The Shack once stood on 120 acres of prime hunting land. My brother, John, bought the acreage west of little Markville, Minn., in the late 1950s. A portion of the building (shown at left in the photo) was a ranger station building that John bought at an auction. One weekend, John and I cut it in half lengthwise and spread it out to about 14 feet in width, filling in the middle section to create a kitchen and bunk area.

A taller structure (shown at right, with all the windows) was erected a few years later using salvaged lumber and windows. It became the living-dining room and also allowed room for two pullout sofas. The structure had a balcony over half the room and became a large sleeping area for the children. We built a barrel stove to heat it and keep it cozy for the hunting season. The floors were carpeted with remnants.

Rain water was collected in a barrel next to the four windows for washings. We had no electricity, but we got by with a gas stove and gas refrigerator.

Our total investment was all labor except for two 2-by-6s for wall ties and four joists for floor supports in the loft.

For more than 40 years, we spent many happy weekends in the Shack, summer and fall, with swimming, fishing and hunting.

We were met with sudden sadness one fall day, finding the place in ashes. Someone had torched the building, burning it to the ground. We suspected some local teenagers, but no proof was ever found. Many happy memories are intact.

Harold O. Hansen, Woodbury