Lake Hanska Pioneer / Lake Hanska County Park

Lake Hanska Pioneer / Lake Hanska County Park (HM1IJZ)

Location: Hanska, MN 56041 Brown County
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Country: United States of America
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N 44° 7.376', W 94° 33.398'

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A Tribute to Ole Synsteby 1856 - 1942

Lake Hanska Pioneer
A Tribute to Ole Synsteby 1856 - 1942

     Ole Synsteby was born in Lesja, Gulbrandsdalen, Norway. In the summer of 1873, the Synsteby family migrated to the Lake Hanska area. In 1879 Ole purchased the land which is now designated as Lake Hanska County Park.

     The story of Ole Synsteby is a tale of a simple, humble, caring man who loved nature and his fellow man, and wanted to share the glories of nature with others. As he wrote: "Come to Fort Hill Park and enjoy the flowers, plants, animals and birds of God's world." The area of Norway he came from boasts some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the world and he did his best to transform the prairie lakeshore with his beloved trees and diligent plantings.

     Many of the trees in the park were planted by Ole. It was said of him that he could make an evergreen grow anywhere. He would stump the woods of northern Minnesota selecting trees to plant. One of his greatest passions was to share with others the beauty around Lake Hanska. He wanted everyone to share in his love for birds, animals and sunsets.

     Ole served in many civic capacities including county commissioner (1899 - 1903), mayor of the Village of Hanska and columnist for the Hanska Herald.

     Fort Hill Park opened to the public the summer of 1904. Fireworks, refreshments, boat races and baseball games entertained hundreds of area residents. In 1907 and 1908 there was a picnic at Fort Hill every Sunday. The amusement park was dismantled in 1927. As early as 1928 the idea surfaced that at some later date the Fort Hill area should be overseen by some public or civic body. It wasn't until 1975 that this became a reality through the Brown County development of Lake Hanska County Park.

Lake Hanska
County Park

From Ole Synsteby's 1933 writings:
"Interesting Tales of Pioneer Days"

"In 1872, I stood on top of the "Big Hill" on my (future) farm. It is one of the highest points in the township. And what did I see? Looking toward the south I saw great plain stretching as far as my eyes could reach, fading away in the dim horizon it was like an ocean. I didn't see a single house of any description, nor trees, except a low cottonwood somewhere in the direction of La Salle. Looking north it was the same, plains as far north as I could see but it was framed by Linden woods on the east, by the brush hills on the east end of Lake Hanska and the oak woods on the east side of Omsrud Lake."

Lake Hanska County Park includes 140 acres, 10,000 feet of shoreline, and several miles of hiking/ski trails. The surface area of Lake Hanska is approximately 1,800 acres.
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, December 28th, 2014 at 9:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 375455 N 4886704
Decimal Degrees44.12293333, -94.55663333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 7.376', W 94° 33.398'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 7' 22.56" N, 94° 33' 23.88" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)507
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 10977-11999 Co Hwy 11, Hanska MN 56041, US
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