Grand View Lodge has provided guests relaxing vacation experiences for more than 100 years. Its roots grow deep in the history of the Brainerd Lakes area. Selected in 1979 for the National Registry of Historic Places, Grand View Lodge’s Main Lodge offers one of the most well-preserved examples of early resort log construction in existence today. As part of the Historic designation, the Lodge cannot be altered by construction and only materials authentic to the early 1900s can be used throughout. It remains a testimony to the vision and taste of early area entrepreneurs who foresaw the charm of the lakes area. The story of Grand View Lodge is hallmarked by entrepreneurship, family legacy and dedication to Minnesota’s natural beauty.
In 1916, Mr. M.V. Baker began selling 50-foot parcels on the Gull Lake shoreline. His holdings included 238 lots along 3,000 feet of lakefront, which he had purchased for $43.00 per acre. In turn, he offered the lakefront lots for $10 per foot. By 1919, business was so brisk he decided to build a larger lodge to house prospective buyers when they arrived to view the property. Because the Gull Lake Dam had not yet been built, flooding was a relevant concern. Baker elected to build the Main Lodge set back nearly 400 feet from the shoreline. The lodge was built from Norway pine felled on the property and designed on a large scale to hold not only prospective buyers but those who came to enjoy Gull Lake. Today, the Historic Main Lodge remains a focal point for the entire Grand View Lodge resort.
Construction of cabins continued at a rate of two per year. Following the Great Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression years, Baker elected to sell the remaining unsold property and the Main Lodge to Reynolds Frederick Brownlee Cote in 1937. “Brownie” Cote had purchased Camp Lake Hubert for Girls and Camp Lincoln for Boys and was in search of a location to provide housing for parents of campers. He bought 320 acres of land, the Main Lodge and all of the shoreline for $85,000—a hefty sum in that day when the average annual income was $1,780 and the average home price was $4,100.
A COTE FAMILY TRADITION
Over the years, Brownie and his family built Grand View Lodge to provide a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation experience for guests. In the years prior to the invention of air conditioning, many people sought refuge from the high heat in Minnesota’s cooler lakes atmosphere. Guests arrived from far and near, and the Grand View Lodge tradition began. After he purchased Grand View Lodge, Brownie bought Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona—with the vision of creating a ranch vacation destination. Tanque Verde Ranch provided winter employment for Grand View Lodge employees and a warm escape for Minnesotans during the cold winters. These properties continue to be owned and operated by the Cote family in the tradition of the highest quality hospitality.