Timeline

1884
D.H. Robbins homesteads near what is now the Mille Lacs Indian Museum site and builds the first frame house on Lake Mille Lacs.
1885
Robbins operates a sawmill milling timber cut from reservation land
1892
Robbins begins farming on 80 acres of clear-cut land.
1900
Robbins operates a trading post out of his residence.
1916
Harry and Jeannette Ayer purchase land from Robbins on Whitefish Lake near Lake Mille Lacs.
1918
Robbins sells his property and buildings to the US government. Ayer applies to the White Earth Indian Agency for a trader’s license and requests to operate the store on the Robbins property.
1920
Ayer begins renting cabins to hunters and visitors, and later buys 63 acres of lakeshore.
1925
The US government forces Ayer to vacate the government-owned buildings and the Robbins store and residence. Ayer begins building a new trading post and store.
1930
The site now contains 24 cabins, an icehouse and fish-cleaning shed, and gas pumps.
1937
The Ayers' resort business is in full swing with cabins and boats, a dining hall, boat docks, boat factory, maple sugar syrup refinery, gas station, trading post, and store.
1939
Ayer sells the boat factory to the US Department of the Interior.
1959
Ayer donates his collection of Indian artifacts — mainly Ojibwe craft and tool items — the buildings, and land to the Minnesota Historical Society.
1960
MNHS opens an exhibit of artifacts to the public.
1964
Ayer works with MNHS to add the "Four Seasons" exhibit room to the museum.
1966
Jeannette and Harry Ayer die.
1969
Four Seasons exhibit opens.
1996
New Mille Lacs Indian Museum opens to the public.