Cabin Country: A newspaperman's legacy

  • Updated: June 26, 2014 - 3:27 PM

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Hawthorne family cabin, shown here in a photo by Tony Jones’ wife, Courtney Perry.

In 1964, my grandfather, Bower Hawthorne, was a rising newsman and editor at the Star and Tribune, a civic leader in Edina and the father of four girls in high school and college. Having taken his family on many vacations to a camp on Clearwater Lake in Crow Wing County, he befriended the legendary Brainerd businessman and mayor Tom O’Brien. Tom called Bower with a tip that a parcel of land was for sale on the next lake in the Nokasippi River chain. Bower bought just over 160 acres on Tom’s advice — a combination of woodland, slough and lakeshore on Eagle Lake.

Bower and his wife, Jane, were socialites in the Twin Cities, but they roughed it in the woods of Cuyuna country. They built one small cabin at first, then added a guesthouse and a garage with a bunkhouse above it. Lake water was pumped up to the cabins. A small fishing boat doubled as a ski boat for their daughters and new sons-in-law.

In 1973, an F3 tornado blew right through the property. The Brainerd Dispatch reported that it sounded “like 40 freight trains.” The garage collapsed on Bower and Jane and, to Bower’s great sadness, hundreds of white pine trees were uprooted. In the years after the tornado, he’d tell us that he almost sold the place over his grief at the loss of the pines. But he didn’t sell. He rebuilt.

Since Bower and Jane died in the 1980s, two of their daughters and spouses have improved the lake place significantly, digging a well, modernizing the kitchen and adding a new garage. Last winter, they acquired more adjacent forest land, bringing the total property to over 250 acres.

On June 20-22, three generations of Bower and Jane’s descendants will convene to celebrate the cabin’s 50th anniversary. In spite of the improvements, we will still stand on wood floors hand-pegged by Bower himself, and gather around a grand fireplace with field stones he split himself. And a new group (the fourth generation) from toddlers to teenagers will enjoy the cabin.


Tell us about your favorite hideout, be it a lakeside lodge or a primitive fire pit. E-mail your story along with photos to or submit online at Don’t forget your name, city of residence and the general vicinity of your cabin or campsite.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.


Atlanta - LP: J. Johnson 0 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Giles 1
NY Mets - LP: J. deGrom 1 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 6
Boston - WP: A. Ogando 7 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: B. Matusz 5
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 13 FINAL
Detroit - LP: S. Greene 1
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Motte 7 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: B. Badenhop 3
Washington - LP: T. Roark 2 FINAL
Miami - WP: B. Morris 3
Toronto - LP: R. Dickey 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Dominguez 12
St. Louis - WP: C. Martinez 3 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Garza 0
Kansas City 2 Suspended
Chicago WSox 2
San Francisco - LP: C. Heston 4 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 6
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: J. Collmenter 1
Houston - WP: L. Gregerson 5 FINAL
Oakland - LP: E. O`Flaherty 4
Texas - LP: K. Kela 2 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: G. Richards 3
Los Angeles - WP: Z. Greinke 3 FINAL
San Diego - LP: A. Cashner 0
Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 0 FINAL
Seattle - WP: F. Hernandez 2
Houston 130 FINAL
Dallas 128
Toronto 99 FINAL
Washington 106
LA Clippers 73 FINAL
San Antonio 100
Ottawa 5 FINAL
Montreal 1
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL(OT)
NY Rangers 2
Minnesota 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
New York City 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
FC Dallas 1 FINAL
Colorado 1
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question