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Being the first to realize the tourism potential of Detroit Lakes back in the 1880s, John K. West befriended Detroit Lakes pioneer E.G. Holmes, and the two developed the Minnesota Hotel in 1883. Photo provided by the Becker County Museum

DL’s original power couple

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On just about any given summer Friday afternoon when Highway 10 coming into town is packed, the aroma of barbeque everything is floating through the air and area businesses are bustling with energetic shoppers, it’s hard to imagine that there was ever a time when tourism didn’t make the world go around in the Detroit Lakes area.


But it’s true. Roll back to October of 1881 when the town – then called “Detroit” – was only 10 years old.

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