Way before European settlers came to the Dassel area, way before Dassel, back in 1030 or so BCE this area was inhabited by the Woodlands People.
The Woodlands People were a creative and civilized group who created small, sometimes temporary, settlements along the waterways and lakes of the area.
Among their talents was the creation of dugout canoes, carved from entire tree trunks, burned clean in the middles. It is purported that these canoes were sunk into cold frigid waters as a method of preservation during the frigid winter months.
In 1959 a group of workers were dredging the Lower Big Swan Lake for invasive carp. With their nets they brought up one of these canoes. A white oak 14-foot-long canoe that had been preserved for centuries in the waters of the lake. Eventually this canoe was donated to the McLeod County Historical Society.
I have such a romantic view of that time, of the people who lived then. When artifacts like these are found, I wish they came with a little time capsule that let us know the name and history of their creators. I would like to know why this canoe was left for so long. Did the creator pass away, move from the area? History can often only be imagined, cobbled together from the few facts we have. However, in my mind’s eye, history is amazingly wonderful.
In the meantime, visiting this canoe is well worth your time.