercial intentions, the upstairs was used mainly for rental apartments. The post office was moved in 1958 and the building was razed.

9. Norman Morrow's Building
Built in 1916 by Norman Morrow and used as a barbershop, cafe
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and lodging. Morrow's sign advertised "MEALS AT ALL HOURS". It was a convenient stop-over place for travelers.

10. Corner Store Complex
Albert Johnson built this store in 1912. Henry Pills, Charles Larson and Tony Conda were among the early operators of this store. In 1929 Harry Davidson took over its operation. The store was discontinued in 1938 when the Davidsons began running the Sunset Lodge.

 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceParks & Recreational AreasSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1902.
 
Location. 48° 10.532′ N, 94° 30.682′ W. Marker is in Waskish, Minnesota, in Beltrami County. Marker can be reached from Waskish Road NE (County Road 40) west of State Route 72. Located in Waskish Homestead Park on the south side facing the Tamarac River, between a stage and a shed. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Waskish MN 56685, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Harry Davidson (within shouting distance of this marker); The Marina (approx. ¼ mile away); Where There is Smoke / Forests of the Agassiz Lowlands (approx. 0.4 miles away); Ludlow Island History (approx. 8.1 miles away); The Big Bog's Caribou Band (approx. 8.4 miles away); The Bog That Couldn't Be Tamed (approx. 8.6 miles away); The Patterned Peatland: Rare and Valuable (approx. 8.9 miles away).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 4, 2021, by McGhiever of Minneapolis, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 553 times since then and 197 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 4, 2021, by McGhiever of Minneapolis, Minnesota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 21, 2024