August 4, 1935: Reconstruction of historic fur post opens in Fond du Lac

On this day in 1935, Minnesota Governor Floyd B. Olson addressed a crowd of 15,000 who had gathered at Chambers Grove in Fond du Lac to dedicate the reconstruction of the 1816 American Fur Post built by Civil Conservation Corps. The day before, 20,000 Duluthians had lined Superior Street for eighteen blocks to witness a parade, led by oxcarts, depicting the early history of the Head of the Lakes. Three days of celebration followed the parade, including a seven-episode pageant also celebrating the region’s early history, covering the exploits of explorer Jean Baptiste Cadotte, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, and pioneers Reverend William Boutwell and Hester Crooks, the first couple of European descent to marry in the region. The facility (one report said logs from the original post, located about a half mile east of Chambers Grove, were used in the reconstruction) stood in Chambers Grove, a city park several hundred yards west of the original location; it was also much smaller than the first and likely not an accurate reproduction. Its popularity was short lived, andy by the 1960s it had sat abandoned for many years. It was demolished in 1968. The actual site of the fur post was known as Astor Park but has recently been renamed Historical Park. Read the history of Chambers Grove and Historical Park here and the historic Fur Trade at the Head of the Lakes here.

A lithographic postcard showing the reconstruction fur post in Chambers Grove, ca. 1935. (Image: Zenith City Press)

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