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'Making Memories' at Itasca State Park

Characters described cruising along the Jefferson Highway in a Model T circa 1927. (Nicole Vik/Enterprise)

"Making Memories" was the theme for Itasca's 9th Annual Autumn Harvest Lantern Lit Hike. Groups of hikers were guided by kerosene lanterns along a path as they walked through the photo album from Itasca State Park's past.

Characters shared their stories from Itasca, helping their photos come to life with skits involving era-appropriate attire and props.

Participants learned about Itasca memories from characters on the Jefferson Highway "cruising" along at 8 miles per hour in a 1927 Model T owned by Gary Johannessohn from the Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers.

Further up the trail they heard from characters at the Douglas Lodge, circa 1952, featuring the meal special of chicken giblets on toast for 80 cents. Once the waitress had taken the diner's order she told her about a tour boat called the Itasca which could take her across Lake Itasca. The waitress also informed the visitor of a golf course, shuffleboard and archery range that was located at Itasca during that time.

A young man along the trail set in 1936 regaled about his experiences at the Itasca Zoo. He explained that the ranger had told him the animals at the zoo such as elk, buffalo and moose had become so rare in other parts of the state that they were rarely seen anymore. He was "so slap happy" at finally getting to see such a "ripsnorter" at the Itasca Zoo that he asked a member of the crowd to snap a photo of him.

A young lady riding along the Lind Saddle Trail on horseback told onlookers she was on her way to the State Park House in 1902 where she would be meeting her friend Mary Gibbs to explore the park.

As it began to rain at the last memory along the trail, a young couple read pages from the Douglas Lodge guest book commemorating romance and performances in Itasca State Park which included pageants held in the 1930s and honeymoons throughout the years. One entry from 1938 read, "we're having a glorious time in spite of the rain."

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