Tag Archives: minnesota

A History of Lake Nokomis

In the poem The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the grandmother of Hiawatha is named Nokomis. Inspired by this poem, the City of Minneapolis renamed Lake Amelia “Lake Nokomis” in 1910.
lake nokomis

Originally only about 5 feet deep, the lake was dredged in 1914 to increase its depth to approximately 15 feet. When the dredging was complete in 1917, the lake’s surface area had been reduced from 300 acres to 200 acres, the surrounding marshlands and wetlands had been filled with dredged materials, and the swimming beach on the northwestern shore had been created.
lake nokomis

In 1940, the inventor of the first Amphibious Respiratory Unit (later known as SCUBA) was tested in Lake Nokomis. The underwater rebreather allowed divers to move under the water’s surface without producing bubbles. This device led Dr. Christian Lambertsen to be known as The Father of American Combat Swimming. Dr. Lambertsen’s contributions to covert underwater swimming operations would continue for nearly forty years.
sunset on lake nokomis

In 1973, concerns over water quality began to arise.  Studies found that the development of the lake and its surrounding marshlands and wetlands had degraded its natural filtration system. Restoration efforts began in 1996 and continue today. An 8 acre marsh on the southwest bay of the lake has been created, expanded and modified in the years since. Hopefully these efforts will preserve it for the future.

For more on Lake Nomomis, visit:


Where’s the Fire?

Who doesn’t love a fire truck? How about a hundred fire trucks?  It was a lovely day for the Burnsville Fire Muster Parade!

The Mother and I have been attending this parade for longer than I can remember, it has always been a highlight of the fall season.

This year had new surprises, like the Ames Horses leading the trucks down the route!horses

And my absolutely favorites, the Zurhah Motorcycle Corps at the end of the pack!motorcycles

I even had a front row seat for their figure eight formation!

New Labor Day Traditions

We celebrated the Labor Day weekend with a brand new tradition, The Van Heel Family Fish Fry! The Mother and I headed up to the family farm for an afternoon of fun and merriment.

I heard that the fish was fantastic but I was there for the other Van Heel tradition – the sweets.

It was a beautiful day to be out on the farm.
farm land

The Van Heels came from Holland and settled in Minnesota in the 1870s, this farm has been in the family since 1935.

I grew up hearing stories from my dad about his childhood days visiting the farm. He loved talking about the family gathering to play bluegrass music but I think his favorite memory was daring his brother to pee on the electric fence. He would laugh so hard telling that story, tears would come to his eyes.
farm land

By the time I was visiting, there was no more music making and I didn’t dare my brother to pee on the electric fence, but I have plenty of my own great memories too. Most of them involve the animals.

And I hope there will be a lot more memory making to come.