History of Lake of the Woods County

The Fire of 1910

The Fire of 1910On October 7, 1910, a disaster struck which threatened to end the Lake of the Woods lumbering industry while it was still in its infancy. A forest fire raged out of control across the county, leveling everything in its path. By the end of the day the villages of Cedar Spur, Graceton, Pitt, Baudette and Spooner lay in ruins. Four hundred thousand acres were blackened. Homesteads across the county were destroyed and 43 lives were lost.

The aftermath of the fire was bleak. In the smoke-laden days following the fire, a mass grave was opened at Elm Park Cemetery for 27 of the fire victims. The wind-blown streets of the towns were barren except for the piles of rubble from the burned buildings and in the country the land was covered with ashes.

But, the lumber mills had been spared or saved. With these still intact there was some reason for optimism. With the help of the Red Cross and the National Guard, rebuilding began immediately and many homesteaders now turned to the task of land clearing and set their sights on agriculture.

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