Fire destroys historic Lutsen Lodge

Fire destroys historic Lutsen Lodge

Fire destroys historic Lutsen Lodge

Officials with the historic Lutsen Lodge along Minnesota’s North Shore say the lodge building has been destroyed by an overnight fire.

Flames shot into the sky shortly after midnight at the lodge, located just off Highway 61/Voyageur Highway.

“It was devastating to watch — it engulfed the whole building, the windows went out, the oxygen, the roof was breached and you can’t stop it after that,” Edward Vanegas, the resort’s general manager, said.

According to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, a fire alarm notification for Lutsen Resort came into dispatch just before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, and resort staff reported seeing smoke coming from the lobby floor.

There were no guests on-site at the time, authorities add, and no one was injured.

More than half-a-dozen fire departments were brought in to battle the flames, as well as other agencies.

“When it was going, you just shield your face, it was hot,” Lutsen Fire Chief Steve Duclos said.

Duclos noted that many of those who tried to save the lodge have a strong connection to it.

“I used to work here, I met my wife here, we got another member who met his wife here,” Duclos said.

“The history of the resort in the community, when you think of Lutsen, you think of Lutsen Resort, it’s been here for so long,” Duclos added.

According to the Lodge, fires also broke out there in 1949 and 1951, but it was rebuilt on its original foundation. Lutsen Resort, which was built in 1885, remains the state’s oldest resort.

That history gives Vanegas hope.

“The history tells me we can,” Vanegas said of rebuilding. “The original family, the Nelsons, did that twice in their history in ’49 and ’51, and we are the newest caretakers and we can do it again, we will.”

“We’ll create new memories at the Lutsen Lodge, we’ll start memories all over again,” he added.

No word yet on what caused the fire, which is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal.

The Lutsen Lodge as seen in daylight following a fire on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. Credit: WDIO-TV