This story was collected as part of a collaborative effort to record the state of American lakes, rivers, and waterways as well an attempt to uncover what water means to Americans. Listen to other stories recorded for the Be Here: Main Street project, a collaboration with the MuseWeb Foundation to record stories from rural America.
"Hi, my name is Beth Kaldahl Schupp, and I am living in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota right now. I grew up on a resort called Fair Hills Resort. It was purchased in 1926 by my great-grandfather and my great-great-grandfather, Ed and Chester Kaldahl, who bought it from a bank when it had gone belly up. They bought it, and moved up to Detroit Lakes from Glenwood, Minnesota, where they also owned another resort. So resorting is kind of in the family's genes. I was raised at the resort. I was born in the late '50s, and didn't know any other life other than having my life be all about all the guests that would come to Fair Hills every summer, for years and years. I met my husband there. He's siting here with me, his name is Dan. Hello, Dan."
Beth K.S.: "His family vacationed, starting when I was six years old and Dan was eight years old. This is a very common thing that happens at Fair Hills. There are a lot of love matches that happen in a wonderful setting, where kids gets to know each other and vacation together, and have a lot of fun together. Some of our greatest memories having to do with water are going water skiing together out on the lake, and pushing each other off the dock. I don't think we've ever gone fishing together, but maybe some day we will. The lake has been an integral part of the resort, of course. In the early days, when it first began, the only thing really to do was go fishing or go swimming, or go on some of the fun water toys that they had built and put into the lake. There was an old slide that they had going, and it was a long slide, before there were too many regulations on how safe they had to be.
We talked about how there were no motors at the time when the resort was started. So people would come up, they'd escape the heat and the humidity, and then would go out and go fishing, go swimming, play in the sand. That was probably the only things that really happened with the water in those days. Since then, an important part of people's experience when they come to the resort is they get to go have free water ski lessons. They have free sailing lessons, they have free kayaking lessons. So there's a lot of people that are playing on the water now, and people are having a lot of fun, enjoying the water. We also have a couple of golf courses. One of them gets watered by the water in the lake. Then of course our other golf course needs water. I think they get watered from wells, don't they?"
Dan: "Mm-hmm" (affirmative).
Beth K.S.: "Over on the other side, Wildflower Golf Course, which was built in 1993. I think the greatest thing that being at a resort can offer is the families that have come to our resort, and all the resorts in Minnesota, have the same story. Families come year after year. Their families grow and change, and babies are added, and siblings are added. Pretty soon, families have been there for years and years, and they all have fabulous memories. They all learned how to water ski at your resort, or they all learned how to swim at your resort. They just had great times playing water volleyball in the pool. "Do you remember when we used to do that? Oh, that was so fun."
The great thing at Fair Hills, for instance, the families can come from all over the United States. They probably, originally came from Minnesota or Iowa, and they brought their kids, and they brought their extended family. Now some of the kids live in Europe, and some of the kids live in LA, and some live in Texas, and Florida, and all over the place. People now gather, they say this is their Christmas, because they've been coming for so many years. The memories that they have built around the water, and around the resort, and around the great times they've spent as a family, is what's just so amazing to be at a resort in Minnesota."
Asset ID #3885