Henry Schoolcraft camped at CWC in 1832?

Below is an e-mail conversation with a neighbor who graciously shared some historic data with us, including a map from 1832 of a Henry Schoolcraft expedition - one of many to determine the origins of the Mississippi River - eventually deciding upon what is now Lake Itasca Park, a 35-minute drive from our resort.

Our neighbor's claim is that the group may have camped just next door to the resort a few cabins down around the point.   Who knows?    The fresh artisan springs next to our lodge (which helps support the northern pike spawning projects each April) may have also been an excellent place to camp with fresh running water available even throughout the winter season.   If you have more knowledge on this subject, we ALWAYS welcome more insight!     🙂   -  Kim, CWC


Sorry about the typo. I have attached a map made by James Allen who apparently was on the 1832 trip to Lake Itasca. You can decide for yourself if it looks like they came across 11th Crow Wing Lake. Mr. Biggins {local of Akeley} told my mother that he believed that the Schoolcraft party camped on the land he later owned at the east end of the lake. My mother went back and read the journals but couldn't find anything to prove his claim, partly because all the names of the lakes have changed over time.
I would like to think it is true.
I hope your winter is going well.
The map delineates the region of present day Minnesota from the western tip of Lake Superior to the Red River.

Feb 4, 2016 at 12:41 PM, Crow Wing Crest <relax@crowwing.com> wrote:

Hello Karl -  Your folks have a cabin on Big Bass lake just a mile down the road from us?  Cool.

I am assuming when you write about the "RWC resort"   you really mean "CWC", right?   Crow Wing Crest Lodge, the one I am currently at right now as I type this?   🙂

It sounds as if your mom might have been an amateur researcher on Itasca State Park.  (Or, at least Schoolcraft.)   I have been having some fun myself lately on trips down to St Paul to do some research at the Minnesota Historical Society on the resort industry's history.  Fascinating stuff.

Am wondering if I could share your e-mail on my Blog or Facebook page?   (Gotta make sure about the 'CWC' thing, though.  Heh.)

If you have another bit of trivia about Itasca State Park, Big Bass Lake, our resort, etc.   feel free to pass along.   I am constantly collecting bits of history for the scrapbook for guests and neighbors to view in lodge.    Got a great historic photo from a neighbor a couple years ago from the 1950s.  Showed a guy in a hand made paddle boat.  The boat was made out of WWII bomber housing pieces or some such.  Very unique.

Anyway -- great to chat and looking forward to continuing the conversation a bit.   🙂    Kim, CWC

Crow Wing Crest Lodge
31159 County 23
Akeley, MN  56433

From: Karl Gehring 
City-State-Zip:  Denver, CO 80203
Comments & Questions:

I came across your website and was delighted with your research into the RWC resort which I know because my parents have a cabin on Big Bass Lake just north of you. Although our family never stayed at the resort I still remember eating dinner one night in the lodge. It was a frozen pizza but a hit with me nevertheless. I suppose that was sometime in the 1970s.

Anyway I thought you might be interested to know that Indian agent Henry Schoolcraft almost certainly paddled through 11th Crow Wing Lake in 1832 while on his expedition to Lake Itasca. Of course he didn't discover the source of the Mississippi River as much as he was led right to it by the Indians. They took an overland route from Leech Lake due west instead of going all the way up north the way the river meanders. 

His journals and maps made after the trip convinced my mother they he probably came through Big Bass, over the hill through what we call the Biggins Farmstead and then down through 11th Crow Wing lake. 

Karl Gehring


1832 Henry Schoolcraft map of lakes/rivers origin of Mississippi River

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