Anton Mahlum came to America from Norway in 1869 and came to Brainerd in 1870. He worked at different jobs in sawmills and for the railroad. He also bought and sold Lumberman's Clothing and Lake Superior Herring.
In 1875 he bought land in the Red River Valley for $1.25 per acre which he sold for $2.50 an acre, "Turning a nice profit," in his words.
In 1877-78 he worked as a clerk with the Northern Pacific Railroad and was also married.
In 1887 he was appointed City Clerk until 1888, when he was elected to the Register of Deeds office and served for 10 years. He was then elected to the County Auditor's office where he served for eight years.
In 1899 he bought the Sugar Bush at North Long Lake consisting of 669 acres, with an option to buy an additional 550 acres, which I believe he did at a later date.
My brother-in-law, Jim Halloran, and I went to the office of the Register of Deeds to find out whom Anton Mahlum bought the land from. After examining the records, we learned that Anton had purchased the land on September 15, 1899 from the heirs of Ignatius Hole in the Day who was a daughter of Chief Hole in the Day II. Chief Hole in the Day had been given the land by the federal government in one of the early treaties.
Boundaries of the property extended from a distance almost to Highway 371 on the West, in two miles to the Round Lake North Long Lake Creek, and Round Lake on the North, to North Long Lake on the South. This land included Weaver's point and continued on for two miles of land on the North side of the big lake.
Anton sold 100 acres on the west end of the property to John L. Smith. Anton plotted 35 lots on Round Lake which he sold to Thorpe Brothers of Minneapolis; and he also plotted additional lots on Round Lake of which my mother, Dolly Mahlum, was given three 100-foot lots. I remember one lot she sold near the junction of County Roads 115 and 127. The land was low; but a man came to our house and offered her $100.00 for the lot. The terms were $20.00 down and $10.00 a month payments until paid, and no interest. She was very happy to take the deal. That same land today is probably worth $30,000 or more.
She also gave me a lot on Round Lake on which my wife Betty and I had a basement home built. We lived there for the first two years of our married life, 1948 to 1950.
There were eight children in the Mahlum family which included Charles, Bert, Jim, Millicent, Carrie, Edna, Howard, and Dolly who was my mother.
In the late 1930s, the brothers Charlie, Bert, and Howard constructed a building on the north side of the Big Lake where they could collect the sap from the maple trees. They boiled the sap to make the maple syrup. This was a 24 hour job the spring of March and April. The Mahlum land was basically hardwood trees, both maple and oak. During an average season they could make up to 400 gallons of maple syrup which later on Howard would sell to customers for $4.00 per gallon. Their equipment was later sold to the Madden Brothers where it was displayed at Lumbertown.
The Chippewa Indian Tribes, during the early 1800s, traveled to the land between Round and North Long Lakes to collect sap and make maple syrup. Therefore, the land was first known as "The Hole in the Day Sugar Bush," and later came to be known as "The Mahlum Sugar Bush."
Anton Mahlum died in 1926 and Grandma Britta Mahlum died during the 1930s. The remaining land was divided into eight parcels, listed on slips of paper numbered from 1 to 8, and drawn out of a container. Most of the parcels of land were on the north side of the Big Lake and averaged 900 feet of lake frontage and about a half mile deep. My mother's piece was 500 feet on Big Lake and 300 feet on 371 Bay. She later sold the 500 foot piece for $4,000 and kept the smaller piece which my wife Betty and I now own.
We now have 400 feet of lake front located between Weaver's Point and Gary Villwock, with about 20 acres of back land which includes 700 feet of frontage on Crow Wing County Highway 115.
I am the last survivor of the Mahlum Family that still owns any of the Mahlum land which we have had since 1899. Our family will be celebrating the millennium because we have had our lake property in the Mahlum and Alderman families for "one hundred years," from 1899 to 1999, and more.
This completes my memory of the Mahlum property as of today, December 28, 1999.
(Jim Alderman is a Brainerd resident in the winter and a North Long Lake resident in the summer.)
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