Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Road Map of 1853

from Minnesota Historical Society Map Collection

Lake Lida was.......?

Lightning's Nest is a 150 foot high sand dune south of Hankinson. Google it.


Anonymous said...

The map is fairly rough, but given the position of Ottertail and Dead Lake, I would say L. Couvier is Lida.
It's interesting, some of the place names are French, others Ojibwe. And then there's a few that, you gotta wonder if the map maker wasn't just making things up.

Anonymous said...

What is the "Lightnings Nest," I wonder (in the lower left corner)? Some kind of esker, or a long swamp? It's hard to tell if it's a high spot or a low spot. Any idea what it's called today?

A former PR resident said...

Well, it's definitely not L. Cuvier as the map shows Cuvier draining into the Buffalo River.

Unfortunately, the scale of the map and placement of the features is far enough off to make it identification difficult. See how Battle Lake is shown far north of the confluence of the Pelican and Otter Tail Rivers. Then you have a number of lakes in the Pelican River chain (Humboldt, Lyell, Davy, Berzilius, Silliman, etc.) None of those look to be in the right place. And what's that tributary to the Pelican River coming from the west into L. Humboldt?

It is also possible that the wetlands of Otter Tail County looked different then. Prairie Lake is the last large lake in the Pelican River chain. You wouldn't know that from this map.

According to Warren Upham's Minnesota Geographic Names, Lake Lida was originally called Lake Anna. This was corrected by the 1870s. Unfortunately that doesn't help us here.

There was an oxcart trail that passed Otter Tail Lake and Detroit Lakes. This is clearly depicted on the map. Given the size, shape, and proximity to the trail, Lake Humboldt on the map is a possibility for Detroit Lakes. Its place near the top of the Pelican River chain also fits. If that's the case, then Otter Tail and Battle Lakes are just drawn too far north. One thing is for certain though. Pelican Rapids and Lake Lida cannot be north of that trail.

Then one could look for a large lake between Humboldt Lake and the Otter Tail River just off the main stream of the Pelican River. Lake G. Lussac would fit the bill.

To make that work, you have to accept the possibility that they drew Otter Tail Lake too far north up the Otter Tail River and some of the distances elsewhere in the region are off.

But I think that's reasonable.

By the way... glad you're blogging again, Jim.