How did the family cabin start? With newlyweds who moved to Minnesota in 1951 for a job with General Mills.

By 1963, my parents, Al and Ginny, had five preteen children and wondered how to keep the family together. “A lakeside cabin” — that was their thought, and a search began. They found a suitable lot on Rock Lake in Wright County within one hour’s drive of St. Louis Park. The first-year amenities included a tent that housed a portable potty, and an open-sided, orange-and-blue tent that we called a shader.

Next came a heavy wooden outboard boat, so a pier was built. The swimming was great fun. The second year, local contractors were used to build a cabin shell with well water, plumbing and electricity. Al completed building the interior over the next 10 years, while Ginny designed, furnished and made everything else inside to make it a cozy, inviting retreat.

We children grew up swimming, water skiing and fishing, and we got to take turns inviting guests. Also grandparents and cousins came and the extended family gathered there annually. The children married, and the 13 grandchildren also grew up to enjoy times at the cabin. After 40 years the cabin had seriously deteriorated and required major reconstruction. Older, Ginny and Al could not keep up the maintenance. Most of the children and their families were too far away to help. It made sense, then, when one of the families remaining in Minnesota took over the property. The original cabin was donated to the Maple Lake Fire Department for a training exercise, and a new cabin was built on the old site for new generations to make memories and bring together the family.


Patty Milun, Mendota Heights (with her father, Albert Milun, Golden Valley)