The Original Cut Foot Sioux Ranger Station
One of the builders, Horace Lydick, was the first ranger to live and work at this location. His primary duties were fire control, road building, and dispersal of slash, such as cut tree limbs and tops left over from the cabin construction and road building. It was a daunting task, encompassing a huge area. The closest ranger station was nearly ten miles NW with an unbroken expanse of timber in between. There were very few roads and the only means of travel was horse, wagon, canoe or on foot. It was overwhelming at times...
Horace was hired as a forest guard in April of 1908 and his new bride, 18 year old Susan, joined him in the fall. They stayed in the little cabin until winter approached and returned in the spring to complete the 1909 season.
Shortly after Horace and Sue Lydick left in 1909, work began on a two story log home / ranger station for the new ranger, George Henderson. This building, completed in 1910, was located on the hill by the parking lot. Once that was in place, the original ranger station was used as a tool shed.
Henderson and his assistant ranger, Howard Flint, worked together to mark the 10% reserved trees to be left as a seed source after the logging operations were completed.
In 1911, the original ranger station was converted back into a home for Howard Flint and his new bride, Elizabeth. They were fortunate to have the companionship of Ranger Henderson and his family, and really enjoyed their time along the shore of Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake. Elizabeth kept a journal and wrote vivid descriptions of her time spent here and in other locations where she and her husband lived during his years with the Forest Service. From her notes she later published a book called The Pine Tree Shield. An excerpt from the book, written in 1940, describes the cabin in this way:
..We stood a moment together looking at our home - a little cabin of weather-stained logs,
The reconstructed Cut Foot Sioux Ranger Station represents an important chapter in the history of the early years of the Chippewa National Forest. The interpretive displays within the cabin are based on descriptions from Elizabeth Flint's writings of her time spent here. (1911 - 1912)
The ranger station / cabin site gives up a glimpse of the remote setting and the living conditions of early managers of the Minnesota National Forest. Due to their first efforts, the Chippewa National Forest of today is known for its diverse forests, abundant wildlife and pristine lakes and rivers.
History of the Original Cut Foot Sioux Ranger Station
1908: Horace S. Lydick was the first ranger at Cut Foot. He was hired as a forest guard on April 14, 1908. On October 16, 1908, Horace married Susan Roy and they lived in the cabin / ranger station during the fall and returned in the spring of 1909. His primary work was fire suppression and slash (tree limbs and tree tops) dispersal.
1910: George Henderson
1911: Howard Flint converted the Old Ranger Station into a honeymoon cabin when the Hendersons moved into the new two-story log home and station. While Henderson and Flint were managing timber sale operations in their district, Elizabeth Flint made her and Howard's first home as comfortable as possible. They stayed until 1912.
1913: After 1913, the station was used as a tool shed and later a garage for a district fire truck.
1933: Ranger Gerald Horton, because of a personal interest in local history, restored the building and converted it into a small museum to preserve local historical artifacts. Later rangers continued this effort more or less, depending on their personal interest.
1969: In order to save the building from further deterioration, the district engineering crew, with materials obtained from the Jobs Corps Center at Lydick Lake, built a protective shell around the old ranger
1974: The Original Cut Foot Sioux Ranger Station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1994: The restoration project was started. The cabin was completely dismantled and logs that were beyond repair were replaced. The foundation, the floor and the roof were rebuilt. The interior was patterned after the description left by Elizabeth C. Flint in her book The Pine Tree Shield which is the only surviving description of the cabin's interior that could be found.
1998: Reconstruction of the cabin was completed and interpretive displays were developed.
Erected by United States Forest Service.
Location. 47° 30.931′ N, 94° 2.029′ W. Marker is in Squaw Lake, Minnesota, in Itasca County. Marker can be reached from Hatchery Road half a mile east of Minnesota State Highway 46. Touch for map. Turn right at a white sign reading "Original Cut Foot Sioux Ranger Station". There's a parking area delineated by wooden posts. The ranger station is around to the right. Visitors can ask at the modern Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center out on the state highway for a key to see the cabin interior. Marker is in this post office area: Squaw Lake MN 56681, United States of America.
Categories. • Environment • Horticulture & Forestry •
Credits. This page was last revised on November 11, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 11, 2016, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 343 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 11, 2016, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. 3, 4. submitted on November 6, 2016, by Chris Flint Jewett of Stevensville, Maryland. 5. submitted on June 11, 2016, by McGhiever of St Paul, Minnesota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.