Lake Bronson, Minnesota

1999

Population: 263

The museum and state park make the town of Lake Bronsona place to visit in Kittson County.

Lake Bronson is located 15 miles east of Hallock, alongHwy. 59.

History

Although the Soo Line no longer serves as a means of conveyance,it certainly caused many little towns to spring up at the beginning of thecentury.

The first settlers in the area were Mr. and Mrs. GilesBronson who homesteaded about three miles east of Bronson in 1882 in a landof danger and discomfort. Red River carts still creaked southward over theold Kittson trail. Chippewa Indians were permitted to roam virtually atwill, but they caused little trouble. They frequently camped near the Bronsonplace.

In the late 80's and early 90's, settlement was acceleratedin the eastern part of the county. Stagecoach lines connected remote pointsand carried mail.

A post office, called Percy, was established at the Fronsonfarm in 1888. Mr. Ole Swenson, Paul's brother, carried the mail from Kennedyto Percy. Mrs. Bronson said the office was named in memory of the home townshipof her husband in Ontario. However, in Minnesota Historical Collections:Vol. 17 (1920) Percy township is recorded and named for an early hunterand trapper, Howard Percy.

The fact that the town of Bronson was renamed Lake Bronsonattests to the important role the park lake played in local history whenthe region was without lakes.

The drought in the 1930's caused wells to dry up in Bronsonand Hallock. The only solution for the future was to dam the south forkTwo River and create a sizeable artificial lake.

After much difficulty, the two communities secured fundsfor the project. Dam construction began in 1936. The dame site containedquicksand to a depth of 100 feet. An engineer, Clifford Holland, deviseda system by which the weight of the dam forced water up through six inchpipes, thus solidifying the soil base. These pipes, which successfully keepthe dam in place, can be seen today in the spillway.

The lake now provides a variety of recreational opportunitiesnot found elsewhere in the area.

Historic Sites

The Kittson County History Center is located in Lake Bronson.The Lake Bronson State Park is also a historical sight. In the late 1930'sthe dam was built by the Works Progress Administration and the lake formed.Along with the dam, the WPA also built a number of buildings wihin the parkconsructed out of cut rock which includes a picnic shelter and an observationwater tower which are open to the public. These buildings are now on theNational Register of Historic Places.

Other historic sights within the park is the location ofthe original WPA camp, designated with a sign, "Camp Bronson"and the Bronson Pioneer Cemetery located on the south side of the lake.A historic marker has been placed near this site with historical informationon Giles and Maggie Bronson, whom Lake Bronson was named for.