Sunday, November 07, 2010

Bronson Dam

April 1936 - Construction on the dam begins! (Photo Courtesy:  Ron Johnson)
Kittson County is naturally lakeless1, which seems odd in a state nationally recognized for its abundant water supply. In the early 1930s, as the Great Depression continued to greatly depress everyone, Kittson County was drier than usual, the region suffering through a terrible drought. As wells dried up and crops withered, officials concluded the county needed a safety net, a water storage facility on the South Branch of Two Rivers, near Bronson (later Lake Bronson). For more than a year, supporters of the plan lobbied the federal and state government for funds for the project. One of the leading voices was the mayor of Bronson, O.T. Danielson. Danielson was joined in the effort by county engineer J.E. Dishington and several other prominent Kittson County residents. It was not until Clifford Bouvette became part of the chorus in early 1936, however, that major progress was achieved.

The newspaperman was then serving as mayor of Hallock, the county seat of Kittson County, roughly twenty miles northwest of Bronson. The mayor had powerful friends, including Floyd B. Olson, Minnesota's Democratic governor at the time, as well as Adolph Bremer, a St. Paul banker and the president of Schmidt Brewing Company - and a man who had Franklin Roosevelt's ear. While Olson set up state funding for the project, Bremer secured a meeting between Bouvette and the president. The vocal Democrat from Hallock greatly impressed the chief executive, receiving a White House blessing and federal dollars for construction of a reservoir dam. By early April 1936, construction equipment was moving toward the dam site on the South Branch of Two Rivers.

From Minnesota Treasures: Stories Behind the State's Historic Places

1 - This inaccuracy continues for some reason - it is not true...