Getaways through the Years
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Getaways through the Years: Historical Overview

Minnesota's north woods scenery and its fabled 10,000 lakes have long beckoned visitors eager to enjoy nature's beauty. In the 1850s, even before most of Minnesota was open for development, easterners took the Grand Tour by steamboat up the Mississippi River to delight in the region's healthful climate.

With Euro-American settlement came entrepreneurs who opened hotels and built lodges to serve the growing number of travelers. Minnesota's lakes soon began attracting streams of summer vacationers. Some lakes, such as Minnetonka and White Bear Lake in the Twin Cities area, were ringed with colonies of summerhouses that eventually became year-round residences. Other lakes around the state were dominated by tourist cabins, motels and resorts.

Minnesota's growing state park system also provided a respite for travelers. In the Depression years of the 1930s, work groups such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed park facilities and landscaped the grounds. The distinctive Rustic Style buildings erected by the workers can be found in 22 state parks.

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