At one time The Land Of Ten Thousand Lakes had over 150 wood boat builders. Many date back to the early 1900’s. Alexandria Boat Works, however, can trace its roots back to 1885, making it the first boat building concern founded in Minnesota.
Erick G. Erickson, came to the United States from Sweden with his family in 1868 when he was 12 years old. By the time the family arrived in Alexandria it was too late to plant a garden, instead they went to work building a log cabin at their homestead on the shores of south Lake Ida in Douglas County. This was not too long after the Dakota Uprising in 1862 and there was an ever-present worry about the Indians becoming hostile.
In 1883 when Erick was 17 he decided there is an easier way to fish and proceeded to build his first boat. The neighbors were impressed and soon asked Erickson to build boats for them. He soon became known as “Boat Erickson”. The story of Alexandria Boat Works and it’s founder, are told through an interactive presentation in a setting of boatbuilding tools, machinery and vintage photographs.
Support for this exhibit provided in part by the Robin and Terry Niedenfuer family and the MLMM.