Des Moines Lake History

Des Moines Lake History

Des Moines Lake Name

Des Moines Lake was originally known as Sucker Lake.  In the early 20th century, lumber barons from Des Moines Iowa came to our area in search of white pine to build Victorian houses. Some of these businessmen, including those from the Gilcrest Lumber Company, built summer cabins around the lake. As time passed, the allure of crystal clear blue water and majestic landscape had brought more and more Iowa residents to the area. At some point, the name was changed to Des Moines Lake.

Des Moines Lake. Drone Photo by Jacob Juers

Brooks Resort

Brooks resort was owned by Elsie Brooks and was a well-known resort on the northwest side of our lake at one time.  There were six cabins to rent on a weekly basis.  Many lake residents who have bought cabins somewhere on our lake stayed at the resort when they were children.  The resort cabins are now individually owned.

The Cabaret

Ivan Johnson built the Cabaret and then sold it around 1958.  He is doing the “Snowshoe Dance” to commemorate the sale.