July 7, 1929: Naniboujou Resort Opens on the North Shore

On this day in 1929, five Duluth businessmen (including R. D. Handy, a postcard publisher and former Duluth News Tribune cartoonist) opened the Naniboujou Lodge, a private and quite grand sportsman’s getaway fifteen miles northeast of Grand Marais along the North Shore of Lake Superior. The lodge takes its name from Nanaboozoo (“trembling tail”), a trickster character—a spirit or a half man/half woman archetype —of Ojibwe legend who had many misadventures. Its more famous members included boxer Jack Dempsey, baseball legend Babe Ruth, and writer Ring Lardner. The resort is expansive, boasting a half-mile of shoreline on either side of the mouth of the Brule River (site of Devil’s Kettle Falls). When first developed, it encompassed 3,300 acres, much of which is now part of Judge C. R. Magney State Park. It boasted a grand lodge (pictured) and plans were made for tennis courts and other amenities. The lodge includes a large dining room with a twenty-foot-high ceiling. French artist Antoine Goufee painted the room in brightly colored Cree Indian patterns that echoed the feel of the Art Deco movement, popular at the time. Unfortunately, the Lodge only drew half of the one thousand members it needed to survive. It was turned over to a hotel chain in the 1930s and still operates as a resort today. The dining room’s paint has never been touched and still brightens the hall. Read about other Lake Superior North Shore landmarks—man-made and nature-made—here.

Nanibijou, c. 1930s. (Image: Zenith City Press)ibijou