Voices of Minnesota

Minnesota Resort Industry Oral History Project


DATE: 1991-2000

INTERVIEWERS: James E. Fogerty, Margaret Robertson and Theresa Ruttger

Minnesota's resorts constitute one of its largest industries. The first resorts were built at the turn of the century along the shores of the state's many lakes. Cabins could be rented by families or individuals by the day or the week. Fishing, swimming, canoeing, hiking and star gazing were among the favorite activities. As transportation systems modernized, vacationer came from all over the Midwest from Iowa, the Dakotas, Illinois and Kansas to stay at Minnesota resorts. Services provided at resorts also changed as the times did. Pools were added at some resorts, golf courses at others. Many resorts offered structured children's activities. As customers demanded more services, many resorts expanded to provide them.

Today, resorts are still an important industry of Minnesota. The last few years have seen a consolidation in Minnesota's resort industry. There are fewer resorts, but many are larger. Others have remained small, providing basic services and less sophisticated facilities. And along the way, many were sold and ceased to operate as resorts.

The interviews in this series are with both current and former Minnesota resort owners. Narrators reflect upon the establishment of individual resorts, the nature of the business and the economic and social changes they faced.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEWS: 24 hours 56 minutes

TRANSCRIPTS: 465 pages