Eighty Years in the Making
A Legislative History of Voyageurs National Park
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I credit Eliot Davis, Superintendent of Grand Portage Monument for stimulating my interest in Voyageurs National Park. I first heard of the potential for a national park at Kabetogama during a talk he gave in 1965 to a small group at the Duluth YMCA. Several in attendance that evening were soon active in the movement to secure the park's establishment. My volunteer research work on the legislative history of the park was an extension of my participation in the campaign for congressional authorization. It was this exposure to the politics, personalities and procedural maneuvers during the legislative process that piqued my interest in the legislative story.

I am deeply indebted to the University of Minnesota and the National Park Service for providing assistance with expenses during the early years of my work. In 1978 I received the first of two grants for travel and expenses from the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota. The second grant was awarded in 1984 and coincided with a sabbatical research leave in 1984-1985 enabling me to devote more time to the project. In 1989 the NPS provide a grant for expenses to research the files in Omaha at the NPS Midwest Regional Office, the archives of the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul and those at Voyageurs National Park headquarters in International Falls. This grant also enabled me to reach and conduct interviews with individuals who played key roles in the campaign for congressional approval of Voyageurs National Park.

I am indebted to many individuals who were helpful over the life of this project. I am particularly grateful to Mary Graves, Cultural Resource Specialist at Voyageurs. Mary was not only my valuable and principal link with the National Park Service, especially with the Midwest Regional Office, but also the Superintendent and staff at Voyageurs; she also carefully reviewed all of the written material, edited the manuscript and made helpful suggestions and changes along the way. And through it all she exhibited remarkable patience and good humor! I am also deeply appreciative for the professional assistance and encouragement of NPS Historian Don Stevens at the NPS Midwest Regional Office in Omaha. He frequently offered opinions and suggestions based on his professional training and his own personal experience writing similar documents for other units in the system.

Patricia Maus, Administrative Director of the Northeast Minnesota History Center in Duluth provided immeasurable assistance on numerous occasions by locating archival documents and other materials related to the Voyageurs story. She also provided study space and assistance with duplicating materials. Mary Lou Pearson, Historian for Voyageurs in the 1970s, conducted numerous interviews with park staff and local citizens. These were extremely useful in researching this document. Barry Mackintosh, Historian with the NPS in Washington, D.C., explained the objectives and the format of legislative histories and encouraged me to research the Voyageurs story. Dr. Roy O. Hoover, Professor Emeritus—History, University of Minnesota-Duluth and co-editor of the Upper Midwest History, helped with the publication of a paper on Voyageurs and then encouraged me to forward with a detailed study on the events leading to its establishment. Interviewees and other individuals who were helpful include Governor Elmer L. Andersen, Archie Chelseth, Roger Williams, Lloyd Brandt, Martin Kellogg, Myrl Brooks, Judge Edwin Chapman, John Blatnik, Sigurd Olson, Judge U.W. Hella, and John Kawamoto.

Finally, I am deeply grateful to my wife who always encouraged my work and exhibited remarkable forbearance and patience through the life of this project.

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Last Updated: 23-Jan-2009