The History of the Edwards Family on Ten Mile Lake

From an interview August 5, 2010 by Karin Arsan with Bruce and Joanne Edwards.

Tom and Jo Edwards and their 6 year old son Bruce first arrived at 10 Mile in a blizzard in April 1961. They’d come to see one of the Woock’s cabins. Tom had heard about 10 Mile from Larry Bryngelson and Elgin Stallard who had called on Tom, then the director of elementary education in Owatonna. Elgin was a school book salesman and Larry sold school supplies. Elgin and Larry both had cabins on 10 Mile not far from the Woock’s cabins and Elgin’s son married Al Woock’s daughter, Norma. Tom asked if they knew any place he could rent for a month in the summer. Of course, they both recommended Woock’s cabins.

Jo says, “We started out from Owatonna and it was snowing so we decided we’d stop and stay in Elk River. Well we got up the next day and it was blizzarding. But we kept going. Stopped in Hackensack. Called Sally and Al. And they said, ‘We can’t believe you drove up here. But we’ll meet you at the cabin.’ So they told us how to get to the store. Well the snow was up above my knees, to walk down to the cabins. So Tom and Al went first ‘cause they had long legs. And we followed in their footsteps. We got there and Bruce said, ‘Well, what is there to do here?’ I said, ‘Well that’s a lake.’”

In spite of their chilly beginning, they agreed to rent cabin number 5 for a month that summer for $50 a week!! So from the summer of 1961 until the present the Edwards have been on 10 Mile almost every summer. The first summer Bruce was 6, Brian was only 2 and Nancy 1.

Tom loved to play tennis and found that Dick Garbisch’s tennis court was almost next door and Tom was a welcome addition to the tennis group. They would wait on the court for him to arrive from Owatonna and he would immediately join them as soon as he drove in. Jo got to unpack the 3 kids, groceries, and gear. Dick’s tennis court was also important to Bruce who learned to play tennis there and played serious tennis all the way through HS and college. Bruce says, “ It was great for me…they would let me play as a young 13-14 year-old guy and didn’t think anything of it; ‘Yuh, come on and play.’ And you’d sit and wait your turn on the bench like everybody else. The fun thing about it…the personalities that showed up there were so diverse yet completely accommodated …Nobody was left out.”  Bruce also fondly remembers playing with Tom Belton on Dick’s court. “My dad would call me (in Owatonna) and say Tom Belton’s going to be here and I’d take time off work so I could come up and play with him.” That no doubt helped Bruce become the high school doubles champion.

Edwards had many friends at Woock’s and also had friends in Owatonna who started coming up to Woock’s because of Tom and Jo, including Fred Austin and his family and also Tom McCoy and family. The kids also used to play with the Gainey and Bliska children. Bruce said that he occasionally played with Allan Campbell and his friend, Grant Minor, but they were older and he didn’t see a lot of them. Brian had Allan Richardson in Woock’s cabin number 3 and also saw Randy Robinson whose family lived down towards Hillaway and next to Sam Fahr. Sam was a regular on the Garbisch tennis court and Eddie Robinson would also come down some times.

Edwards stayed at Woock’s through the summer of 1975. In about 1970 they moved to number 6 which had been a little upgraded for Bob and Catherine Crabb, who in 1970 moved to Pleasant Lake. Al and Sally wanted to sell the resort and Tom and a few other men agreed to take a lease for the summer and take care of sub-leases and cleaning etc. Jo and the children spent the entire summer in cabin number 6 and Tom came up on the weekends. They did this for a few years but eventually in 1975 the cabins were put up for sale. This was the same year that Tom had surgery for a brain tumor and later died in 1976.

In 1980 Jo bought the cabin of Beth (Carlson) Zorn Nelson. This cabin had belonged to Beth’s parents who bought the land in 1920 from Bostroms. Jo bought her cabin the same day Molly Bliska bought the cabin just a few doors down that had belonged to the Antonisons. Jo says this was a good day for Don Jensen as he was the real estate agent at that time. Jo owned this cabin until 1997. By that time she had retired and moved to Arizona.

In about 1980 Jo’s daughter Nancy stayed in this cabin through the winter. It was not easy as there was no running water and not much heat. Nancy would haul water from the lake and go to Molly Bliska’s to shower. That winter she met Tony Doughty who with his wife Pat owned Lundrigan’s in Walker. She started working for them. After that Nancy never left the area. She married Jerry Freeman (of Freeman’s Well Drilling) and bought Lundrigan’s and is still here although now they live on Portage Lake just across the road from 10 Mile. Now Nancy has 5 stores: Lundrigan’s in Walker, Crosslake, Nisswa, and Dorset (just opened in 2010) and the General Store in Walker.

Nancy helped raise Jerry’s 2 sons, Tony and Chad, from the time they were 9 and 11. They are both married now and Tony and his wife, Susan, have darling little twins, Elayna and Emilie who are 18 months now. Last year they were frequently in Lundrigan’s as Grandma Nancy was providing day care.

Brian played tennis, was the family fisherman, and sailor. He raced their C class sailboat on Sundays with a crew of Nancy and friends from the beach…all ending up at Garbisch’s for lemonade and cookies. He has many fond memories of “The Lake” including riding his bike to the dump at dawn to shoot crows and hopefully see a bear!!  Brian now spends as much time as possible on Ten Mile hunting and snowmobiling in the fall and winter.

 Bruce married Susan in 1981 and they had 3 children…Emily b.1985, Kelsey b. 1987, and Blake b.1990. They were living in Ohio and didn’t get up to 10 Mile much at that time although he remembers the Zorn cabin as being a rather rustic and fun cabin. Jo said, “I did love that cabin and I remember the realtor said that when she was on her way home at night if it was sunset time she would stop just off the road, because you could see through that cabin, because it was all windows in back and front. She’d just stop and watch the sunset.”

A few years after Jo sold her cabin, in 2005, her son Bruce bought the one next door that had belonged to Hammonds. Daughter Emily is married to Scott Smith and they stayed here one summer a few years ago and Emily worked for Nancy at Lundrigans and Scott worked for T and C Excavating which is owned by Chad Freeman, Jerry’s son.

Jo spoke of her disappointment at the demise of Arthur’s Restaurant. “When we had company…from out of town it was just a great time to go over in the boat and have dinner. That was special and we had been enjoying that since it was Bromleys Ten Mile Inn.”  Bruce added, “I can’t believe how melancholy people are about that. And how…many people came from the south…Pine River, Backus, Longville, even as far as Brainerd people would come to eat at Arthurs.”  Bruce is one of the group of 10 Milers trying to save the old Arthur spot in hopes of another restaurant there some day.

In 2010 Bruce and Susan bought Dave and Mary Lee Losby’s cabin which is part of Hillaway. It was originally built by Ken and Amy Knopf in 1979. They are doing work there and have the old Hammond cabin up for sale.

Jo still makes it back to 10 Mile regularly from her home in Friendship Village in Bloomington.

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