T. W. Harrison had visions of an electric streetcar chugging over to Gull Lake from Lake Mule Lacs and Minneapolis bringing customers to buy parts of his approximately 50,000 feet of shoreline along Steamboat and Wilsons Bays.
The electric streetcar in those days, about 1909, was the accepted means of getting around since roads, if they even existed to Gull Lake, cars and gas- powered Greyhound buses were unknown.
Although the electric streetcar plan fell through, the south end of Gull Lake today is one of the largest most tastefully developed resort areas in Minnesota.
Mush of Harrison's property is now in the hands of Madden Brothers, Inc., who run the Madden Inn and Golf Club, Madden Lodge, Pine Portage, and the Voyageur.
They also own and operate the Pine Edge Motor Inn in Little Falls, Minn., and Deiray Manor in Deiray Beach. Florida.
SINGLE-TRACK ROAD--It is no wonder that early travel in the lakes area was mostly by railroad and boat if many of th~ roads were like this one. This picture, which is believed to have been taken in about 1910. may have been between Gull and Round or Gull and the Hole-in-the-Day Rice bed. Another possibility mentioned by persons who inspected the picture is a road which once crossed North Long Lake before the channel between the west bay of the lake and the main lake was deepened. At any rate the picture shows travel conditions vastly different than those which exist today.
The U. S. government was the first owner of the Madden property. The government gave it to the Union Pacific Railroad in 1864. From the railroad ownership, the property went through a series of transfers with the railroad selling it periodically to private parties and early canning and lumber companies and getting it back again.
Then in 1902, it was sold to Laura Waite and her husband and in 1906 it became the property of T. W. Harrison. It was willed to Harrison's wife in 1914 with his son, John W. Harrison, as trustee.
John Harrison, intrigued by the prospects of developing the property, took in a partner and real estate promoter, Chester Start from Kansas City in 1926. The men formed two corporations -- the Pine Beach Golf Course Corporation to develop a golf course and the Pine Beach Corporation to develop the land. This was the beginning of the development of the south end of Gull Lake, one of the most. popular resort areas in Minnesota.
Island View Resort The first resort that Harrison and Start constructed was Island View in 1926. They built it for Walter Frampton, a machinist in Brainerd, who operated the resort until 1946 when he sold it to Ben and Eleanor Curry who kept it for four years then sold to John Thiel, the current owner.
PINE BEACH RECREATION--From the beginning the Pine Beach area of Gull Lake has offered quality vacation facilities. Shown above are riding horses at the Robert's Pine Beach Hotel during early days of the hotel. Vacation facilities owned or operated by the Madden Brothers now dominate the Pine Beach area.
Madden Inn and Golf Course The Pine Beach Corporation deeded the land where the Madden Inn is today to the Brainerd Pine Beach Hotel Corporation. The Brainerd Pine Beach Hotel Corporation consisted of Harrison, Start, a group of Brainerd businessmen and Arthur Roberts, a hotel operator from Rochester, who pooled their resources to build the hotel.
Plans for the hotel culminated in 1929 and the hotel was opened in 1930. It became the Roberts Pine Beach Hotel when Arthur Roberts bought out the stock of the other owners. Roberts' uncle was a member of the Kahier family, owners of hotel systems in Duluth and Rochester and Roberts ran the 42-hotel system. One of the 42 was the Roberts Pine Beach Hotel where he spent his summers running the entire system.
Jack Madden first appeared on the Pine Beach resort scene in about 1931 when he had a soda fountain in the Roberts hotel. Madden, a college student at the time, also had a soda fountain that summer at Ely in the nearby Burntside Lake Resort near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
He bought the golf course in 1932 and the hotel in 1933. The inn and golf course complex today is a combination of three golf courses, a sandy beach, one outdoor heated swimming pool, a Fun Spa with an enclosed heated pool, cabins and rooms and a clubhouse.
CLUB HOUSE--Brainerd businessmen once used this club house between Round and Gull lakes for recreation,. It was located on the site of Interlachen and was owned by a group of Brainerd businessmen who went out by horse and buggy and often stayed at least two weeks.
Pine Portage Next to be built in the Pine Beach area of Gull Lake was the Ruttger's Pine Beach Lodge by Max Ruttger in 1930. It was leased to Jack Madden in 1969 and is now officially known as the Madden Pine Portage Resort with 32 cottages, swimming pool, sauna, and lodge.
Madden Lodge In 1936, Madden and Start built Mission Point as a housekeeping resort with three cabins. In 1941, Madden bought the resort from Start, built cabins to accommodate 24 people and constructed the lodge. (He later enlarged to accommodate 126 people.) Voyageur The Voyageur was the last resort to be built in the Pine Beach area. It was built by Jack Madden, Jim Madden and John Arnold in 1955. All facilities of the four Madden resorts are available for guests of each. Lumbertown U.S.A.
Lumbertown another part of the Madden complex, was built about 15 years ago, as an authentic replica of Minnesota towns that were the center and heart of the great lumbering industry of the late 1880's.
The Pine Beach area on Gull Lake, including the former marsh area where Lumbertown was built, was the site of several historical happenings.
OLD QUEEN--This boat was run by S. V. Long, pictured standing in the boat's cabin. The boat was operated by Long after Stewart Mills quit his boat delivery service from Nisswa to points along the Gull Lake chain.
At Brainerd was a highly-geared lumbertown. The former town of Gull River (150-200 population) about eight miles from Lumbertown, was the site of the establishment of the Gull River Lumber Company.
Millions of logs were floated through the surrounding Gull Lake area during those days and were processed at the Brainerd and Gull River saw mills. With this background, the Pine Beach area seemed an ideal location for Lumbertown, U.S.A.
Jack and Peg Madden built up Lumbertown by constant searching for antiques to revive Minnesota's past history. Every winter for the past eight years, the Madden's have traveled to find additions for Lumbertown.
Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).