Stories of Voyageurs National Park
Many stories have been told from the shorelines within Voyageurs. A wide variety of stories can be found in the park's research library and museum collections, but a few have been provided for your enjoyment.
The Story of I.W. Stevens
Ingvald Walter Stevens was born in Vang, Valdres Norway in 1885 and immigrated to the U.S. at age 19. In 1932 he purchased a 400-acre island in what is now Voyageurs National Park. “Steve,” as he became known, lived alone year round on the island for nearly fifty years and became a symbol of self-sufficiency and independence.
He heated his cabin with wood, grew his own vegetables, ground wheat and baked his own bread, read by gaslight, hauled water from the lake, in the winter chopping through thick ice. Civilization was 16 miles by boat or four miles on skis. An Associated Press article in 1977 made him a celebrity for awhile. A prolific writer, Stevens answered letters, wrote articles for outdoor magazines and kept a daily diary. He left Namakan Lake in 1979 at the age of 94 and lived to be 104.
A recent cultural landscape study details a span of time as preserved in the locations, artifacts, and history found in a specific area. Landscapes change and evolve over time, and reconstructing how an area or community existed in the past is a key challenge to preserving cultural history. Voyageurs is developing cultural landscape studies that represent distinct time spans and locations found throughout the park and its history.
Last updated: May 4, 2018