On the corner of what is now Highway 84 and County 1 once stood six small, neat, overnight cabins and a white gas station with brown trim.

A rustic gate over the entry stated these were the Brook Side Cabins, the first overnight cabins built between Brainerd and Bemidji in the early 1930s.

There was also a two-bedroom housekeeping cabin for families. Electric lights but no inside bathrooms. You had to rough it.

There was a log building that was a kitchen fully furnished with dishes, utensils, pots and pans for guests to use to cook meals. Dad even had cane poles and bait if they wanted to go down to the dam and catch their evening meal.

Then came World War II, but despite gas rationing, people still needed a place to sleep when traveling. For a dollar a night you had a comfortable bed to sleep in. At the end of the war, Dad and Mom decided to tear down the old gas station and in its place is the block building that still stands there today.

It became a gas station and convenience store, and Dad was known for his generous ice cream cones.

The housekeeping cabin became our home with an addition on the west end, but still no indoor bathroom. The house that stands there today boarded up was built around the original cabin and over the years has had other additions.

Soon all those buildings will disappear when the Minnesota Department of Transportation creates much needed improvements with the highway across the dam. To think Highway 371 then came around our corner, the Greyhound bus stopped to pick up a passenger, and in the summertime the National Guard held up traffic as they moved slowly by.

Now it's just ancient history long forgotten.

Dolores Zaske,

Pine River