Crane Lake Stories: Five Generations of Stories with Brenda King – Part 2

Published On: August 16, 202112 min read
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Episode 7 – The Timeless Appeal of Crane Lake

Pastor Brenda King explores the growth and change in Crane Lake in this second part of a two-part interview for Crane Lake Stories! She explores how the community comes together to rely on each other, how new families have meant new opportunities for community gatherings, and why she was so excited when the opportunity to become a Pastor in the Crane Lake area came up! This episode will show you what a beautiful, family-oriented area Crane Lake is, and how it’s a timeless escape from the rush of modern life.

Experience the beauty of Crane Lake for yourself! Many opportunities exist in virtually every season to explore the quiet and wonder of this gorgeous natural area.





What You’ll Learn In This Episode

  • How folks got around Crane Lake in times past.
  • What Crane Lake was like years ago.
  • Memories that you make at Crane Lake last a lifetime!


Episode Transcript;

Matt Addington: So hopefully you were able to join us last time, where Pastor Brenda King talked about her family’s history and five generations of people coming to visit Crane Lake. This episode, we’re gonna pick up kind of where we left off and allow Pastor King to talk to us about some of the exciting things that are happening currently in the Crane Lake area!



Matt: Very cool, so just out of curiosity, um, now that you’ve had a couple years in your role, would you say that Crane Lake and Kabetogama there’s obviously some very much parallels between the traditions and the generational visits and it’s it’s all one, you know, big family when you look through, you know, from from Crane to Sand Point to Namakin to Cab, all the way through, uh, but are there definite parallels with the stories that you’ve heard? You know, through the people in your parishes?

Brenda: Yes, very much so. They, um, there are new people coming, and especially owners, in the last couple years of various resorts that, um, are new. They told me when I came there were no children. There are many children in two years! Most of them moving in, um, younger folks coming in and working and, uh, so it’s it’s continually changing. Some of the older ones needing to move out because of distances to medical care or family. So it’s a changing place which I’m sure it’s been throughout the years.

Matt: Yeah, yeah, I mean you think of, think of your, you know, your family building that cabin and how that, you know, you look at that now and there, there are changes. But there’s also things that are still the same which I think is just the beautiful part of it.

Brenda: Yeah, the area doesn’t change, um, the fishing, the hunting, not in the national park but outside of it, there’s just so much going on that’s a possibility.

Matt: Yeah, I grew up, like I told you off off camera, in Hibbing and my dad, um, when you know, when I was just a little kid, went up and and hunted on Namakin Island, and that was kind of the start of what my Crane Lake story was, was we went up to visit friends up there and, you know, the hunting, before the park, you know before the park was in place. As we’ve told these stories and and done this, um, you know, call it marketing or storytelling or whatever for the Crane Lake area, it’s, you know it’s not going to turn into another Brainerd or Lake Minnetonka or something like that, which I think is awesome, that some of these stories that you’re telling, um, the the parallel will be the same. It’s, it’s always going to have, um, kind of a rustic old feel through generations, and many of the guests we’ve had on have said, you know, they can, they can reminisce about stories from 50, 60, 70 years ago. You know, it’s not going to turn into some, some crazy, fancy, um, tourist destination of, of, you know the rich and famous and the elegant. There’s something that you can bring kids now, and I’ve done it with my own kids, where they come there and it’s, you, you are kind of going back in time. Which is just a beautiful thing that it’s, it’s about, you know, hiking on the rocks and picking blueberries and, you know, going across waters that have been traveled for hundreds and hundreds of years without, um, turning it into this this new flashy shiny, uh, place that maybe some of the other tourist destinations in Minnesota or in the Upper Midwest have, have been which I think is one of the things that’s really beautiful about the area.

Brenda: Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t have this, the resorts don’t have room to put up big swimming pools and, and water parks or anything. It’s, it’s the lake itself and, and being able to be there.

Matt: And I think for the next generation, um, you know, kids that, that we visited with guests, first time guests, and ongoing guests, you know kids are not, uh, you know, your cell phone maybe isn’t gonna work, and you’re not gonna be, you know, quite as connected and there’s something that I think our world and our society needs a little more of that at times. So that’s one of the things that I love about Crane Lake is it, it is an escape, um, to a beautiful place but, it’s, it’s kind of a “turn back the clock” and, uh you know, all of these things kind of transcend all of the technology that the rest of the world has kind of taken on.Crane Lake still provides, like I said, just this, the simple of, uh you know, you want to get materials out to a cabin on an island, or if you’re going to go visit, you got to go by boat, and there’s, there’s things that the rest of the world maybe doesn’t know about which I think, there’s kind of a nice little secret about that.

Brenda: Yeah, growing up it was the cb radios were your only connection. Ours didn’t work real well. We had the big tower, but we could hear in but we couldn’t get out and that was just how it was. Today, it’s the marine radios. I’m also EMT on the Orr ambulance and we go out to Crane Lake, and, and so getting the communications, if there’s a problem, you have to be aware. You’ve got to know some basic first aid to cover, because it’s going to take, even with a great group of first responders out at Crane Lake, and they’ll go pick up people when they find out about it, but it takes a little bit of time up there.

