Monday, September 28, 2020

The Story of a Long Lake Cabin and a Big Fish

Submitted by Nancy Oldham

My grandparents on my father’s side, Ella and Coyne Oldham, built their cabin in the “Pine Haven Beach” region of Long Lake in 1940.  The road they built on is now named Beach Haven Road.  They had been coming here for visits and fishing for years; I believe mainly staying with their friends, the Tam’s, or perhaps also the Wooter’s.  The fun backstory is that Dad told us Grandma bought the lot one fall after Grandpa had already gone home to Des Moines and without his knowledge.  They had three grown sons.  Dad said, “So, for the next two or three years, we got to build a cabin for our vacation!”  I asked him if Grandpa was mad.  “Oh, he pretended to be,” he replied.

In 1938, two years before they built their own cabin, my grandmother caught a 16 pound, 5 ounce Great Northern Pike on Long Lake.  We have the mounted fish, a photo, the rod and reel, a record of the Fuller’s notation, and her handwritten story about it.  

We have a Fuller's entry card dated a year later showing Ella caught a 17 pound, 5 oz Great Northern Pike!

This is the transcribed story she wrote.

“Women enjoy and know how to fish and get them, as well as men. For the past few years I have had the opportunity of spending three months of the summer in the north woods of Minnesota, accompanied by my husband and three boys, the younger one, [Doyle] being a hay fever patient. The first of September, all returned home to their duties except the younger one and myself. We remained until October first.

Living in a cabin on the lake shore we enjoy all phases of “wildlife”, especially hiking, swimming, rowing and fishing. Until four years ago my family was content with me at the oars while they did the angling. One day while we were out on a fishing trip, someone remarked, “Ella, why don’t you fish?” Well, the spirit moved and I learned how to cast, but I am a left-handed angler. My family then presented me with a “True Temper” casting rod and  “Pflueger Akron” reel. I enjoy getting out on the lake before daybreak, and watch the sunrise and fish at the same time, and have had many an exciting experience which has resulted in many a good catch, in spite of being surrounded by men who claim they are ‘professional anglers”.

September 5th was Labor Day, and nearly all campers had left the lakes for their homes elsewhere, while we still had some good fishing ahead of us. It was a cold, foggy day, temperature 48 degrees, and the wind east, which made the lake very rough, but we decided to go out and try our luck. We started out with the motor, but found it impossible to go where we desired, so resorted to the east side of the lake. I settled myself with a sigh of relief after facing the cold wind, and cast my line out with a copper daredevil on for bait.  I dropped the bait close to some logs. I started to reel in but my bait seemed to be stationary.  I finally moved it slightly, so was sure it was weeds or a log. I worked carefully and moved with caution. Finally, I could reel my line in a little, then the fight began. I worked for some time before I could even get it where I could see it, then did I ever work and oh, the thrill. With much patience, and plenty of tight line and nerve, I got him to the boat then went to bring him in. He took another grand run and again I got him to the boat, and took him by the eyes and gills and brought him in and stunned him. Then entered him officially at the Fuller Tackle shop in Park Rapids and won the week’s prize for the large fish, which was a silver spoon.  Now I am going after a Muskie.”

Ella and youngest son, Doyle

Three of Ella’s granddaughters maintain cabins on Beach Haven Road today, Nancy Oldham in the original 1940 cabin.  Jean Dalton has remodeled the cabin next to it that her parent’s built in the late 1960’s. Pam Oldham Petersen and her husband Mick bought Verna Plaster’s  (and then Kaiser’s) cabin three doors down.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Autumn Reminders:

With Labor Day weekend in the rear view mirror, we are all thinking of Fall. Many families are already taking boats, docks, lifts, and other toys out of the water.  Here are some items to remember:


1. If you hire a lake service provider (LSP) to take out your docks, lifts, and/or boats remember to ask if they are MN DNR certified.  The MN DNR maintains a list of certified LSPs for Hubbard County.  Follow this link and scroll down until you see "Park Rapids":

MN DNR List of Dock Service Providers, Hubbard County

2. If you have a zebra mussel settlement sampler (PVC tube, cinder block, plates, etc), please check it one last time and fill out the “Eyes on the Water Survey” even if you do not find any AIS.  An “absence” report is important.  Clean the sampler and reinstall next spring.

Hubbard County COLA Eyes on the Water for Healthy Lakes

3. Inspect your own docks, lifts, rafts, boats for zebra mussels as you remove them from the water. Make sure to look in areas that have been in the shade under water like the backside of dock tires, for example. Include your findings on the equipment as you complete the “Eyes on the Water Survey”.  An “absence” report is important too.

