Nestled into the woods in the middle of Crosslake is the Historic Log Village, a volunteer-run museum comprised of a collection of some of Crosslake's oldest buildings, filled with fascinating antiques and relics of days gone by.
At the Historic Log Village, each of the many buildings has a "talking box" where you can push a button and hear the story of the building. While many of the buildings are originals, a few have are recreations or have been repaired or renovated slightly to maintain their structural integrity.
At the village you can step inside the original Ideal School building, built in 1897 and used until 1904 when a new building was constructed. The building was donated to the museum by Theron E. Dempsie, so it's known today as the Dempsie House. The inside is constructed as a turn of the century schoolhouse. Outside you can even ring the actual old school bell! Nearby is the historic "school bus," an enclosed sled (on skis!) that was horse-drawn to bring children to school through the snow (uphill, both ways!).
See the traditional log building of the Ostlund Homestead, built circa 1892 by Swedish immigrants. Or, check out the early tourist cabin- a far cry from the modern, luxurious resorts of the Whitefish Area today. As the area's economy shifted from the logging industry to tourism, visitors were so eager to experience the beauty of the area that they had no problem with not having any running water, hot water, or indoor toilets.
Step through the screen door of the Crosslake Store and into the hub of a thriving logging community. This building is a recreation of the Crosslake Store, a building still standing (though it looks very different now) at the corner of County Roads 3 and 66. For many years the store was also a post office.
A building that had belonged to the Heath Homestead, from an area about six miles west of Pine River, is now recreated as a logging cabin. See old logging tools, bunk beds and comforts of a logger's life in a building that's from the early 1900s. And after a hard day out in the woods, some of those loggers might go to a local saloon, which you can see for yourself at another building in the village.
There's so much more to see, too, at the Historic Log Village- including the old Crosslake mail boat, voting stations, and much more.
The log village is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Memorial Day to Labor Day. It's staffed completely by volunteers who are passionate about the area's history. While you're there, consider picking up a copy of "A Taste of History," a thick, comprehensive book that is loaded with recipes, oral history, and tales of years gone by in both Crosslake and all of the Whitefish Area. While the museum is free, donations are gratefully accepted.
You can also visit the village on off hours, though the buildings won't be open. You'll still be able to peek in the windows and listen to a few of the talking boxes.
Information for this post is courtesy of www.crosslakehistoricalsociety.org. Thanks to the Historical Society for their preservation of our area's fascinating history and willingness to share it with others.