Several residents of Long Lost Lake have worked hard for several years to make the Levorsen Mill area into a small park in the forest with a little parking lot. It is on Perkins Road, just off McKenzie.
A somewhat younger Roger Hoglum proudly stands atop the sawdust pile at the Albert Levorsen Mill in 1947, as his two younger brothers look on. Located at the intersection of McKenzie Lake and Perkins roads near the northwest corner of the lake, the mill yard covered 25-30 acres. (The foundations and pilings are all that remain of the mill today.)
The mill began life in 1929-30 powered by a petrol engine. Apparently due to fuel considerations, the mill was refitted with a wood-burning steam engine in 1932-33. Powering both the saw mill and an electrical generator for lighting, the engine put out 200 horsepower turning a flywheel 11 feet in diameter. It was said the engine’s steam whistle could be heard for 20 miles.
In addition to the saw mill building and workers cabins, a number of other functional buildings graced the yard. The mess hall served 13 people at a time, usually requiring two to three shifts for each meal. The horse barn turned into a dance hall on weekends providing many “good times” for the workers. An ice house kept blocks of ice sawn from the lake. Insulated by sawdust, the ice lasted through the summer. Roger fondly recalls Albert reaching into a barrel in the mess hall which served as its refrigerator to make Roger and his brothers sandwiches.
Levorsen died in 1969. Those who knew Albert recall him as a “very nice man”. The cabins for both Albert (Haney, then Ditterick) and his son Lorren (Kuphal) were victims of the rising lake level, although the chimney of Lorren’s cabin is preserved and can be seen on Kuphals’ point.
The Levorsen Mill sawed its last log in 1957. Today, the mill’s steam engine is on outdoor display at the Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers Village on the north end of Itasca State Park. Many pictures of the mill operations can be seen at the Levorsen Logging Memorial Building in the village. Construction of that building was funded by son Lorren, who has since passed away.
By Peter Hovde with assistance from Roger Hoglum, volunteers at Pioneer Famers village, and Bob Bilden, Jr.