Hubbard County COLA Eyes on the Water for Healthy Lakes

If you would like a second opinion as you inspect your own docks and lifts on your shoreline, contact one of our certified AIS detectors:  Sharon Natzel, 763-355-7908,  or  Jim Blodgett, 651-395-9317,  

4. It is illegal to transport AIS (zebra mussels, etc) on a road.  This guide for shore-land owners helps explain when a permit is needed to transport boats/equipment with attached AIS like zebra mussels. This also helps address storing lifts, docks and watercraft for winter.

5.  Learn techniques for improving water quality through the free 1-hour virtual workshop(s) Lawns to Lakes: There is a Connection.  Registration information here:

6.  #2020Census:  Now through Sept 30th Seasonal Homes and Cabins – you DO need to complete the #2020Census for that address if you have a lake cabin or vacation home.  If no one usually lives or sleeps at that address, answer ZERO for number of people in that household.  If you have received a Census Form or an Invitation to Respond online go to, mail the form in, or call 844-330-2020.  Use your Census ID or your physical address.  The importance of the Census for Hubbard County is outlined in the Park Rapids Enterprise article 9/12/2020:

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Remembering Margaret A. Lais: (Sharon Natzel's mother)

Margaret A. Lais

Margaret Agnes Lais, 97, of Park Rapids, MN, entered eternal life on August 31, 2020.
Margaret was born on October 14, 1922, in St. Paul, MN, to Anthony and Catherine Agnes (nee O’Dea) Rozycki. She grew up in Blackduck, MN, with her siblings Anthony, Raymond, and Anna Mae.

Margaret enjoyed watching baseball like her father and developed a love for the outdoors tagging along with her older brothers, calling herself “Pete” to be one of the boys. She learned to play the violin and discovered other interests such as sewing, knitting, gardening, and baking.

After graduating from Blackduck High School, Margaret attended Bemidji Teachers College and the University of Minnesota. Margaret was a laboratory assistant with 3M and in 1946 became the first woman chemist at H.B. Fuller Company.

It was at the wedding reception of her friends Mildred and Duane where she met the brother of the groom and the love of her life, Clair. On June 9, 1951, they were united in marriage in St. Paul, MN, at the Saint Paul Cathedral, the home parish of the couple. Later, they relocated to Park Rapids, MN, joined St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church parish, and established Lais Jewelry with Margaret as the bookkeeper. As a couple, they enjoyed dancing through life creating a wonderful family of six daughters, just shy of the baseball team of boys Margaret dreamed of having.

Margaret was devoted to her faith, husband, family, friends, and community. She enjoyed Whist and Bridge club with women who became lifelong friends. She was known as “down the middle Margaret” at the golf course. She loved watching the MN Twins win, experimenting with recipes, square dancing or any dance for that matter and became a talented artist with paintings inspired by nature. To stress the value that homemade items are given from the heart, her note cards were made from her paintings to express special gratitude for kindness.

Margaret lived life with the highest of standards. She was a person devoted to faith and family – especially doting on her sons-in-law. She had an infectious smile and laugh who will be missed by many. She is survived by her six daughters: Sharon (Bob) Natzel, Diane Lais (Steven Graham), Rita Lais, Janet (Melvin) Larson, Monica Lais (Robert Hauge, Jr.) Mary (Mike) Chandler; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; her sister Anna Mae, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Clair.

Mass of Christian Burial: Saturday, September 5th, 2020 at 11 AM, St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Park Rapids. Internment will follow at the St Peter the Apostle Catholic Cemetery in Park Rapids. Please join the family for a luncheon immediately following the service.

Flowers or memorials will be accepted. Preferred Memorial - CHI St Joseph’s Health Hospice Care. A memorial to The Long Lake Area Association (Hubbard County) Foundation would also be appropriate.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Landscaping Learning Opportunities

After our annual meeting presentations, your Long Lake Area Association Board has set the target value for reducing phosphorus in Long Lake by 43 pounds a year.  Please share this information with your family and neighbors so that we can achieve our goal of reducing phosphorous in our lake.  All it takes is for 50 of us to make some changes on our own lake shore properties.  Since there are around 250 members, that should be easy.  Take a look at the videos, slides, and the extension classes (links are below). 

What can you do on your lot?  Every little bit helps Long Lake.   

Send us pictures and details of your changes.  They would make fun blogs to post during the winter.

To help you learn more about what you can do, the University of Minnesota Extension Service is holding 2 virtual workshops. See the details in the flyer below.






















If you missed the Long Lake Association Annual Meeting on June 27, here is the link to the talks presented by Keith Manlove and Steve Henry regarding "Lake Friendly Living":    Lake Friendly Living and Gardening

If you haven't seen these presentations, please take the time to watch. It will be worth your time to see how we all can make a difference in keeping Long Lake healthy and clean.  The changes needed are often very simple.

As a Master Gardener Volunteer Keith is willing to do a walk through at your lake shore and suggest easy ways to make improvements. Contact him by email at