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The Ely Echo
Ely, Minnesota
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December 29, 2012     The Ely Echo
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Section 1 by Anne Swenson THE ELY ECHO PAGE 7 SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, m This two-part article first appeared in the Ely Echo of August 10 and 17, 1977 as changes were again being proposed for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. In 1945 Paul Summer was chosen to pilot a secret mission in a P-38 Light- ning fighter plane as part of the escort for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's last leg of the journey to Yalta for the meeting with Britain's Winston Churchill and Russia's Joseph Stalin. O0),~ O0),~ In the spring of 1946, twenty four year old Paul Summer returned to his northern Minnesota homeland. He had been a U.S. fighter pilot, stationed in Italy, during the war. He planned to "buy a resort and fish all day." Pooling resources with a buddy, together they bought a twenty year old resort: Pipestone Falls Lodge, located on Basswood. The Bill of Rights fifth amendment states that the Federal Government shall not take private prop- erty for public use without just compensation. It was many years before the Indian tribes were shocked into the awareness that the United States had silently taken absolute power over their lands and lives. The Supreme Court laid down the principle that tribes had no title to the land at all. The tribes were mere occupants of the land. The land itself was held by the United States. The policies of the federal government are adapted for expediency. The Indian people are now wary of government promises. Their past experience has shown them that even an innocent looking proposal may result in loss of land. The Duwamish chief, Seattle, in 1854 pre- In the early 1950s this amphibious duck was dieted: "But why should I mourn the untimely supplies from Winton to their fishing resort, fate of my people? Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the became effective in 1951. order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time There were 18 log cabins, a frame lodge, of decay may be distant, but it will surely come ice house, grocery store and assorted utility ... We may be brothers after all. We will see..." buildings at the resort. The Summers owned about 500 acres including both sides of Newton Portage, and land around Newton and Basswood at Pipestone Falls. Pipestone Falls Lodge was a plain fishing camp. People didn't demand many refinements. Cabin guests hauled their own water, used out- door toilets, cooled their food in ice boxes and cooked on wood stoves. A light plant furnished a few hours electricity in the evening. Other guests could dig into Edna's fresh frequently seen in the Ely area. It was used by the Summers to transport guests and Pipestone Falls Lodge, located on lower Basswood. deer all over the camp. We didn't have hordes of people then. There wasn't streams of canoes going thru. After Labor Day, that whole of Basswood was my own private hunting and trap- ping ground. There was just nobody up there. It was a lot different. The whole complexion has changed." With the establishment of the air ban and the need for a better method of hauling people and supplies, Paul purchased two army surplus ducks. These seven ton amphibious vehicles built on a GMC truck chassis with a hull, could carry 20 passengers and their baggage, or the large quantities of food stuffs and gasoline drums necessary for the resort operation. The resort had lain dormant during the war bread and family style meals. She cooked meals years. It was run down and choked with hazel for two to 60 the first few years on a huge old "It was an ideal machine for our operation Brush. The motors were all in basketsl The boats lumberjack wood stove. A crew of seven helped because of the handling on portages," Paul ~veren't much better. ~? :~ with the work around the resort, noted. Previously supplies had to be 1,oaded and Io;~~!t,a~~g~h~ ,!eU2~i~Sio~ii@~oh~uii !eaaaihi!ii!oal]ihiiT~FeO~ unloaded several times. It was a 1Ot :of bull work," Paul explained. "We were real steve' mo dores. With the ducks we could drive to Ely, fill Beginning the new venture with them was and two additional weeks. Daughter Laura was the gasoline drums and go straight thru to camp. lPaul's bride, Edna. The marriage lasted, the other due during ice break-up, and Paul and Edna It was a godsend." ut 180 acres of outlying lands of no use to Paul and Edna Summer were used to hard the resort. aul and Edna Summer in Winton, Minn. with Paul's carving of a Plains Indian. hoto by Anne Swenson work. When they decided to build a winter "We used the money to pay off our resort~ contract. At that point we were clear. But they home at their landing on Fall Lake, Paul spent the winter of 1954 sawing lumber at his small (the government) wanted everything." After a pause Paul added: "They got everything." mill at Pipestone. He pre-fabbed about 90 per "A lot of it's in retrospect. At the time I cent of the house there and brought it down on the ducks. Just before Christmas in 1955, it was guess we were pretty naive about it. We had no finished enough to move into. experience with these things, in fooling with the cc ~ ~ government. Rather expected they'd be fair and Between 1902 and 1909 land in Public Do- honorable. IfI hadit to do over again, I'd regard main was set aside for the Superior National For- the government as my enemy." est. Much of the present BWCA was included. For about two years the Summers and the Between 1930 and 1941 more land was acquired U.S. Forest Service agents argued back and forth. In the spring of the final year of negotiations, thru the purchase of tax-forfeited lands. But it wasn't until conservationists pressured Congress 1954, the U.S. Coast Guard got into the act. They. that the Thye-Blatnik Act of 1948 (Public Law had inspection privileges and jurisdiction over 733) was passed, authorizing the U.S. Forest all water craft being used for public transport on Service to acquire lands within an area cover- navigable waters (such as Fall Lake). ing about two-thirds of the BWCA. They had When the Guardsmen didn't come to Pipe- a half million dollar appropriation with which stone Falls Lodge to inspect his craft, Paul asked to do this. the men why. He was told that there wasn't any. In 1956, the area was extended by Public Law use even inspecting the ducks. Amphibious ve- 607 to cover all the present BWCA and the funds hicles were said to be unsafe public transport,, increased by $2.5 million. Another $2 million according to Coast Guard specifications. authorization was made in 1961. Purchases by "I pointed out to them that the government eminent domain were also authorized, hauled thousands of soldiers in them during the What were the tactics used for this land grab war," Paul said. "The exact answer they gave, from private individuals? Were they any more me was: 'They were expendable. That's differ- honorable than those used a hundred or more ent. Tourists aren't.' We had our whole summer years before? ahead of us, and no transport," Paul concluded. ~ ~ ~ But hauling six people or less wasn't consid- ered public transport, so for two weeks, Paul, Paul and Edna Summer recalled the events leading up to their being forced to sell their land in order to comply, hauled only six and the freight. The people came in two or three smaller within the present BWCA. outboard craft. "As I recall," Paul said, "the government started picking up parcels here and there in the early '50s. We started hearing rumors that they had designs on the whole area, but everybody just scoffed. They didn't think things like that happened." Summer voluntarily sold the government [~artnership didn t. [ Their guests that summer were people out |or their first vacation after the war. Gasoline ~vas still rationed. Many people came by train [o Winton. Launches on Fall Lake and Newton, ~nd a truck on Newton Portage brought them to ~amp. Bush pilots Alvin West and Bill Leithold ew in about half the guests, 'til the air ban fought their way into the power dam on a fiat boat and were warmed by the hospitality of the Carl Johnsons. Next week this article will conclude with On school week-ends the four children Paul and Edna Summer telling how their trust joined their parents during the May--October was deceived by the government officials, andi resort season, of the harassment to which they were subjected., "As I look back," Paul said, "it was some of the best years. It was peaceful then. We had Who bri you Ely hool news, C ty Council news and other news bout Ely? Our children attend school here. We pay taxes and wages here. And we ppreciate your on-going support via advertising and subscriptions. Thank you.