History of the Lakes
Boating enthusiasts and fishermen alike spend hours on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes in the summer, while snowmobilers and cross-country skiers enjoy its ice in the winter. However this chain of lakes was formed out of necessity.
In 1836, Congress appropriated funds to start the Pine River Dam, which was completed by 1886. Back then, the sole industry in what is now our resort area, was logging. The chain of lakes; which includes Arrowhead, Bertha, Big Trout, Clamshell, Cross, Daggett, Island, Little Pine, Loon, Upper Hay, Lower Hay, Lower Whitefish, Middle Whitefish, Pig, Rush, and Upper Whitefish; were connected in order to move the logs from place to place. Logging continued from the early 1870's until 1912.
There are at least 30 other lakes in the area, some large and some small, including the Ossawinnamakee Chain of seven lakes just south of the Whitefish Chain.
The first entrepreneur to establish a resort-like business was Ami Gould, who operated a logger's road ranch in the Watertown Township (Crosslake), in 1870. As the local population evolved from loggers to families, the landscape followed suit. A school was erected, followed by a town hall, a store (The Crosslake Store), and a Post Office. Resorts grew out of logging camps, and became a place of refuge. Today the Whitefish Chain continues to flourish as visitors and residents enjoy both the pines and water.
Learn more about each community's history on the community pages:
Or, visit the Crow Wing County Historical Society Museum & Library.