As the old saying goes, they just don’t make ’em like they used to. While times (and gear) have changed, we decided to take a fond look back at some history of vintage camping in Minnesota over the years.
As much as has changed, many things have remained a constant. The draw of Minnesota’s lakes and north woods are just as alluring today as they were at the turn of the last century. Minnesota State Parks are still a draw for families looking to spend the weekend camping – or simply looking for an afternoon escape from the hustle and bustle of the Twin Cities.
Note: we found the majority of these images online – and would be happy to give credit where credit’s due. Just shoot us a message, and we’ll update credits/links!
If you love vintage post cards, you’ve got to check out the book Minnesota Vacation Days by Kathryn Strand Koutsky and Linda Koutsky!
1920 – Lake Mille Lacs In playing the casting game alone, I have found that after casting apiece of water one can cover more water by letting the canoe run into shore and then cast both sides lengthways and in front. Youcan attract many fish by casting downshore and reel in over goodwater all the way back to the next cast.
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Seeing the Headwaters of the Mississippi River was postcard worthy even in the early days.
The original Boler fiberglass trailer was introduced in 1968 – cozy enough for a family of four!
What we wouldn’t give for a pair of those boots today. The Gunflint Trail & North Shore – Grand Marais, MN
A sketch made by a Fifth Grader of her “ideal camping place” – Bartlett’s Point, St. Lawrence River
Before Kraft and Heinz, Ketchup was made the traditional way…from scratch
Hamm’s Beer originated in the land of sky blue waters…Saint Paul
Minnesota State Parks celebrated their Centennial in 1958
In May of 1881 is was “newsworthy” to set up camp at Cedar Lake…especially if you were staying for two or three weeks.
Spirit Island : Lake Mille Lacs. Vintage postcard
1907. Celebrated Gourock Tents: Waterproof, Rotproof and will not mildew
In the 1920’s, Minnesota was considered a land of wilderness and exploration, as depicted in this Shell Road Map taken from the book Minnesota Vacation Days
As the Minneapolis Journal wrote in 1904, “The fresh air fashion has ceased to be a fad…” It sure has
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Smokey The Bear remains an icon in the Minnesota outdoor experience even to this day
Not only is SPAM a campsite staple, it’s also the brainchild of Minnesota-based Hormel Foods
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