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Our Story

Population:  2,141                          

Median Age:  56.1

Median Income:  $50,806

Area:  36.89 square miles

Most Common Industry:  Construction, Retail Trade, Manufacturing 


The Cross Lake community is located about thirty-two miles north of Brainerd.  It is called “Cross Lake” because the lake from which it takes its name is crossed by currents of two rivers, forming a cross.  In the 1930’s the Crosslake Chamber of Commerce pronounced Crosslake “the beauty spot of Minnesota” and it is still true today.

The Sioux and Chippewa Indians lived here in the early times using the lakes and rivers as travel highways.  They fished the waters and hunted the woodlands.

Logging was at its peak at the turn of the last century, Crosslake Lumber Company Headquarters, at one time, housed up to 1,400 men.  The logging headquarters were located just east of Cross Lake.   A railway was established to haul logs from the Longville area, south to Cross Lake where logs were deposited.  The headquarters operation took up about 200 acres.  The logging industry flourished until about 1912 when the logging companies moved on and the railroad closed down.

Most of the logs were Norway and White pine.  Some of the logs contained 12,000 feet of lumber; sometimes thirty million feet of logs would go down river in one drive.  Delivered by water they put the logs in the lake and then floated them down the rivers in booms.  Then by train they put the logs on the cars and took them directly to the cities.

The government built the first wooden dam, Pine River Dam, in 1899 to regulate the height of the water to transport the logs.  Later it was replaced by a concrete dam. 

Many of the early settlers came to work in the logging industry and stayed on, responsive to the beauty of the lakes and potential for fishing, hunting and recreation.  One of the early industries of Cross Lake was fishing.  Some of the early settlers fished for market.  By 1934 the leading industry in Cross Lake was resorts.  Tourism is still the leading industry, but many resorts are selling out as more people own their own cabin on a lake.

The Pine River Dam in Crosslake — which controls the level of the entire Chain, at the US Army Corps of Engineer's Cross Lake Recreational Area, is at the heart of the city of Crosslake's history.  This federal campground is the site of the first settlement in the area, which was followed by Indian trading, logging and then as an area of resorts. 


Today the city covers 37 square miles, with over one-third of this area covered by water and over 121 miles of shoreline.  Crosslake is home to just over 2,000 permanent residents, but 60% of the community's housing units are only used seasonally, during the summer the population spikes to over 15,000.

The City of Crosslake exemplifies Minnesota's "up-north" environment and lakeside flavor.  From log furniture in the hotels to unique art stores and fabulous lakeside dining or golf, Crosslake boasts a vibrant and growing business community eager to greet visitors and residents alike.  Crosslake is a place with a small city feel, where you can view the stars in the night sky and where people know their neighbors and love the peace and quiet found here.  When people talk about Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, Crosslake is at the heart of that expression.  This is a sportsmen’s paradise; there is a lot to enjoy here in any season, not just summer.

Learn more about Crosslake's history at the Historical Log Village, across the street from the Corp of Engineers Campground.  Each building at this museum-like site offers a "stop-and-listen" system in which you push a button to listen to a recording about the specific site.

Crosslake is especially proud of their high-speed communication capabilities connecting residents with the world.  A natural gas line runs through town and the city will soon be installing a sanitary sewer system.  Protecting the environment is important here and the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association (WAPOA) in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources, Soil & Water District and others are doing an outstanding job of caring for the lakes.

Community celebrations such as Winterfest, the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and Celebrate Crosslake Days draw in thousands of visitors annually.  Watching the 4th of July fireworks from a boat on Cross Lake is also something not to be missed. The summer outdoor music series at Crosslake Town Square are a great way to end a day at the lake, too.  The community pulls together to present events which will promote the area while advancing economic and community development.  This is a forward thinking town with progress always on their mind.


Residents identified these specific assets in Crosslake

Natural Assets:

Up-guard Center conservation                 


“Beauty spot of MN”


Trees/woods/towering pines

150 acres of woods, lakes & trails @ Community Center

Ability to view night sky

Hunting land

Beaver dams

Part of major watershed system-Pine River

Huge lakes/lakes/rivers

Whitefish chain of lakes

Loons nest

Falls colors

Winter snow

Summer water

Spring fishing

Sunsets over the  water




Cultural Assets:



Passing on property & experiences


Many active & successful churches         

Retired people

Historical area   

Native heritage

Railroad Club



Human Assets:

High skill retired people/Retired professionals

Strong leadership



Excellent retail




Police/first responders

Last Generations music-local band

City council

Retired professionals



Sporting guides



Social Assets:

Festivals & events-St Patrick’s Day/Crosslake Days/Winterfest/Cardboard boat races

Flea market

Chamber of Commerce


Wood Carving Club

Music in the Park

Art show

Brainerd Lakes area events        

Tennis courts

Community garden

Antique & wooden boat show

Blood drive

Yacht club

Big, fun Tuesday for kids


Exercise group

Crosslake area historical events

Community garden


Political Assets:

Progressive city council                

County Commissioners

State Representatives

Crosslake Advisory Board




Chamber of Commerce


School Board

Planning & Zoning

Northland Press              


Financial Assets:

WAPOA Endowment fund

PAL Foundation/PAL calendar sales

Silent donors

Dru Sjodin Scholarship

4 banks

Local businesses

Lion’s Club scholarships

Wealthy landowners

Big donors-for specific projects

Fireworks donors




Built Assets:

Community Center

Crosslake Area Historical Society Village

Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway



Corp of Engineers Park

Bike, ATV & walking trails

Sanitary sewer

Crosslake Community Charter school

Fire Department

Route 66


Ball fields



Ski & snowmobile trails

Boat launches


Paved roads




1. Market/advertise the entire community and the assets using the city’s approved Comprehensive Plan.  Grow the community by promoting/increasing business development, attracting year around employment at liveable wages and provide affordable housing.  Keep community members involved and informed.

2. Focus on the Crosslake Community Charter School, grow the enrollment.  Draw in new families with 12 months of employment and affordable housing.  This is a wonderful place to raise a family.

3. Plan Community Development efforts:  

Visually improve the entry point of the city

Expand selection and type of medical services

Hold Community Development/public planning meetings bi-annually

Involve seasonal residents & keep them informed


For more information on the City of Crosslake and all it has to offer, visit: http://www.cityofcrosslake.org/

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