OUR INTRODUCTION TO TEN MILE LAKE began with the phone call from old neighbors of St. Louis Park days. "Where are you two? We're all at Ten Mile Lake at a resort which our friends, Joe and Phyllis Bock, just bought. Everyone here is from Iowa. The fishing is great. The beach is perfect. You'll love it!" Right they were! Earl and I and our four children had just returned to Des Moines exhausted from a 4 week camping trip to California. We were ready for a Minnesota cabin. We had heard praises of Ten Mile Lake from Tom Cox's father, Harold Cox, when we lived in the Twin Cities in the 1950's. It was time to see for ourselves. We made our reservation for August 1967 and the rest is history.
IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS we returned several limes a year at different seasons to Bock's Blue Haven on the north shore of Ten Mile Lake. One Christmas a friend gave us a Better Homes and Gardens book entitled Fish and Fishing by Maynard Reese, an award winning wildlife artist-author from Des Moines (Meredith Printing, 1963). This authoritative hook on fresh water angling contained many photographs. Our youngest son was looking at it one day and declared, "There's a picture of our boat and the resort in this book." And there it was: the familiar patio, the blue cabins, and the boat that went with our favorite cabin! In 1972 the Bock's decided to sell four of the cabins. We were happy to purchase our favorite cabin on October 2, 1972. It was a dream come true!
A SEARCH OF OUR ABSTRACT SHOWS Thomas B. Walker acquired the large tract of land which included our property in 1887 from the US Govt. Another familiar name, Healey C. Akeley, appears on the Abstract as his co-partner. The abstract refers to legal struggles of their heirs, a foreclosure, and a sale in 1937 to Andrew and Bessie Christie who farmed the land and cut ice from the lake for sale in the summer; they packed it in straw and stored it underground. Spencer and Alvina Kubo purchased the farm from the Christies in 1947. In 1953 the beach portion was sold to Frederic and Macie Zweifel who developed a small family resort on the beautiful sand beach. After the death of Fred, Macie kept one large lot and sold the resort to Joe and Phyllis Bock in 1966. They called their resort Bock's Blue Haven, which they operated until they retired in October of 1972 when they subdivided it into separate properties.
OURS WAS THE NEWEST of the four cabins, but we are not sure what year it was built. We think it was early in the 1960s. A man appeared at our door one day about 20 years ago and asked if the Zweifels had built our cabin. He and his wife had spent their honeymoon here the year it was built. Unfortunately I didn't write down what year that was.
WE PROBABLY HAD MORE BUILDING PERMITS than anyone on the North Shore because we undertook a project a year for many years. First we added a fireplace surrounded by tiles depicting many of the birds seen here. Next came a utility room for storage. A need for still more storage found us building a garage designed by a friend, Des Moines architect Bill Meehan. Itís a split level design with a sleeping loft and 1/2 bath for family and guests. Ed Ytzen built the garage and also did some of our remodeling. He commented on Fred Zweifel's extensive use of screws in the construction. Macie once told me she and Fred had planned to live in this solidly built cabin.
AS OUR RETIREMENT APPROACHED IN 1980, we became convinced we wanted to retire to Ten Mile despite Des Moines associates who couldn't believe anyone would move north to retire. Both bedrooms were too small, so we added a large addition to one bedroom creating a larger bedroom and a walk-through den and eventually a second bath. The smallest project was a fish cleaning spot which houses an old farm sink from an Iowa farm house. Our largest project was adding a living room with a Hearthstone wood stove. Joe Major helped Earl with the finishing work on that project. The dining room fireplace was later converted to gas and dual fuel electric heat was added to each room. With added insulation, the cabin became a year-round house.
EARLY PHOTOS SHOW A SMALL Little Blue Cabin in a field of tall grass with tiny pine trees we had planted soon after buying the place. The year we bought it, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. That day, when bagging the tall grass we had cut, I lost my diamond ring. We retrieved the bags of grass from the Hackensack dump and looked for it in vain. Earl borrowed a metal detector from Cub Stromquist to try to find it. Suddenly the metal detector started clicking madly. He stopped and dug down and hit metal. It was not my ring but a large metal box with a lid which had been flattened. Certain he had found "buried treasure", Earl pried it open. It was filled with dried horse manure! That was how we discovered the probable location of Christie's barn. My ring was never found.
TEN MILE LAKE IS A WONDERFUL PLACE for retirement. We soon got very involved in wild ricing, tapping maple trees and making syrup, cross-country skiing, the activities of the Union Congregational Church in Hackensack, and the Countryside Co-op which had been started by fellow Ten Miler, George Hoppe. Earl served as Manager and Treasurer for about 20 years. Some people still call him "Mr. Co-op" or the "Earl of Cribbage," titles to which he readily responds with a laugh. (As I write this, he just got his first "29" hand - the highest possible in cribbage. Perhaps he'll now want to be called the "King of Cribbage"!)
THE NORTH TEN MILE SANITARY SEWER PROJECT and the current changes to Hwy 50 have been signs of inevitable changes happening in the area. But Ten Mile Lake remains a very special place for us, our children and our grandchildren.
THE HOUSE AND GARAGE have been painted brown for many years. The neighborhood has seen vast changes. The tiny pines we planted have grown to mature trees. We, too, have aged. Viewing magnificent sunsets from our floor-to-ceiling windows, we truly feel we have been blessed to live On Golden Pond.
 In a note in the fall of 2005, Natalie wrote: ďI see I said in the story that we first came in 1967, but I donít think that is right. Iím pretty sure we went to Chicago to pick up David (who was a junior in high school and had been attending a summer program at the U. of Chicago) and then went on to Door County, Wisconsin for our vacation in 1967.Ē