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Tylertown; Detroit Lakes first settlement

Tylertown, - that's what the town of Detroit Lakes was called before it became known as Detroit, and this was because of the railroad.

In 1870, a Boston native named Melvin M. Tyler came here with his family, and because he was so impressed with the beauty of the town, he decided to build a 12 by 14 foot log cabin near Pelican River, which was north of the Northern Pacific Railroad tracks.

Since the tracks went past Tyler's cabin, it became known as Tyler's Hotel, which later became "the center of all activity", according to an article at the Becker County Museum.

This is because railroad men and travelers had nowhere else to stay and used his house as a hotel, which caused Tyler to build an addition to his cabin.

Tyler's Hotel also "served as the first post office in the area and was an important meeting place", the article states.

"Railroad men dumped the bags of mail on one of the beds and people came in, sorted through the mail, and picked up letters that were addressed to them", it said.

Other buildings and settlers soon started building near Tyler's Hotel, and the community became known as Tylertown.

The North Pacific Railroad built a crude shack to house the telegraph set, and it became the first depot in the area.

According to information from the Becker County Historical Society, the railroad crew spent a little over a year to build the the Northern Pacific Railroad tracks across the Becker County area, which stretched out over 25 miles in 1870.

The hardest work along the railroad was at a cut between Detroit Lakes and Audubon, where work was the heaviest on that division of the line. A settlement that became known as Oak Lake Cut was the outcome of the hard work and the exhausted rail crew.

By December of 1871, the trains were making regular runs to Oak Lake Cut, and by December 30 of 1871, the track was completed all the way to Moorhead, according to the article.

Now, the Industrial Park in Detroit Lakes sits where Tyler's log cabin once was, and the Oak Lake site is no longer known or here.

Driving west of Detroit Lakes on Highway 10, you can pass directly over the site of Oak Lake, which was "the most active and flourishing village in Becker County."

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