Tour of Cottages raises funds for Elder NetworkThe annual Cottage Tour to benefit Elder Network will be held Tuesday, August 2 from 3 to 7 p.m. Attendees may tour the six, historic lake cottages in any order.
The annual Cottage Tour to benefit Elder Network will be held Tuesday, August 2 from 3 to 7 p.m. Attendees may tour the six, historic lake cottages in any order.
A Cottage Tour Boutique will be located at the Bill and Judy Reese garage, with lemonade served.
Advance tickets are $20 and are available at Elden's Food Fair, Pete's County Market and Trumm Drug downtown, all in Alexandria. Tickets purchased on-site are $25. A map and directions to each cottage will be included on the tickets.
Visitors are encouraged to carpool and wear comfortable walking shoes.
Proceeds benefit Elder Network -a volunteer service dedicated to supporting people age 55 and older through times of transition, loss and change. The program's goal is to help seniors continue living safely and independently in their homes. Supplemental funds provided by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
Following are the cottages featured on this year's tour:
The Bursch Cottage * Lake Darling
Claudia Bursch * 2806 Darling Dr., Alexandria
The Bursch cottage was built in 1917 by Carl and Esther Henderson of Chicago, who used it as a summer retreat. Spice jars from the Hendersons are displayed in the living room cabinet. The original land included a carriage house across the road, which still bears the original stone entryway.
Over the years, the land was divided by different owners. Twenty-seven years ago, Claudia and Fred Bursch purchased the main cottage property and raised their two daughters there. A neighbor who had grown up in the area told the story of an old stone plaque, which he remembered being thrown into the swamp across the road some 60 years ago.
Fred and neighbor, Tom Achenson, decided to try to find it, and to their delight, they did. The plaque now rests between two trees near the front walkway. It was commissioned by the Hendersons' daughter as a memorial to the cottage and its memories.
The Chain Cottage * Lake Miltona
Kathryn and Frank Hartley * 1853 Fairview Beach Rd., Alexandria
All because two people fell in love...with Minnesota.
In the summer of 1925, Albert and Abby Chain of Seward, Nebraska, decided to quit renting and build their own place on Lake Miltona for visits. Part of the original building, which still exists, rests on the 4-foot stump of an old basswood tree. The couple's children - Virginia, Priscilla and Jack (ages 8, 6 and 3 at the time) are still living. Each has subsequently owned their own Alexandria area lake home.
Virginia Chain Schmid and her husband, Marve, took sole ownership in the 1960s and modernized the cottage. The kerosene lamp that used to provide light now hangs near an entrance and the outhouse is still a "hidden" part of the outbuildings. Other artifacts that hark back to the original cottage, and markings on the original beadboard designate the growth of three generations.
In 2006 the third and fourth generations took over ownership - Kathy and Frank Hartley of Tuscon, Arizona; Heidi Schmid Wilson and Jeff Wilson of Silverthrone, Colorado and Catalina Leon Schmid and Eric Schmid of Omaha, Nebraska. The fifth generation of family children are now making the same wonderful memories each summer as did the three little Chains 85 years ago.
The Schneiderhan Cottage * Lake Darling
Dave Schneiderhan * 3212 Darling Dr. NW, Alexandria
When you pull into the drive of Dave Schneiderhan's cottage on Lake Darling Dr., you can't help but smile. Landscape and flowers abound. There is something new and interesting around every corner that seems to say, "Take your shoes off and relax."
Dave spent his youth vacationing and visiting his grandparents on Lake Darling. In 2002, the opportunity presented itself to purchase a cottage on Lake Darling and he jumped on it.
Historic photographs of family and friends from the Alexandria area are on display in the cabin.
The original cottage was the small garage that still sits on the property. It's thought to have been built around 1917. This is based on a newspaper Dave found in the walls.
The Akenson Cottage * Lake Darling
Alice and Howard Akenson * 3214 Darling Dr. NW, Alex-andria
Howard and Alice Akenson have been seasonal occupants of a cabin on Lake Darling since 1982. The former owners, Elmer and Hazel Tolefson, bought the cabin in 1969. Additions and conveniences were added to make it a year-round home.
Knotty pine paneling on the interior reflects the cabin's age. The exterior cellar door speaks of a bygone era.The back lot has a history of its own. At one time, the slough came up to the gravel road; part of the fill was from the Alex Hardware Store, which burned down more than 50 years ago.
The garage atracts the attention of passers-by. A 1930 Ford Model A fills the space. Like its owner, it's a bit worn down, but still runs just fine.
The Akensons' son, Tom, lives in an older home down the road, and their grandson, Andy, lives in an older home just across the lake on South Darling Drive. So, age-wise, the cabin fits right in and this family is fortunate to enjoy their little pieces of paradise together.
The Webber Cottage * Lake Miltona
Marilyn and Jon Webber * 1795 Fairview Beach Rd., Al-exandria
In 1987, the Webbers received a call that the property between Marilyn's sister and brother on Lake Miltona was for sale. They had lived in Connecticut since 1962, had raised their four children and now had an empty nest. They had not spent much time with the siblings since leaving home and the idea of being neighbors at the lake was appealing.
The Webbers were both still working and their family was scattered all around the country, so they felt the idea of purchasing the property was insane. But before the week was over, and without coming to look at the cabin, they made the purchase over the telephone.
Over the years, they have made many updates and improvements to the house and increased the time they are able to spend "at the lake." They added in-laws and grandchildren and the size of the family increased from six to 22.
Marilyn is an avid lover of quilts - from planning and making them to sleeping under them. She especially enjoys finding old quilt tops and reusing them. She said the cottage is the perfect place for such a passion - from working on them on rainy days to bedding down visiting grandchildren.
The Jansen Cottage * Lake Geneva
Beth and Keven Jansen * 420 Liberty Road NE, Alexandria
It's hard to miss the story and sense of history when you visit the summer cottage of Beth and Keven Jansen, one of several seasonal family cottages on east Lake Geneva. This is a portion of the original 1868 homestead of Beth's maternal grandparents, A.P. and Emma Erickson, Swedish immigrant pioneers whose family experiences eventually led to the development of the 4-H movement.
A long gravel driveway leads into the woods under a maple canopy to the undisturbed shoreline. The small, simple red cottage with white trim - typical of a Swedish summer house - was built around 1950 by Beth's parents, Harold and Emmalyn Watters Erickson. It was originally used for family gatherings on Sunday afternoons and for daytime fishing trips.
Furnished in a cheerful blend of old and new, the cottage reflects a family's journey through time: the Hoosier cabinet, the 1950s kitchen range with its array of push buttons and chrome, the squeaky old glider on the front porch...
Beth, Keven, and their children and grandchildren are just one strand of the fourth, fifth and sixth generations of the Erickson family who have loved these beautiful woods and shores.
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