Fire destroys historic Lutsen Lodge along the North Shore

Historic Lutsen Lodge destroyed by fire

LUTSEN, Minn. — The historic Lutsen Lodge along the North Shore, Minnesota's oldest operating resort, has been destroyed by fire.

Cook County officials confirm a fire alarm was reported at the lodge shortly before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. Staff from the lodge reported smoke coming from the floor in the lobby area.

RELATED: Minnesotans feeling the loss of historic Lutsen Lodge: "It's part of our history"

The building was completely engulfed by fire, officials said.

No injuries were reported. No guests were on site at the time of the fire.

An aerial view of the damage from Tuesday afternoon.  WCCO

Fire departments from Lutsen, Tofte, Grand Marais, Maple Hill, Gunflint, Finland, Silver Bay and Grand Portage responded. Tofte first responders and the Cook County Sheriff's Office were also sent to the scene.  

In a Facebook post, the Lutsen Lodge said the building is a total loss. 

"The amazing memories made here are in our hearts as we begin the heavy weighted process to rebuilt (sic) back better," the post said.

The State Fire Marshall is leading the investigation.

Reactions in the lodge's Facebook post comment section have been mostly somber, with many reminiscing about previous stays at the lodge. The resort is a popular spot for weddings and honeymoons.  

Edward Vanegas

The resort's history goes back 139 years when the plot of land was purchased by a Swedish immigrant.

In 2017, WCCO's Amelia Santaniello and Chris Shaffer visited Lutsen, including the resort, as part of the "Goin' to the (Frozen) Lake" series. That same year, the lodge was up for sale

Last summer, another fire destroyed Papa Charlie's, a popular bar at Lutsen Mountains.  

Lutsen is located about 90 minutes northeast of Duluth. 

More history of the Lutsen Lodge

[via the Society of Architectural Historians Archipedia]

In 1885, Swedish immigrant Charles Nelson opened a small fishing camp located around the mouth of the Poplar River. Seven years later, he built a wood-frame house for his family. 

Travelers would seek shelter at the Nelson residence, either sleeping on the second floor of the house or in the hayloft of the barn. The family eventually replaced the house with a hotel to accommodate the increasing number of guests. 

The hotel was named after the 1632 battle of Lützen, fought between Sweden and Austria in Saxony during the Thirty Years War. 

In the 1920s, the hotel added a lobby, dining room and more guest rooms. It was later destroyed by fire in 1948. 

The Lutsen Lodge was built in 1949, but burned down two years later. The most current version of the lodge was a replica built in 1952. 

A picture of Lutsen Resort from 2017.  WCCO

Descendants of the Nelson family operated the resort until they sold it in 1988. 

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