History of Lake of the Woods County

Community Developments

Mainstreet Williams, MN 1920'sThe village of Williams was incorporated in 1923. Many of the other small towns along the railroad and in the outlying county areas diminished in size as the years progressed.




Norris CampA government program to relocate settlers in the southern half of the county from lands that were considered marginal for farming began in 1935. Faunce, Bankton, Hiwood, Norris and neighboring communities soon lost nearly all their families and their existence ended. A CCC camp was established at Norris and other New Deal work agencies were active in the vicinity planting trees, building fire trails and re-establishing wildlife habitat.


Baudette1957 Air BaseThe villages of Spooner and Baudette combined in 1954. An Air Force base constructed southwest of town in 1957 brought an economic and social boost to the area for the next several decades. The county also found a niche in growing seed potatoes during this period. Logging, farming and resort industry continued to add diversity to the local economy. In the 1970s and 1980s, as many of these industries waned, the tourism industry continued to expand. New on the scene in the 1990s were several companies, Bosch and AET, establishing vehicle testing sites. The area’s long and cold winters were well suited to the needs of the businesses. 

treeThe attractions of Lake of the Woods County are much as they were when the pioneers came to settle. Fishing, hunting, forests, water, clean air and spaces to live and play in are once again drawing people to the area. Something of that pioneer spirit which enabled people to overcome the hardships of a wilderness survives in a population that is determined to make Lake of the Woods County a great place to live.

sunset over Lake of the Woods

This picture courtesy of Randall's Resort.



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