What was once Arrowwood Stables, the 56-acre property along County Road 22 northwest of Alexandria that was the forerunnner of Arrowwood Resort, has been sold.

Keith Zimmerman, a retired farmer from Chokio, Minn., along with his wife, June, purchased the property last month from Midwest Ventures, the group that now owns Arrowwood. The resort had been operating the stables for many years.

According to realtor.com, the 56-acre piece of property was listed on May 31, 2019 for $595,000 and was sold on July 27 for $497,000.

Zimmerman, a pig farmer for more than 40 years, said he has no plans for the property other than to “have fun with it” and use it for personal use. He said the Department of Natural Resources granted him a permit to put a dock on the property adjacent to North Union Lake.

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The Zimmermans, who recently moved to the Alexandria area, have family in the area, including their son and daughter-in-law, daughter and son-in-law and their four grandchildren.

He said the family will use the former stables, once known as the Darling Dude Ranch, for camping, fishing, exploring and gardening as his wife, a nurse practitioner, loves to garden.

The dude ranch

What is now known as Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center started back in April 1946 when two brothers, George and Paul Anderson, were traveling through the area when their vehicle broke down.

While the car was getting repaired, the brothers scoped out the area to see what they could find in the way of real estate property. They met up with a retired minister, A. A. Secord, who showed them a 70-acre piece of property on the north shore of Lake Darling. They ended up purchasing it and their resort – the Darling Dude Ranch – was born.

Before it became Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, the resort was also known as Darling Ranch Resort and Darling Dude Ranch. This photo, from 1952, shows former employee Marland Madson on one of the horses.  The Arrowwood Stables were a part of the resort up until a few years ago when it closed. The property along County Road 22 was recently sold. (Contributed photo)
Before it became Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, the resort was also known as Darling Ranch Resort and Darling Dude Ranch. This photo, from 1952, shows former employee Marland Madson on one of the horses. The Arrowwood Stables were a part of the resort up until a few years ago when it closed. The property along County Road 22 was recently sold. (Contributed photo)

The ranch started with five horses, three cows and a few pigs, as well as cottages for the guests. The horses, however, were one of the main attractions as guests enjoyed daytime trail rides and moon lit rides, as well as horseback rides in the water.

As the resort grew and more property was added, the stable operation expanded and moved. Sometime in the 1960s, the stables were relocated to the 56-acre parcel of land, with its more than 2,000 feet of lakeshore on North Union Lake, recently purchased by the Zimmermans.

After a few name changes throughout the years, the stables eventually became known as the Arrowwood Stables and was operational up until a few years ago.

1031 exchange transaction

Zimmerman said he “did a 1031 exchange” on the property, which according to the two Realtors involved in the transaction – Stu Wood, who represented the Zimmermans, and Todd Whiting, the seller – is a swap of properties that allows the seller to defer the payment of taxes.

Todd Whiting, an Alexandria Realtor, stands next to the sold sign for the property that was once Arrowwood Stables. (Contributed photo)
Todd Whiting, an Alexandria Realtor, stands next to the sold sign for the property that was once Arrowwood Stables. (Contributed photo)

Whiting provided more info, noting that a 1031 exchange is a method of exchanging investment properties that allows people to defer capital gains tax. Referred to by its namesake, IRS Code Section 1031, the bill was passed in 1921 to encourage active reinvestment by giving investors the ability to avoid taxation of ongoing investment property.