Share your voice online. We welcome your comments and suggestions! Visit: https://bertramcol.mysidewalk.com/posts/5842/concept-plan
Friends ~ Please weigh in on the Concept Master Plan for the Athletic Complex at Bertram. Share your voice online by…
Beach Parking Update / Walking Trail to Beach: I know there has been some confusion about how to get to the Bertram…
We’re happy spring is here and we need your Spring Photos for our Capture the Seasons Photo Contest! Please visit…
Mark your calendars for Spring Cleanup at Bertram ~ Volunteers Needed! Will meet at the South Entrance parking lot at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 2nd. Email for details at firstname.lastname@example.org. ☼
In the previous tidbit, Farms II, I mentioned that the farmers who owned and operated the Bertram Lakes land were stewards or “trustees” of the land. As we enter the final stages of the purchase of this land, we must remind ourselves of this stewardship. I recently came across a quote that is very fitting for us. It reads as follows:
As we enter our own stewardship, let us remind ourselves that we need to preserve, protect, and improve when we can so that future generations can enjoy the land also.
The First Annual Photo Contest was a Success! We received over 60 entries in 5 categories. Many amazing photos were submitted and the judging was extremely difficult but the votes are in and the winners have been announced! Shown below are the winning photos. Click on the tabs in the drop down menu to view all photos submitted in each category!
Thank you to all who participated in this event. We love your photos and are looking forward to making this an annual event!
A $3.8 million, 164-acre acquisition successfully closed on June 5, 2014, bringing the park total to 721 acres. The purchase was made possible with $2.2 million in grant funding and additional match funding from Wright County and the City of Monticello.
The next acquisition of 80 acres is slated for 2015. The estimated cost is $2.3 million with $1.4 million coming from grant funding.
With the closing of the latest acquisition, the county and city will now own the beach at Bertram Lake and the 12-acre parcel where the YMCA intends to build its new Day Camp Manitou. The YMCA will operate Camp Manitou on the county and city property through the end of the 2014 season and will transition over to their new camp for the 2015 season. The county and city will look into the options for opening the beach to the public after day camp hours. There are many issues that need to be resolved prior to opening the beach; therefore, it is assumed the public opening of the beach will commence in 2015. Furthermore, the city has secured grant funding to begin Phase I of the Athletic Complex sometime in 2015.
Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC) will continue building the single track mountain bike trails in the park this summer. Currently MORC volunteers are working to reroute and rebuild a 10-mile mountain bike loop open to non-motorized use; however, it is expected that the trails will grow to 14 miles. MORC volunteers work on the trails in the park on Wednesday evenings through the summer. Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park is the one place in Wright County that offers mountain biking. The trails are signed and bikers are encouraged to test out the trails. The topography is fun to ride and there are a lot of great switches, so there can be challenging parts!
Once Bertram reaches its planned 1,050 land acres (1,200 acres including water bodies), it will become the largest regional park in Wright County!
Thanks to the hundreds of folks who came out for the
1st Annual Monticello Winter Block Party
Friends of Bertram Snow Sculpting Event!
Although it was a bit chilly, there were four snow sculptures carved on the front lawn of the Community Center and lots of warm conversation and fun inside the building.
Snow sculptures were judged with cash prizes going to
1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners!
Kids snowman building contest winner received an
MCC Gift Card and Certificate!
This was a great event for introducing and updating the Monticello Community on the growing park and its activities.
Hope to see you next year!
In an earlier Tidbit, I mentioned there were nine farms located on the Bertram Lakes property that were acquired, over time, by the Y.M.C.A. One of the last that was purchased was located on the east side of Briarwood Avenue a quarter mile north of 90th Street, and was known as the Oscar Kiebel Farm.
The house itself has an interesting history because it was an early version of the “pre-fab” houses, although in today’s terms it really wasn’t.
80 to 90 years ago, Sears and other companies were creating what was referred to as “Railroad Houses”. There were several designs to choose from but the basic concept was the same. All of the pieces of the house were pre-cut and marked to indicate what it was and where it went. For example, boards were marked as joists, rafters, studs, etc., and were numbered to show their position. A master plan showed where each board went and the carpenters or home owner simply followed the diagram.
At the factory after each house was cut and marked, it was packaged and sent by the railroad to the town nearest the final location of the home. In this case, it was shipped to the Monticello Railroad Depot to be picked up by the owner.
This house, in particular, served as the primary residence for the Oscar Kiebel family. This house is currently located near 90th Street, approximately one mile west of its original location.
Andrew H. Bertram was the eldest son of George Bertram. He was born July 15, 1842 in New York, New York. By 1862, after the Civil War broke out, he had answered the call to arms made by President Lincoln and enlisted in the Eighth Regiment, Company E of the Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.
