CROFTVILLE—Larsen’s Lakeview Cabins, a five-generation business in Croftville, is celebrating their 90th anniversary this year. The celebration will culminate with a float in the Fisherman’s Picnic parade on Sunday, Aug. 7 and an open house for everyone after the parade.
In the early 1900s, Norwegian immigrants Olai and Asta Larsen came to Skipper Bay in Croftville, about one-quarter mile west of the present location of Lakeview Cabins. Their three children, Elsie, John and Lawrence, were born in that house. Olai was a carpenter in the early 20s. He soon passed away, leaving Asta to raise the children alone.
While many tourists came for the fishing, they soon learned that this area was beneficial for people suffering from hay fever. The first of the cabins was built in 1932 by Lawrence. It was a duplex-style cabin and each unit was furnished with a gas hot-plate, water pail and ice box. There was a common out-house and an outside water pump. It is thought that they rented for $2 or $3 each! The laundry was done in a wash house with a wringer washing machine and then hung on the lines to dry.
In the late 30s, six more cabins were built and shortly after, four modern cabins were added to the business. When running water and indoor bathrooms were eventually added to the cabins, the name was changed to Larsen’s Modern Cabins.
Elsie started working at Cherry’s Bakery in Grand Marais, and Lawrence and John started fishing commercially. When Elsie and John moved to California in the early 40s, Lawrence continued his fishing business, taking private parties deep-sea fishing. Soon after, Lawrence was drafted into the Army.
Irma Haugen, who had graduated from the Duluth Beauty School in 1939, came to Grand Marais from Virginia, Minn. to work as a beautician. Her means of getting here was to catch a ride with the bread man, Walter Schulte. She worked at a shop in town until she and Lawrence were married February 1942.
Their first child, Jackie, was born in July 1943 and Lawrence was allowed to come home to see the baby before he was shipped out to Normandy. With Lawrence gone, Irma and the baby temporarily moved to Virginia to live with Irma’s parents. They would periodically come back to check on their home in Croftville.
Lawrence came home from the Army in December 1945. Two more children were born to them: Larry was born in 1946 and Curt was born in 1948. Lawrence went back to his fishing business and Irma ran a beauty shop in their home, alongside raising a family and helping to run the cabin business. Lawrence also worked at Silver Bay Mining and Hibbing Taconite.
One of Jackie’s first jobs was to help hang out the laundry as soon as she was old enough. Later, in her early teens, she learned how to clean fish and pick spawn, a job that, today, is called harvesting roe.
Today, five of the Lakeview Cabins are being run by Jackie and five are run by Karen, who is Elsie’s granddaughter.
By Jackie Larsen Hyovalti