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Outing, a post office in Crooked Lake Township, section 27, since 1936, located in Crow Wing County 1908-36. at which time it transferred to Cass County; it developed as a summer resort area with a general store and hotel.
Cass County was created by an act of the legislature in 1851 and covers about 2440 square miles. The first county seat was near where Brainerd is now and later moved to Walker. The early roads followed the trails and the routes laid out by United States soldiers to connect the Indian Agencies. Cass County is the melting pot of many nationalities, and there are 52 townships in the county. In 1933 several State forests were created. The Foot Hills State Forest covers a few townships in Western Cass County. Land O' Lakes State Forest covers a central portion of the county in which is located this area. The largest lake is Leech with an area of 173 square miles.
The first township lines were platted by government surveyors, Johnson and Thornton, August 19, 1863, and was completed December 11, 1863. They found well defined Indian trails as they were surveying. The major portion of the timber was removed between 1880 and 1890, with Weyerhauser completing the logging in 1907. The first deed in Outing was issued to a John B. Gilfillan, dated September 15, 1865. There was a Quit Claim Deed issued to St. Anthony Lumber Company on January 31, 1901 and a Warranty Deed to Settlers Land Company, dated February 2, 1903. The oldest record of a birth in Outing is of a Anna Maud Dorman, born January 18, 1873. Her parents were William W. and Mattie B. Dorman. William was born in New York State and was a carpenter; Mattie was born in Massachusetts. There were probably earlier births but they were never recorded. (The above information was supplied by the Forest Ranger and the courthouse at Walker and was printed on the placemats at Broken Arrow Bar & Steakhouse.)
The country first saw white men around 1620, when explorers were traveling the Mississippi River. The Northwest Company had a post in this country as early as 1784. The American Fur Company had a post on Lake Itasca in 1804.
The road from Brainerd to Outing did not come up through Crosby-Ironton. The road was called the Merrifield Trail. It came northeast to Crosslake and up to Fifty Lakes and finally reached the south end of Crooked Lake or what we now call Roosevelt Lake. At the turn of the century people from Brainerd and surrounding communities would drive north on the Merrifield Trail to the south end of Roosevelt where they would picnic and camp. They would return home and tell their friends they had been on an outing, and that's the way Outing got its' name.
Joseph C. Woods was a state senator during Theodore Roosevelt's reign as president of the United States and they were good friends. Senator Woods introduced a bill in the State Senate, which carried both Houses, to have the name of Crooked Lake changed to Roosevelt Lake. He did this because he felt it was one of Minnesota's most beautiful lakes. The name was changed in 1919, the year of Roosevelt's death. Later on when Tingdale Brothers platted out lots for lakeshore development, they named many of the roads and trails after members of the Roosevelt family.
Mr. Woods had a launch in Lake Roosevelt and had the first car up in this country. It was a Pierce Arrow. He came up here around 1903 and the big lodge was built about 1912. His home was in St. Paul. Jack Doty was the caretaker. William Andrews and his brother had a hotel in Old Outing and Mr. Woods stayed there for a short time.
Our Outing country was virgin timber and the lumbering industry came in about 1860. Northern Minnesota supplied all the lumber for the homes built in St. Paul, Minnesota, Omaha, Sioux City and other larger Iowa towns. During the lumbering era our lakes, such as Leavitt, Lawrence and Roosevelt were dammed up in the fall to hold as many logs as they could, so that in the spring, when the dams were blown, the logs floated to the Mississippi River and then down to St. Paul to the mills.
After an area was cut over, it would catch on fire. The cuttings and toppings would be many feet deep and would be set, either by lightning or a homesteader, and a terrible holocaust would take place. The heat was so terrific that it burned all humus from the soil almost down to bedrock, this sometimes being from six to twelve inches. It takes about 500 years to make an inch of humus. The first regrowth of vegetation was the blueberry bush which thrived mightily and blueberry picking in the Outing area was almost an industry for some of the early settlers. Several tracts of land are not suitable even now for any kind of merchantable timber, but partridge, grouse, moose and deer thrive there. In 1936 burning restrictions went on for this area.
