Ludlow's Lesson #1: The Early Days

Ludlow's Island Resort

Jan 28, 2021
Sep 22, 2022
min read

From the beginning...lessons from Ludlow's!

As though you weren't already doing enough home-schooling, we've decided to introduce our own class...Ludlow's Lessons! We know everyone loves reading through the history in our cabin books, so we thought we'd dive a little more in-depth. Paul's grandfather, Hod, the founder of the resort, made cassette tapes (please explain these to your children) of his life, so you will be getting first-hand knowledge of the trials and tribulations of starting a resort in the 1930s!

The class will be held at exactly 9ish on Saturay mornings. Attendance is not mandatory, but encouraged. There is no dress code, nor will adult beverages be frowned upon (other than by members of your own family). This is a strictly distance learning class, other than Kirby and Marina, who are in the Ludlow's Pod.

Although Native Americans and fur traders had been on Vermilion since the 1600s, it wasn't until the late 1800s that a large influx of people came to the area. A gold rush, which didn't "pan" out, started in the 1860s and was followed by very successful iron ore mining in the 1880s. The mining boom led to logging on the lake to accommodate the miners. When a lumber camp was converted to a hunting camp (what is now Vermilion Dam Lodge), the Lake Vermilion resorts era was born.

Hod Ludlow's parents, Joseph and Bess, honeymooned at Goodwill's Resort, now Muskego Resort, in the early 1900s. They fell in love with the area, and eventually had Isaac Goodwill (proprietor of the resort) build them a cabin on the south shore.

As a family, they made many trips to Lake Vermilion in their Model T sedan. Because of the nature of the road and vehicles of the time, if bearings burned out or they had other troubles, their trip to Lake Vermilion would often take several days. In his journals, Hod recalled camping in fields or woods and dinners of boiled potatoes.

The family happened to be heading to the lake immediately following the fire of 1918 in Cloquet; Hod's main recollection of the largest natural disaster in MN history was that it forced the family to detour back to Duluth and then through Two Harbors and Ely to get to Tower!

For much more on the gold rush and subsequent iron ore mining visit, and for an in-depth look at the Cloquet fire stop at the Fire of 1918 Museum in Moose Lake.