Our History

Lutsen Resort is Minnesota’s oldest resort. Established in 1885, the rugged natural beauty of Lake Superior’s North Shore prompted Charles Axel Nelson, a young Swedish immigrant, to establish his homestead overlooking the lake. He called it “Lutsen.”

old-homestead

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Soon married, he and his family supported themselves through fishing, logging and trapping. The original cabin, built on the site of the current Lutsen Resort lodge, grew into an ever-larger family home. In the early days, long before a road was built, travelers found Lutsen a stop of convenience as they made their way up the lake. The Nelson children vacated their beds for travelers.

Nelson-family-photo

As its reputation for welcoming guests grew, Lutsen began to attract visitors who came to stay – to hike, fish and hunt. Known as a friendly haven for weary travelers, the family home evolved into one of Minnesota’s favorite destinations.

Resort

  • 1863 CAA Nelson born in Norkoping, Ostergotland, Sweden
  • 1881 CAA came to America
  • 1885 Papers filed for homestead
  • 1886 First guests stayed at the Nelson home
  • 1893 CAA built house that had hotel rooms on the second floor
  • 1896 School built at top of hill behind the resort
  • 1887-1910 Steamships ran supplies up the shore and to Lutsen Resort
  • 1918 Road is open to Duluth
  • 1918 Electricity introduced to the resort via water powered electrical plant on river
  • 1920s Lobby, dining room and 30 rooms added to the main lodge
  • 1928 Cliff House built
  • 1948 First fire destroyed original main lodge
  • 1948 Ski hill opened
  • 1949 Lundie-designed main lodge opened
  • 1951 Second fire destroyed main lodge
  • 1952 Second Lundie-designed main lodge opened
  • 1955 Dupont’s Mylar Bubble is built over the pool; first of its kind in the world
  • 1964 First chair lift installed on Ullr Mountain
  • 1967 Conference room added to main lodge
  • 1968 Sea Villa Townhome development started
  • 1977 Alpine slide opened
  • 1980 Ski area separated
  • 1988 Lutsen Resort sold to Scott Harrison and Nancy Burns
  • 1993-2000 Lakeside Log Cabins developed
  • 1997 Sea Villa Guest Services building opened
  • 2003 Poplar River Condos opened
  • 2005 Cliff House Townhomes developed
  • 2018 Lutsen Resort sold to current owners: Bryce and Sheila Campbell

To see a full, more details timeline: click to download the History of Lutsen Resort PDF.