Cascade Lodge on Lake Superior

A Brief History of Cascade Lodge

Cascade Lodge has a rich and colorful history that's tied intimately with the history of the North Shore area. The area near the mouth of the Cascade River area was well known and used since the earliest pioneer days on the North Shore. Several commercial fish houses were built on the river, and there was once a small natural harbor where the fishermen could tie up their boats, safe from Lake Superior's crashing waves.

In 1922 Edward Ogilvie purchased the land on which the lodge is located and began developing the site for a resort to be called Cascade Lodge. The lodge first opened its doors to tourists back in the Summer of 1927. At that time there were three log cabins and the main lodge for guests.

Pictured is the original lodge building that stood for at least 12 years on the site of what is now the playground. This building was subsequently torn down in anticipation of the next building on the current site. There is still a bit of a mystery surrounding the fate of the original Lodge. Some accounts say that the building burned, while others say that it was torn down and the rubble burned. If you think you know the answer to this riddle, let us know! Note the small spruce trees in front of the original Lodge building. Those trees still stand today, next to the current playground!

The lodge managed to survive the depression. Then in 1933 the North Shore highway became fully paved making it easier for tourists to make the trip to the lodge. Lodging rates in 1938 were $2 to $3.50 per night.

The current lodge was built in 2 phases. The east end was complete in 1939 with the west end being finished in 1957. The new lodge featured steam heat and modern bathrooms. Meals were served in the main lodge until 1956 or 57. The current restaurant building was built in 1946-47 and operated as a coffee shop, bar, gas station and dance hall until the summer of 1956 or 57 when the dining room was moved from the main lodge to the restaurant building (gas pumps can be seen on the left side of the photo).

Starting in 1935 the North Shore was promoted as the "Hay Fever Haven of America". Tourism was primarily a summer business. Then Lutsen ski area opened in 1948. This created winter business that is still thriving today. In 1976 Cascade Lodge developed a cross country trail system and began renting equipment.

Over the years there have been changes and additions with the focus always being on providing a pleasant, friendly , wholesome place in beautiful surroundings. "Sure, we'll do upgrades and updating, but we're about preserving this for people" - Michael O'Phelan, Owner

This 230 page book, Cascade Lodge, The History of a North Shore Landmark by former owner Gene Glader, chronicles the history of the lodge from it’s beginning to the present. It is well documented and includes 75 black & white photos and 188 color photos & illustrations.

The retail price of the book is $15.95. It can be purchased at the lodge, at many gift shops on the North Shore, or at Barnes & Noble Bookstores and at Waldenbooks' stores.

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