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Raging Fire Consumes the Lodge at Lutsen Resort

Shortly after midnight on February 6, Cook County Law Enforcement was notified of a fire alarm at the historic main lodge at Lutsen Resort. The dispatcher reported that employees had seen smoke rising from the floor in the main lobby.

Eight fire departments, Tofte First Responders, and Cook County Sheriff’s deputies responded.

Eight area Fire departments respond to Lutsen Resort to contain the engulfed structure. (Photo courtesy Lutsen Resort facebook)

By 6:00 AM, the Sheriff’s Office reported that the building was completely engulfed, and social media posts showed pictures and videos confirming the building had been destroyed.

According to the Cook County Sheriff’s press release, no guests were in the building last night. No injuries were reported as of press time.

The Lutsen, Tofte, Grand Marais, Maple Hill, Gunflint Trail, Finland, Silver Bay, and Grand Portage fire departments were on hand to contain the blaze.

According to the press release, the State Fire Marshall’s office is investigating the fire. On its social media page, Lutsen Resort announced its intention to rebuild.

Lutsen Resort traces its roots to Swedish immigrant Charles Axel Nelson, who purchased 106 acres around the mouth of the Poplar River in 1885. The Nelson family rented rooms to travelers journeying up and down the North Shore, eventually building the resort.

The resort’s main lodge burned down in 1949, and renowned architect Edwin Hugh Lundie designed the current building. Construction of the new lodge was completed in 1952, and the structure has been a landmark of Lutsen and the North Shore.

In 1988, the descendants of Charles Nelson sold the resort to Nancy Burns and Scott Harrison. It was most recently sold in 2018 to Bryce Campbell and his firm, North Shore Resort.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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