The Knopf Family on Ten Mile Lake

From an interview February 27, 2011 with Amy Knopf by Karin Arsan

Amy’s husband, Kenneth Knopf, was a good friend of Dick Garbisch. They were classmates and friends all the way from kindergarten in Austin, MN, through Carleton College and after. During college they were both involved in sports: Dick was a swimmer and Ken played tennis. Amy and Ken visited Dick at Ten Mile for the first time even before they were married, probably in about 1938. They married in 1940 and after that they continued to visit over the years. Amy remembers meeting Jo Edwards on Dick’s tennis court in the 1960s when the Edwards were renting at Woocks.

Ken and Amy finally bought on the lake in 1977 when Bob Crabb asked them to be one of the partners to buy Camp Hillaway. Bob was the brother of Marge Garbisch, Dick’s wife. When Bob arranged to buy the camp he asked 5 couples to go in with him. They each chose land to build on and held some of the camp land in common and sold a few more building lots. The Knopfs built where the old shower house was located and added on to and renovated that and made it into a guest house and then built a main cabin. Al Hardy was the builder and Burton Woock was the plumber. Their neighbor to the west was Gutman. A few years later his cabin was sold to Eric and Mimi Garbisch Carlson.

Although Ken and Amy have 2 sons, Jim b.1942 and Richard b.1945, by the time they bought at the lake their sons were grown and so didn’t grow up coming to 10 Mile and never spent much time here. Jim Knopf is a landscape architect in Boulder, CO, and has written two books about waterwise gardening: The Xeriscape Flower Gardener: A Waterwise Guide For The Rocky Mountain Region, and Waterwise Landscaping With Trees, Shrubs, And Vines: A Xeriscape Guide For The Rocky Mountain Region, California, And The Desert Southwest. Richard Knopf lives in Wisconsin and has a son, Levon, age 20.

Unfortunately, in 1995 Ken died. Amy came up for 2 more summers in their cabin but found it increasingly difficult. She said there was a bear which used to wander the shore. Mimi Garbisch would call and say, the bear just left here and is headed your way. Then Amy would watch for him and keep her little dog inside until he’d moved on. Then she would call the next neighbor, Barbara Black, and warn her that the bear was on his way. She also had bats and one night had one in her bedroom. She went to the kitchen to get a strainer to catch him with but when she got back he had flown out of the room so she closed the door and went to sleep only to wake in the morning to find the bat hanging on the curtain in her bedroom.

Once when she had just arrived at the cabin she put out a bird feeder in back and then walked around to the front to put out some flowers and then went out to the back again and saw the bear walking off down the driveway with the bird feeder she’d just put out.

By the end of her second summer alone she decided to sell and sold to David and Mary Lee Losby, who sold to Bruce and Susan Edwards in 2010.

In the early years of the Hillaway partnership, all the partners had a wonderful social life together with much tennis (the camp had and still has 2 tennis courts) and many dinners together. Many happy memories were made in those years.

I remember a dinner at Ken and Amy’s cabin in the mid-80s with friends involved in Burma: Eddie Robinson who had been with the US foreign service there, our friend the Rev. Paul Clasper, who had lived there for 20 years as a Baptist missionary running the seminary just outside Rangoon at Insein, and his wife Janet, and Knopf’s friend, Betty Danielson, who was a friend to many Burmese and used to travel there often with things to help them. It was a very memorable dinner.

After selling, Amy rented my cabin for a week each summer for a few summers. She liked to come up in June when people weren’t too busy and she could visit and entertain her 10 Mile friends. Many people I’ve met for the first time tell me they know my cabin because they had dinner there with Amy.

Now Amy is living at Friendship Village in Bloomington, MN. Her friends still ask her to come back but it’s been several years now since she’s done so. My father told me that he has begged her to come stay with them but he doesn’t think she will. Many Ten Mile friends miss her sweet presence. I do too.

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