Through the years, many memories have been created in the Crosslake area. In summer 2003, Crosslake celebrated its 100th birthday. Crosslake, the city, is named after the lake Cross Lake. In Ojibwa the name means “the lake through which the river flows directly across.” In the past, the area has been enjoyed by many dwellers and visitors. The Ojibwa resided here for many centuries and traveled by lakes and rivers, fishing and hunting off of the land. Wildlife was abundant for the trappers and traders.
In 1836, Joseph Nicollette and his party surveyed the area and traveled the Whitefish Chain. After this work, Congress appropriated money for six dams to be constructed by the U.S. Corp of Engineers on the Mississippi and its tributaries. Preserving the falls of St. Anthony and to aid in navigation of the river during drier times was the original objective of the dams. The Pine River Dam in Crosslake was constructed in 1885 and 1886 as part of the Mississippi reservoir system. While working on the dam in 1885, it was recorded that there were swarms of men and 78 were working on the dam.
At the turn of the century, logging was at its peak and the Crosslake Lumber Company housed up to 1,400 men. A railway was built to transport logs from Walker to Cross Lake where they were dumped into Cross Lake. This area is now called “Old Log Landing.” It was a “village” on its own, complete with a post office, stables and everything needed for daily living. Until 1912, this industry flourished at which time the logging companies moved and the railway closed down.
The logging industry attracted many of the first residents of the area. The families stayed after the industry moved on. Many of the early settlers included Ami Gould, the first registered homesteader, Albert Kimball, John Stees, Ed Kimball, Joe Kimball, Horace Butterfield, Freeman Doane, George Frost, Jim Frost, August Ostlund, William Gordon, JH Allen and Charles Heath. Early railroaders included Harry Gould, Bill King, Art Satchell, James Johnson and Frank Gordon. Some of the descendents still live in the area.
When the logging industry had depleted the area resources, the beauty of the lakes area became the focus of the local economy, in addition to fishing and hunting. During this time the local resorts were developed. Some of the local establishments included the Crosslake Store, the Crosslake Pavilion (later known as the Log Jam and now known as the Exchange), Moonlight Bay, the Clover Club and Manhattan Beach Hotel. Now known as Manhattan Beach Lodge, it was the summer place for many visitors from Chicago who took the train to Brainerd and were then bused to the Hotel for summer stays and parties on the beach. Stories abound of old times at the local resorts. Tourism continues to be an important part of the local economy.
Throughout past years, there have been many schools with the first on established in 1889 at the local black smith’s shop. School district 58, as it became known, built a school which later burned down in 1918. The next school was the Gordon School and was built at a site know as Yorek’s Crosslake Auto. With the establishment of District 99, a building was built at the intersection of highways 66 and 16. Maurice Swann, in 1949 dontated land for both District 58 and 99 for a new school which is the present site of the Post Office. The Pequot Lakes and Crosslake School Districts consolidated in 1965 requiring all the student to be bused to Pequot Lakes. In 2000, the Crosslake Community Charter School was organized for grades kindergarten through sixth. Once again, Crosslake has a local school in the community.
Originally, the area was part of Watertown Township of Cass County. This township was annexed to Crow Wing County in 1887. It was finally accepted as by the Crow Wing County board in 1903. In 1951, the south half of this township became Crosslake Village with the remainder becoming North Crosslake Village in 1964. They became Crosslake Village in 1972 and the City of Crosslake in 1974.
Today Crosslake has many local facitilities which include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who regulate the dam, a grocery store, several convenience stores, three banks, two dentist offices, a pharmacy, and a medical clinic. Crosslake has retained the earlier image of “Beauty Spot of Minnesota” and added many more memories to lives of