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A walk through history

Put on your walking shoes and get ready to learn about the history of downtown Detroit Lakes.

The Becker County Museum is hosting three walking tours June 15, 17 and 19 beginning at the museum.

From the museum, Museum Manager Carrie Johnston will guide people toward the Graystone building, sharing history along the way, "the basics of Detroit Lakes starting." She said a lot of her early information will come from the Alvin Wilcox's "A Pioneer History of Becker County."

To keep the tour at one hour, Johnston said she'll walk and talk and not have tours of the insides of any buildings along the way. The museum will also provide a booklet to go with the tour with pictures along the way and a paragraph about the building.

"It will be showcasing the files here and what people have access to," she said.

She'll talk about the train depot, the north side of the tracks, and then continue down Washington Avenue. The downtown buildings and previous businesses will be discussed, and unique features like the elevator in Norby's.

She'll also tell about the 1914 fire downtown and the 1915 fire that burned the Hotel Minnesota and "changed the face of Detroit Lakes."

The tour will turn at the library and will talk about some of the houses on Lake and Summit avenues. It will also have information on the former fire department location (the plaza building on Lake Avenue that houses Collin Peterson's office) and the former post office (school administrative building).

"I hope to learn more than I tell," Johnston, who will be giving the tours herself, said. "It'll be fun to gather information, too."

If these three dates are a success, Johnston said she will add more tours this summer, and the overall plan is to expand the tour each summer, eventually going down to the Pavilion and beach.

The June 15 and 17 tours start at 5:30 p.m. The June 19 tour begins at 9:30 a.m. The tours are free, but $5 is requested for those who wish to keep the booklets.