Matt: Sure. So two years ago, so, you’ve kind of patiently waited, maybe, if that’s the case, but you’ve, you’ve served different parishes around, around Minnesota. I know you said Southwest Minnesota and Appleton and even up in Virginia on the iron range, but, um, two years ago there was an opportunity at Crane Lake in Kabetogama Chapel, so just talk a little bit about how that door opened and what that’s looked like for you.

Brenda: Well, I’m a United Methodist pastor and our bishop appoints us. So, um, today it’s, they tell us what’s open and, uh, the person that was here was moving someplace else and I immediately said I’m ready to move, and, and didn’t know if I’d get accepted on that because of how our system works. But they immediately said yes, go, you want to go up there and, and that’s the right place for you. And so I have just really enjoyed being here, and it’s, it’s like coming home. I know some of the folks already and –

Matt: Yeah, you, you’ve got a lifetime of stories already woven into the position. You kind of, you know, just dovetailed into the position which is wonderful.

Brenda – and so we continued to do some things. I said they told me there were no children here when I first came, and right away I realized there were. We have Vacation Bible School coming up in Crane Lake on July 26 to the 29th, and in Kabetogama August 10th to the 12th, and then on August 3rd is National Night Out, and so the chapel is for the first time gonna sponsor that event and we’re going to have, from what I understand, there’ll be some things for sale and all those funds and donations will be taken for the emergency services in the area and, uh, they’re gonna have a Wiffle Ball tournament. I’m not sure what else, but yeah.

Matt: You know you, you mentioned it twice now and I think it would be great for us to at least acknowledge, I mean the, emergency services up there are top-notch incredible. I mean, I know that there was recently, the fire there in Crane Lake, and you guys, I’m sure were responding, but, um, you’ve seen that throughout your lifetime, too, that this is a place that, that leans on volunteers and leans on, on the community. Talk a little bit about your experience and just, the, the service with the, the medical services team, because, uh, they, they definitely deserve some recognition.

Brenda: I’ll go back in time a little bit. Um, Uncle Billy died up at his cabin. He had a heart attack and I was 10 years old and Nell called it out on the cb radio and people responded there was no first responders at the time, but every dentist, vet, doctor in the area came to help. And so very supportive community at that time. But now, in the last two years, being an EMT on the Orr ambulance, I’ve seen wonderful folks responding in the community when there’s a need. There are three or four volunteers right there with some equipment, um, so they can at least get blood pressures and o2 readings, and so as we’re driving out from Orr we get a report of what’s going on so we can be prepared, um, and then two of us, at least two of us come out on the rig and, um, this last year I think we really have to celebrate. They had a heliport, but it was just gravel and just in the last three months a cement pad was put in, and we regularly use that heliport now.

Matt: Is that the one right down by Handberg’s?

Brenda: Down there, yep, yep, and it’s, um it’s great because it only takes about 30 minutes to get to Duluth from there. So it’s great to have the paramedics. If we think we might need that we call before we even see the patient and they are more than willing to, once we see what’s going on, maybe we don’t need them and we can send them back away. There’s no cost because they get practice running up and down, and they do some practicing and training while they’re, if that’s what happens, but they are more than willing to come. So they are great to have, that paramedic group, get there so fast. Sometimes we have to get the paramedics from Virginia to drive up, and that’s happened this summer as well.

Matt: Again, testament to the community and just the the tight-knit group that, you know, with the, the volunteer fire department and the emts and all of the people. I mean, everybody kind of recognizes that we’re in this together and, um, to be able to have folks that serve on that I think is just commendable and really just wonderful.

Brenda: All the volunteers that do it, because we’re all volunteers, none of us, so when do you have a shift open you can, you sign up at least for the ambulance, so we know there’s somebody here as much as possible. The other day somebody said well we’re out camping at Crane Lake, one of the other emts said you just bring the rig out, and so I’m driving by myself on the rig, I’m going 75 plus down that crooked road, and, uh, they had already been, we’re at the patient and taking care of them. So people come from all kinds of different places to volunteer on that service. It is a great community that supports each other extremely well, and it supports the chapel and Kabetogama, the same thing is happening over there, that’s exciting. It’s a great place to come visit or to hang out for a few generations.

Matt: For sure, I mean, the, the folks that are there for the, the, we’ve talked to first-time guests and we’ve talked to, like, multiple generations and everybody has a lot of the same message and just, the same, the same, like I said, affinity to the area which is just, uh, you know, one of the big reasons we wanted to to do these Crane Lake Stories is just allow people to, to talk and just to tell their story. We appreciate you coming on, uh, for this episode, Brenda, and we just, we’re grateful that you are back kind of in your in your dream spot and in your dream calling as a, as a methodist pastor and Crane Lake and Kabetogama I know are both, uh, lucky to have you there to kind of continue the tradition and, and also provide um lots of great activities as well as a place to worship which, which is wonderful. So thanks for coming on this week and just, really look forward to maybe touching base again down the road.

Brenda: Thank you for the invitation! It was great, thank you!

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