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Lake Bronson Water Tower Lake Bronson
State Park

National Register Listing:
October 1989

The Lake Bronson State Park contains twelve WPA/Rustic Style historic resources in a 358-acre historic district that includes Lake Bronson and the Lake Bronson Dam. Architects for the park were from the National Park Service, the Design Office within the Minnesota Division of State Parks, and the Division of Drainage and Waters. A WPA transient camp located on the northwest shore of Lake Bronson constructed these resources.

The park’s historic district includes these resources:

Lake Bronson
Lake Bronson Dam
Water Tower
Stone Curbing
Drinking Fountains
Office and Garage
Picnic Shelter
Latrine
Bath House
Mess Hall

Historical Significance

Lake Bronson State Park is historically significant as a strategic recreation area located in a section of the state that lacks a natural recreational facility. When completed, the park received exceedingly heavy use by the local public as well as by many Canadians.

The park's historic resources are architecturally significant as outstanding examples of Rustic Style split stone construction. Of particular significance are the Water Tower, which is the only structure of its type that incorporates an observation deck, and the Lake Bronson Dam, one of the most notable engineering achievements in the state park system.

The landscape design of Lake Bronson State Park is significant as an exceptional example of National Park Service master planning, which defined and organized the various intensive use areas along both principal shorelines of newly created Lake Bronson.

Park History

Lake Bronson State Park, originally known as Two Rivers State Park, was acquired in 1936 as part of the Red River Valley Water Conservation Program and for its ability to provide recreational facilities. The area around the future park had been plagued by drought during the Depression. Kittson County engineer J.E. Dishington advocated the creation of an artificial reservoir to provide water, alleviate spring flooding, and offer recreational opportunities for the area.

The local communities of Bronson and Hallock first tried unsuccessfully to raise $225,000 for the local share of the $900,000 proposed WPA project to build the dam. They then appealed to the Minnesota State Executive Council for funds. Again they were unsuccessful. Finally in March 1936, Hallock mayor Clifford Bouvette appealed to Governor Floyd B. Olson as well as to Adolph Bremer, a St. Paul banker and Schmidt Brewery owner who was also a friend of President Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt ultimately issued an executive order for the project. The area was officially designated a state park in 1937.

For current information about Lake Bronson State Park, go to the DNR website.