In the Fall of 1986 we were really restless, although we liked living “in town” we didn’t feel it was the best place to raise teenagers. We lived in Moorhead back then and Far Guy worked in Fargo for the North Dakota Air National Guard and was often gone TDY (Temporary Duty). Our house was small a two bedroom one bath with a huge yard.
We began to look at properties outside of town…rural properties. The girls were 11 and 14. Trica wanted a horse so country life would be a plus for her, Jennifer just wanted to live in town forever and go to the local 7-11/Stop n Go Store every day.
One day we got a phone call with an interesting offer. Would we be interested in buying an old resort that had been struck by a tornado and was in total disrepair? My parents owned a resort on the same lake and were not interested. Oh my, it sounded good and the price was right. We knew the people from Indiana that had a mechanics lien on the property…they just wanted their original loan amount back…if we didn’t want the resort they wouldn’t pursue the Quit Claim process. After a few minutes of discussion we said “yes.”
One day in the summer of 1987 we sat in the Lawyer’s Office to finalize the papers for the sale. The Attorney asked Koons and Elsie if they were sure that they wanted to sell the property that they had acquired the day before for the same amount that they had tied up in it ….I guess it seemed too good to be true to the lawyer. And possibly a little strange as our house had not sold yet so the bulk of the down payment was in the form of an IOU when the house sold. The lawyer asked again if they were sure, he said “Their home may never sell.” Koons and Elsie said “Well it is a nice home, sooner or later someone will buy it.”
The house sold two months later. We needed those two months to do repairs.
The first day we went to the resort, Jennifer was stung by a couple of wasps. We had to break into one of the cottages through a window so we would have a place to clean up and sleep overnight. Water had to be carried in and there were several outhouses.
The first morning we were there Trica came out of the cottage and asked “Where is this out house?” we pointed the way. She walked down the road to the outhouse opened the door and peered inside…she closed the door and walked back to the cottage to wake up her little sister to accompany her.
July 27 1987 The house on the right…painted three different colors of green…the Fish Cleaning House is straight ahead. There were trees from the tornado laying all over the place.
We had two Shetland Sheepdogs “Shelties” back then Misty and Moses. Misty is down by the end of that log and Moses is running to meet her. They would discover that fish washed up on shore were wonderful to roll in. In this photo is a cottage on the left, the old shower house/bath house and two outhouses.
It was a few days until we could have the power company come out and get us some electricity.
Far Guy and his Dad having a lunch break. The resort gave Marvin something to do in his retirement, there was always something that needed fixing or a granddaughter that needed a ride home after a school activity.
Getting water was the worst…the resort sat vacant for a number of years. Mice had fallen in the well and had to be fished out…not a job for the weak stomached. Once the sand point was pulled up, replaced and the mice removed, the well was sanitized and tested so that we knew the water was drinkable.
Once we had water the next step was getting rid of sewage…the resort had a lift station that lifted the sewage to a drain field…my other baby brother and Far Guy took on that crappy job.
Having electricity, water and sewer were a big start to making the place livable. My Mother told us that the house was so bad it should be bulldozed down…yet we managed to live there for nine years. Lots of elbow grease and some paint made a big difference.
Far Guy would commute 180 miles round trip for nine years. He would go through two cars. The girls would adjust to country/lake living…although the adjustments are never easy when you move to a new house and a new school. The resort would not officially open until the summer of 1988.