Jack Houghton came here in 1918. He had the first place right on the lake. He built 90 homes around here in the Outing area as well as 18 in Remer and 5 or 6 in Emily.
Henry J. Luescher was one of the first settlers at what used to be called the Narrows, and later changed to Outing. They came in 1913. When they moved here to this community they came to Pine River by train and had ten teams to bring them and their supplies to the Narrows. Mrs. Luescher's father, Mr. Moore, drove up here from Minneapolis in a horse and buggy in 1914 and gave it to his daughter and son-in-law. They had a resort on Lawrence Lake and Mr. Luescher and Mr. Moore cut out the stumps and brush from the center of the wagon road that went from old Outing to the Narrows and on to their resort to enable cars to travel this road.
The post office for the people around this community was at old Outing in 1913, but there was a mail route on the east side of Lawrence Lake from Old Outing to Mae post office up in Beulah Township. Luescher's had a mail box over on that road on the other side of Lawrence. When the weather was not fit to cross the lake, they had to walk way around the lake to get to their mail box. The old road went through where Berry's property is over near Smoky Hollow Lake. Harry Meachum used to use that road to carry the mail and when he couldn't use the team and wagon, he used to go on horse back and carry the mail on the back of his horse. Mrs. Brookbank was Post Mistress at that post office. Finally when there were enough settlers at the Narrows, the post office was moved here in 1937 and Mr. Vernon Stirwalt was the first post master.
First Post Office
Tromeli was the name of a house in Old Outing, overlooking the lake. Mr. Mebis owned it and named it after a street in Kansas City where he was an insurance man. President Truman came up to visit him. President Truman was then a county commissioner.
When the lumbering industry first started in this part of the country, the forests, at that time, consisted mostly of mature trees. The two major species were Norway and White pines. During this time there was no undergrowth due to the vast shading on the forest floor which was covered with the needles of these conifers. Because of this, there was no deer habitation of any consequences because of the poor food supply.
Cuyuna is one of many names with an interesting history. It was named for, and by, Cuyler Adams, a prospector and discoverer and his dog, Una, who accompanied him on his prospecting trips.
A Mr. Thompson was an old settler and built the big barn at the Woods mansion.
The house on the canal on Lawrence Lake where Daily's used to live was built in 1938.
In 1914, the road was built on up to Remer. It used to take two days to go from the Narrows to Remer and back by way of the old Wagon trail.
C. B. Meachum had the first store, about 1926, just a tar paper shack type, at the site where Just Up North, owned by Bonnie & Steve Just, now stands. (The old Lakeview Grocery.) Lakeview Grocery was owned and operated by Paul and Billie Erickson. Strangely enough, Bonnie and Steve Just own and reside in the home on Roosevelt Lake where Paul and Billie previously resided.
Then Henry J. Luescher's built the store on the other side of the street, known as the Narrows Trading Post in 1926, ran it and lived in back of the store. They moved up on top of the hill by where the post office used to be, with the steep cement steps in 1930. Andy Andolshek bought the store in 1948 and later sold it to Kurt Hoffman and his brother. It burned down in the middle 1960's, along with the Dairy Queen that Kurt had added. The grocery store was rebuilt by the Hoffmans and is now Lake Country Grocery owned by Chris and Sara Smith.
The Sussex Company logged the lakes around here. The Weyerhauser Lumber Company owned a lot of land around here but leased it out to other companies. They cut no lumber around here but cut north and east of Thunder Lake. Further north it was called Cork Pine and it was used for patterns and molding.
The Bungalow at Emily was built by a Dr. Emny from Aldora, Iowa.
At the time of the logging, there were two loggers by the names of Clarkie and Adney (there is a lake named after him) who were sworn enemies and they shot each other in the Foley Motel in Aitkin.
Emily started about 1894; Old Outing 1900; bridge built at the Narrows about 1913.