Also, during that year came the outbreak of what has become known as the “Dakota War of 1862″. Andrew’s newly formed Company E was not sent to fight in the Civil War, as other volunteers were, but were sent to deal with the immediate crisis at home in Minnesota.
The following is an excerpt from Andrew’s poem written by him in 1878, as a tribute to his fellow volunteers. this portion of the poem covers only the period of time they spent in and around the Monticello and Bertram Lakes area.
We are ordered now to Ripley
Where we must learn the drill,
So we bid “Goodbye” to Snelling
And leave it with a will.
We then march to Monticello
Where our tents are quickly set
The circumstance of which, I think
Our Citizens don’t forget —
We were led to tables groaning
With the weight of richest food,
Which we ate with keenest relish
For our fare had not been good.
We were grateful for the blessings
Our Mothers had prepared
But the way we showed our gratitude
Looked as though we never cared.
The first night we stole chickens
Which created quite a fuss
But we were not suspected,
They never thought ’twas Us.
So things continued daily
The Boys were out each night
Some came back quite early
Others at broad daylight.
But they never came back empty
A Turkey, Pig or Sheep,
So we drew most all our retirees
While the Farmers were asleep.
At last we received orders
To continue on our way
And the People of Monticello
Thanked the Lord that day.
In June of 1985, I began working for the YMCA supervising summer youth employment students ages 14-17. One of the tasks was to make sure the beach area was clean and well organized. The “Y” Day Camp used the beach, as well as a few weekend campers.
Next to the road that goes by the beach area was an old, hollowed out oak tree that was struggling to stay alive. As stated in an earlier tidbit, “Cecropia Moth”, many old oak tress rot from the inside out, with the cambium layer still alive. This old oak tree was definitely hollowed out with a couple of feet of sawdust chips in the center. Plus, there was one live branch growing out of the side that extended several feet into the air. This branch was still producing acorns and, in the past, one of them had fallen into the “sawdust” in the center of the tree. Miraculously, the acorn had taken root and was at least 7-8 feet tall!
Over the next two years, this old tree gave out and we had to cut down what was left of it. Without the old tree surrounding it, the new young oak grew stronger by itself and now, 40 years later, it is the magnificent tree that we can see and enjoy today (see picture at right)! But we must remember that nature renews itself in its own time and not in ours. Appreciate the tree for what it is, beauty, shade and renewal.
George Bertram was one of the founders of Excelsior, Minnesota, a town known for its history, both Native and Current.
But, what motivates a person who has become comfortable in the largest city in the United States, to gather his family and move to the “frontier”?
We cannot look inside the mind of the man but we can look at some of the historical events that may have influenced his decision.
1) The Traverse Du Sioux Treaty of 1851
As mentioned in a prior Tidbit, this treaty ceded to the United States Government most of the land of the current Minnesota from the Sioux. In so doing, the land was open for claim and settlement by the citizens of the United States. George must have seen this as a great opportunity, especially considering his religious views.
The era from 1825 – 1850 was a time of renewal and re-creation for religions in America, although the northern states still kept the basic community concept established by the Puritans and the Pilgrims. This concept held the belief that the community of the people and their faith was one and the same. George Bertram believed this and it was instrumental in his vision of Excelsior and eventually Monticello.
In the 1840’s two events were to affect George Bertram’s life. One was an expansion (railroads) and the other was an invention (sewing machine). Railroads (mostly privately owned) began opening up the frontier for settlement and George saw this as an opportunity to make his “dream” to create a new society come true. Couple this with Elias Howe’s invention of the sewing machine and he saw his chance. Remember, Bertram was a tailor and with the new sewing machine finding its way into the homes and factories, his livelihood was being threatened.
In 1952 Bertram made his way west, eventually landing in St. Anthony, Minnesota. From there he traveled west by ox cart and then boat to the west side of Lake Minnetonka where he made a government claim to 160 acres of land, later to become the city of Excelsior.
Upon his return to New York, Bertram began working on his plan to establish the Excelsior Pioneer Association and spent the winter of 1852-53 soliciting memberships. To be a member, the initial fee would be $8 and $1 per week dues for the next 8 months. Each member (male), self or family, was to be provided with a farm and one village lot of not less than 1 acre, selected by a drawing from the 160 acres.
In 1853 the Bertram’s arrived and built their home. George became the first president of the new “association” and church services were conducted in his home.
But, for various reasons that were speculated (religious, leadership, conditions, $, etc.) the Bertram’s moved back to St. Anthony in 1854. The town of Excelsior survived to become a thriving vacation spot for many years to come.