As Minnesota's tourism expanded beyond the hotels along the Mississippi and early railroad lines small family resorts emerged. They catered to the simple pleasures of an outdoor enthusiast: a good fishing lake a passable road and a lodge with a cabin or two. As the demands of tourists shifted throughout the twentieth century the state's resorts were dramatically altered. The Early Resorts of Minnesota:Tourism in the Land of 10 000 Lakes explains how resorts evolved their prime locations owners amenities and the rustic elegance that made Minnesota's resorts national icons. This book provides images from early tourism with a website to help you further explore the history of Minnesota's treasures.
Ren Holland was born in the tourist town of Park Rapids Minnesota in 1937. He was raised at a small store and resort owned by his parents Elmer O. Holland and Betty Lauder Holland at Little Mantrap Lake near Itasca State Park. Ren and his sisters Grace and Betty helped their parents with routine tasks at the store and cabins until the resort was sold in 1950. During high-school in Park Rapids Ren worked at Blewett's Resort (Vacationaire) on Island Lake. Later he worked at Fuller's Tackle Shop in Park Rapids a traditional headquarters for tourist information and fishing supplies.
Ren attended the University of Minnesota Minneapolis receiving a BA degree in art and a BS degree in art education. He received a master's degree in art education at St. Cloud State University and taught art at Little Falls Community High School retiring in 1996. In 2004 he wrote and published The Edge of Itasca a book about the individuals and families associated with early Itasca State Park and the Mississippi Headwaters area. Ren and his wife Ida Mae live on the Mississippi River across from Charles A. Lindbergh State Park at Little Falls Minnesota. They have two children Randy Holland and Renee Holland Theisen.