An article published in the Big Lake Herald and reprinted in the Sherburne County Star News reinforces what we have been documenting for some time: tourism was intended as a major industry in Sherburne County going back to the original settlement of the county. The article printed in 1907 reports:
Henry Ferguson, a resident of Wright county over forty years, at present of Big Lake, Sherburne County, dined at Brown’s Hotel in Big Lake May 7, 1855, and at the same hotel May 7, 1907, 52 years after only. Mr. Ferguson is in the eighty-second year and enjoying good health for which he is thankful. Brown’s hotel was located by Joseph Brown in June, 1847, and continued by his son, N. D. Brown, up to the present time, 60 years only.
Advertisement for Brown’s Hotel, as a place for fine fishing and a nice spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, were published as early as 1855. Still later, the railroads advertised excursion trains to Sherburne County to move passengers out of the city for a weekend of relaxation.
Clearly, entrepreneurs in Sherburne County saw the area as potentially significant to the tourism industry. The potential continues to this day with the development of the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge and the Sand Dunes State Forest.