This was a busy spot in the road back in the 1920’s - 1930’s. Believe it or not this was the only way to get from Park Rapids to Detroit Lakes. It was still called Highway 34.
Here is a Road Map from 1924-1925. In 1924-25 Detroit Lakes was known as Detroit. From early history of Detroit Lakes: As a result of continuous postal mix-ups between Detroit, Minnesota and the better-known Detroit, Michigan, a special election was held on September 7, 1926 to change the city's name to Detroit Lakes. This befitting title has remained ever since.
As you can imagine every little berg along the way got some business.
Today we are concerned with that third from the left circle…the one that was named Shell Lake…I didn’t know it was called that. We used to call it Four Corners…not to be confused with the Four Corners between Height of Land and Detroit Lakes.
On the North side of the corners were Halvorsons and
Tufield George Latondre (Letonde). Letondre's was a Dance Hall and Beer Joint that also sold gasoline. Halvorsons had groceries, sandwiches, beer and pop and gasoline. On the South East corner was Grant Old’s he had tobacco, pop and gasoline.
In the 1940’s the new Highway 34 would be built straight from Osage to Detroit Lakes. The corners would see less and less people going through.
This is the Halvorson’s place of business. I have known Irene (Halvorson) Mack practically forever, she let me scan this photo of the old store a few years ago.
In the first photo you will notice that there is a clump of Lilac bushes.
Irene had many brothers and sisters. For the past few years the flowers have been accumulating on the North East side of the corner. This spring a signpost would go up.
I am not certain who else is buried there…or if anyone is. Helen was a Native American and she married Walter who must have been a Norwegian. Walter was Irene’s little brother. Helen and Walter used to plant a garden and many flowers they used to stop by the greenhouse on their way back from town.
I have heard a few wild stories about the goings on at the corners on weekends…especially during prohibition. I have heard of a dancehall gal called Trixie and of someone driving in a snowstorm…all the while he was in the ditch and his wheels were spinning…someone opened the car door and asked him if he needed help getting out of the ditch. He said “That scared the crap out of me.” I am certain there are many more stories…but most of those storytellers have passed on.