In January 1953, after seeing an advertisement in the Sunday Tribune, I made an appointment with Ruttger Real Estate to see some property on Clear Lake near Pequot Lakes.
We walked 2 miles in on snowshoes to look at the acreage. I fell several times — snowshoes dug in, and my hands up to the wrists in snow. It was a real effort to get up on the snowshoes. But, after looking at the land, I bought 7 acres.
Later in January, my dad and I cut down some trees that we sawed into 2-by-4s and boards that we would use to build the cabin.
We had no electricity for six years, had to stop at an icehouse to supply the icebox, and buy kerosene for the lamps and lime for the toilet.
We built a boat house down at the lakeshore in 1969. We dug out a 10-by-20-foot hole in the bank for the lower part of the boathouse.
More space was needed because of our growing family, so we added to the original cabin in 1974.
In 2007, we built a large garage to accommodate an increasing number of adult toys. We also added sleeping space above the garage.
I have done all of the building myself, with help from family. Over the years, the work has included a brick fireplace inside and outside and a 4-by-4-by-16-foot pit in which I drove a sandpoint for water. There has always been some new project and some fishing in between over these 62 years.
We have hosted hundreds of friends, including Young Life groups, church youth groups, a high school football team, and six generations of the Werre family.
But with all that said, the cabin is so much more.
It’s helping my children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to learn to ski and fish. It’s tree houses, water slides, walks in the woods and sunsets. It was my mother telling bedtime stories to my children on a stormy summer night. It’s a place where all can come to relax and go home refreshed. In short, the cabin is love.
Joseph Werre jr., Rochester