History Anchored in Riverboat Lore
Anchor Inn Resort got its start in 1921 as a hunting lodge owned by William Osufsen. In 1946 the resort was purchased by Ray and Nellie Chaplain. They operated the resort until 1968 when it was purchased by Kitty and Naomi, the first generation of the Kitterman family to own Anchor Inn Resort. Bud and Gin Kitterman, son of Kitty and Naomi, along with their children continued the family tradition of providing great Minnesota vacations Hoosier-style, until January, 2022, when Monte & Heather Chapman purchased the resort. Contact Heather and Monte today for information about a stay at Anchor Inn Resort and experience their legendary hospitality for yourself.
The following July 26, 1939 article printed in the “Grand Rapids Herald Review” gives interesting insight in Anchor Inn’s early days.
“Up In This Neck of the Woods”
People who build and operate summer resorts sometimes have difficulty in finding an attractive name which will mean something to their patrons, and bring them back again. When William Osufsen wanted to entertain hunters and fishermen, quite a number of years ago, he had little difficulty in selecting a suitable name, for the material was in the ground, or rather on the shore, waiting for him. Mr. Osufsen bought a tract of land between Little Sand lake and Rice lake, on the upper waters of the Bigfork river, intending to establish a hunting lodge there.
As he looked over his property, Mr. Osufsen found a huge anchor, one which had been used by a logging company to anchor their steamboats used on Bowstring and Sand lakes for towing logs. The anchor, weighing several hundred pounds, had been abandoned when the biggest steamboat, the “Elijah Price” had been pulled out on the bank and left to fall into decay. This was after the most of the big pine in that part of the county had been cut and floated down the Bigfork river to mills along the Rainy river. Struck by the possibilities of the anchor, Mr. Osufsen hauled it home, erected a handsome scaffold to hold the anchor clear of the ground, and attached a sign “Anchor Inn,” which has since remained the name of his place.
The site now occupied by Anchor Inn has been used by human beings for hundreds of years. This column carried a story about a year ago of the exploration of Indian mounds on the Osufsen property. Incidentally the mound has been named the “Osufsen Mound” by the University of Minnesota. It was declared the richest and best mound studied last year by the archaeologists of the university. Later than the mound builders were the Indians who used the waters of the lakes and connecting streams as a highway.
For the first few year, when roads were often poor, most of the guests at Anchor Inn came during the hunting seasons, September and October for ducks, and in November for deer and bear. As the roads got better and more tourists sought distant places for a summer vacation, there came to be a better demand for accommodations during the summer months, until now that is an important season at Anchor Inn. Fishing is good in Sand lake, and in numerous other lakes not far away, and the cottages under the trees at Anchor Inn have a large number of occupants during the hot weather.
Squaw lake has been termed the best lake for duck hunting in Minnesota. That may be, but the men who hunt Rice lake, just north of Anchor Inn, believe that their lake ranks a close second. There is always a wild rice crop of some sort, and most years a very heavy one. Prospects are good this year for plenty of wild rice, which means lots of wild ducks. Rice lake and the swamps nearby are good duck breeding grounds. There is plenty of natural cover, an abundant of feed, and protection during the nesting season from poachers.
Bill, as Mr. Osufsen is know to hundreds of duck hunters, is not only a good hunter, but a student of nature. He believes in conservation of wild ducks, and watches them on the nesting grounds. This year there were two brooks of mallards and three broods of teal hatched within sight of his boat landing. The ducks are now of good size and have gone out into the lake. Mr. Osufsen is a firm believer in the one buck provision for deer hunters, if it could be applied to the entire state, and urges his hunters to save the does and fawns when they are at Anchor Inn for the big game season.
In a few weeks, the Indians will again return to Rice lake, to gather their share of the crop of wild rice. Some Indians have allotments on the shore of the lake, on the west side, where they live the year round, others come by boat and canoe from Inger and camp on the lake shores while gathering the crop.
Anchor Inn Resort
Kitterman Family Celebrates 50+ Years Ownership of Anchor Inn Resort
In May 2021, Anchor Inn Resort opened for its 100th year of continuous operation with 53 years of Kitterman Family ownership. On the banks of the Bowstring River, Anchor Inn opened in 1921 when William Osufsen constructed a hunting lodge to draw customers to the northwoods where they could enjoy opportunities to hunt plentiful waterfowl, deer, bear, and ruffed grouse. He soon extended the resort’s open season with much-sought-after fishing for walleye, northern pike, crappie, bluegill, and perch. The “resort bridge” at the junction of the Bowstring River and what is now County Road 4 became a well-known place for excellent fishing. Thru the years, the bridge has been replaced several times and it continues to be a hotspot for fishing and catching of all species. Guests return year after year to enjoy the geography of the chain of lakes here that provides a variety of fishing structure, lake size and shelter from changing weather conditions.
In 1946, the Chaplain family purchased and operated the resort. Then in 1968, the resort was purchased by Howard and Naomi Kitterman who moved to northern Minnesota from Indiana to pursue their love of the area and offer Hoosier Hospitality to their guests. That tradition continued with 53 years of Kitterman family and three generations of ownership. The facilities and charm of the original lodge and several of the cottages maintain the character of the original days with modern day upgrades to ensure today’s needs of customers are met. Over the years, additional cottages have been added to allow more people the opportunity to experience the charm of the Chippewa National Forest. The building and finish carpenter skills of the Kitterman family are evident in the facilities today.
In January 2022, Heather & Monte Chapman purchased the resort. They are excited to continue the legendary hospitality Anchor Inn is known for while adding their personal touch to the resort.