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Lake Bronson State Park
Descriptions of Selected Resources

Minnesota state parks contain a variety of historic properties. These images are representative of the Rustic Style historic resources built in Minnesota state parks.

Click to see larger image of Lake Bronson Dam Lake Bronson Dam
Builder: WPA
Engineer: Division of Drainage & Waters
Date: 1936-37

The Lake Bronson Dam is a massive structure that required between 3,300 and 3,400 cubic yards of concrete. The dam consists of three spillways separated by two dividing piers and flanking north and south abutment walls. A roadway crosses the dam.

The dam required considerable expertise because quicksand over 100' deep was discovered at the site. According to the Park Management Plan, this engineering problem was resolved through a complex design. The design included "a system by which the weight of the dam forced water up and out of the quicksand through 6-inch pipes, thus solidifying the soil base enough to support the weight of the structure. These pipes can be seen today in the spillway wall, and to date have kept the dam from sinking. This structure was given widespread publicity in professional journals as an engineering landmark."

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Click to see larger image of Lake Bronson Water Tower Water Tower
Builder: WPA
Architect: Harold Petersen
Date: 1939

This Water Tower is the only structure of its kind in the state park system that includes an observation platform. The structure is a hexagonal shape approximately 28' in diameter and is constructed with split -face field stone masonry laid random ashlar. The masonry rises 30' to the floor of the observation tower. The stonework is battered up to that point and then corbelled out to support the observation area, which rises 14' to the peak of the hip roof. The partially enclosed platform rests on 12" x 12" projecting beam joists. Wall sections are composed of 2" x 10" vertical planks and 2" x 12" horizontal shiplap siding.

The structure actually consists of both inner and outer walls. The inner wall, constructed of brick, rises the full height of the building and encloses the 5,234 gallon water tank and pump. The outer wall is reinforced concrete faced with split field stone. A stairway winding between the outer and inner walls leads to the observation platform. An entrance porch paved with stone flagging is covered by a gable roof that is supported by three 12" x 12" posts placed on each side of the structure. Lookouts project from the gable, which also features a 12" x 12" horizontal beam. The 7' x 1'4" openings that pierce the masonry wall in the tower's mid-section are covered by wooden grills.

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Click to see larger image of Lake Bronson Office and Garage Office and Garage
Builder: WPA
Architect: National Park Service
Date: 1939

This 42'6" x 26'6" Office and Garage building is constructed entirely of split field stone except for the office wing, which features rough board siding above the sill line, and the west gable, which is in-filled with horizontal siding as well. The garage is covered by a gabled roof while the office is capped with a hipped roof. The building contains a two-stall garage defined by corbelled stone piers and garage doors built with two-ply rough boards. The office wing contains office space and a tool room. 4" x 8" lookouts project from the west gable. Window openings on the principal facade and end walls are 6-over-6-light double-hung sash, while windows on the rear facade are 6-light casements.

The building follows a standard design developed by the Minnesota Central Design Office of the National Park Service. Similar buildings were constructed in four additional parks.

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