Friday, February 27, 2009

Rolf Hugenvik, Poplar Lake Summer Home- 1925-2009

Ina Hugenvik- Rolf Hugenvik (Huggie) was born in 1925 and served in the Army during WWII. While stationed in the Philippines, he saw a picture in a Sunday news magazine of a northern lake with blue sky and pointy evergreen trees. He wrote his mother that he would like to have a cabin some day on a lake like that. Fast forward to 1948: His parents happened to know Doc Remple’s wife and somehow made it to the Gunflint Trail to visit her. Doc showed Huggie the lots he had for sale, completely wooded over with downed trees, brush and raspberry bushes but with plenty of those pointy trees as well as a big pine or two. Huggie could see there was an island in front of the lot and possibly a view to the east and so he thought this would be a good location, if he could get it cleared enough to erect a simple shack for hunting and fishing. Later Remple sent a note that a professor from Iowa was interested in buying some land but Huggie and his mother, Dora, had first choice. Dora sent the money, $800.00 for 200 feet of shoreline at $4.00 a foot. A lot of money in 1948. His sister, Ninnia, bought the adjoining lot to the west for, I think, $5.00 a foot because it was lower and closer to the water. The professor from Iowa (Keitha Herron’s father) bought a different lot west of the Huggenvik spot.

The rest is known history. The following year, with no experience in building anything except a car, Huggie started clearing space enough to erect a simple 16’ x 30’ cabin, buying supplies wherever he could get them, carrying them through the woods on his back or rowing them over in Remple’s boat. He had minimal tools - hammer, handsaw, drawknife, but no ladder. He eventually made a ladder out of small logs. A friend, Al Anderson, from Northfield, helped occasionally and Dora came up to cook. Eventually the mosquitoes were so bad that Huggie sent her home.

The following year he built a similar cabin for his sister Ninnia, on the lot she and Bob, her husband, had purchased. The cabin was furnished with leftovers from home, stuff that was no longer needed or wanted at his parent’s house, or he built emergency items such as a bed, shelves, a booth for eating by the big window looking into the woods. An oil drum-like stove provided heat and a two burner white gas stove was used for cooking. No refrigerator. No running water unless you consider running to the lake with a bucket to be that convenient. Bath time? Go jump in the lake.

Sixty years later, after many additions, renovations, changes, additional small buildings and more land behind the original lot, Huggie decided his quilt (his term for the cabin and site) was finished and turned over the responsibility for it to his four children who had been co-owners for many years.

Huggie was diagnosed with glimo blastome, an inoperable, incurable brain tumor in July of 2008 and died at his Green Valley home January 26, 2009.


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