Glengarry, The First Resort on Leech Lake

Photo courtesy of the city of Walker, MN

There were few accommodations available at Walker, Minnesota in 1896 when white travelers began to arrive on its first railroad. Camping was the main option for visitors, and a community of tents dotted a peninsula on the Leech Lake shoreline. Walker was still a small settlement composed of a rough and tumble mix of white lumberjacks, fur traders, and trappers.

The first significant hotel, the Pamida, was built by Patrick H. McGarry in 1897. The following year, a conflict occurred at Leech Lake between U. S. Army soldiers and the Ojibwe from the nearby Leech Lake Reservation. Six soldiers were killed in the Battle of Sugar Point. It is considered the last official battle of the Indian Wars. Walker became known as “the last frontier” and curious tourists arrived by train to visit the site.

Walker needed another hotel to handle a surge of visitors, hunters, and fishermen. McGarry capitalized on the event and in 1901 opened his second hotel, with cabins, on the peninsula that once contained campsites. He named it “Glengarry.” The hotel and cabins, were a success and hosted many dignitaries. It is considered the first resort on Leech Lake, and was the top resort on the lake until 1922 when Chase on the Lake was built.

Glengarry, Walker, MN, Leech Lake, ca 1912

A photo postcard mailed in 1912 to Oak Park, Illinois describes Glengarry and reflects a new, more refined image of Walker: “Dear Adelaide—I am having a fine time. There is a building next to us called the grand opera house . . . at present they are having moving pictures.” (click on image to the right to enlarge)

After the Glengarry closed it was abandoned and eventually succumbed to decay. It gradually disappeared, blending into the natural surroundings. In 2009, after 100 years under one family’s ownership, the 33 acre estate was subdivided into large lots. Only stone remnants of steps and chimneys remain to remind us of this historic era.

Please see more photos, history, and brochures of the Glengarry Hotel that were graciously donated to this website by Melanie Rice of Rice Creative Services, LLC in Walker. Click here to view them, or find them under “Shared Photos” tab, then select the “Leech Lake collection #2,” or use the “Search” tab on this website. More information about Glengarry can also be found in my book, The Early Resorts of Minnesota.

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2 Responses to Glengarry, The First Resort on Leech Lake

  1. Renae Stott says:

    I just learned that the resort was owned in the 1940’s by Dick Ramon but it was actually on Big Wolf Lake and called Big Wolf Resort. Would love any information on this. It changed hands a few times and is now developed with houses, but any photos or info of the old resort would be appreciated! Also, I will purchase the book if it contains anything about this resort, just not sure if it does. Thanks!

  2. Renae Stott says:

    Hi, I am trying to find information on a resort by Wolf or Little Wolf Lake (may have been a different name back then) and Cass Lake. My grandmother was a caretaker in the winter months during the early 1940’s when the owners went to Florida for the winter. This is an excerpt from one of my aunts who is still alive today and lived on a farm out there near my dad and grandmother….

    “Aunt Lena (King) care took Ramons Resort down the road inn winters while their family went to Florida. Ramons had dog Saint Bernard named Captain Berry. Very gentle. Wolf Lake was fairly close where we had to take car to go swimming.Mudhole lake.”

    My grandfather was Alfred Stott and my grandmother was Lenna (King) Stott. I am mostly interested in if there is anything about “Ramons Resort” and the history. Do you remember if your book contains any of this information? If so, I will order it.

    Thanks so much,
    Renae Stott

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