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Through the looking glass: Detroit Lakes, circa 1892

This 1892 image from the Becker County Museum's files shows Detroit Lakes — or the village of Detroit, as it was then known — as it appeared from atop the Hotel Minnesota, looking westward.

As this photograph shows, Detroit Lakes was a very different place 117 years ago — in fact, even its name was different, as the "Lakes" part of the city's moniker wasn't added until September 7, 1926, when a special election was held to officially change its name to what it is now.

Before then, it was simply known as Detroit, Minnesota, but constant postal mixups with the better-known Detroit, Michigan led the community to make the switch.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

(218) 844-1454