The cabin is representative of the early recreational period of what was to become the national park. In the 1930s the effects of the great depression were lessened for some and passable roads were built, bringing a proliferation of automobiles to the northland. This made lakes, such as Crane Lake, accessible to tourists. Some of these tourists fell in love with the area and purchased property for summer cabins. This was the case of the Casareto Summer Cabin.
Visiting Casareto Summer Cabin
The Casareto Summer Cabin located on the northern shore of Crane Lake just within the southeastern border of Voyageurs National Park.
In the summer of 1933 Dr. Jake Casareto, while on vacation between college and his pending dental practice, discovered Crane Lake. He found a piece of property on the north shore which had a beautiful sand beach and level ground perfect for the cabin. It was for sale and he immediately purchased it.
Jake Casareto was attracted to Crane Lake primarily because of its beauty and great fishing. However, it is also known for its historical significance. Located on the voyageur and Ojibwe people’s canoe route from Lake Vermilion to Sand Point Lake, archeological evidence shows the Crane Lake area has been inhabited for over 6500 years. Later, the Voyageurs canoed these same waters during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. A map dated around 1820 shows a North West Company Post close to the Casareto cabin.
Jake Casareto began construction at his cabin site in 1933. He started with a small shed and the next year had the beginning of the existing cabin built for $500.00. A dock was built and a well was dug. For the Casareto’s this was the start of a long relationship with Crane Lake.The Casareto cabin was typical of those built during the early recreational era before Voyageurs National Park. It was of simple, inexpensive design and wood log construction. As with others, it was added onto, as needed, with growing families and increased popularity. Outhouses, storage sheds and fish houses would be built. Sidewalks would be laid and flower gardens added.
In a typical year lake cabins as Casareto’s Summer Cabin would be opened up in mid May as soon as the ice left and fishing season began. Weekend use would change to full time occupancy as soon as school was out for the summer. Summer vacation for other family members and friends would add to the guest list. More space would be needed and these extra visitors would become extra labor.
This would go on until Labor Day weekend and the beginning of cooler temperatures and a new school year. Many lake cabins would close down for the season then but some would stay occupied for late fishing and hunting. With snowmobiling becoming popular in the 1960s, some cabins began to have some winter usage.
The Casareto family sold their lake cabin to the National Park Service in 1977. They continued to occupy it under a 25 year lease agreement. In 1988 they sold the remainder of their lease to another family. In 2002 the cabin became vacant. The Casareto Summer Cabin will remain the responsibility of the National Park Service. Rehabilitation to the cabin, of buildings and grounds has been completed. Interpretive media are planned.
Last updated: April 17, 2018