Three workers on a local WPA historical project No
HISTORY OF OLD SHOTLEY
3769 made a trip through the Shotley district for the
purpose of gathering historical data and in the course of
their work they uncovered some very interesting facts
concerning the history of Shotley Brook Village or Old
Shotley as it is more commonly known. Few persons realize
that there is a “ Ghost Town” within such an easy driving
distance of Bemidji Minnesota.
The history of this deserted village dates back to about
1900 when Christopher F. Rogers first arrived in that region
for the express purpose of erecting a fish warehouse. Mr.
Rogers, who was in the employ of the Booth Fish Co.,
expected to buy large quantities of fish from the natives to
be shipped to the markets at which this firm had its
headquarters. But, the hopes of Mr. Rogers and the fish
company failed to materialize and Mr. Rogers decided to
make the most of his misfortune and in the end had the
original lands platted into a town site, calling the place
Shotley Brook, after the river that bordered the land,
According to the records on file at the Register of Deeds
Office, the original town site was platted in 1904 in section
10 of Shotley Township on the Southeast Shore of Upper
Red Lake. It consisted of 37 acres and was platted out into ten
blocks. The records indicate that the owner of the town site
was Christopher F. Rogers.
According to the information furnished by Otto E. Berg
of Shotley, who besides being a captain of a steamboat that
plied the waters of the Red Lakes was also the first town clerk
of Shotley township, the little village was visited by many of
the later settlers of the district, who stopped for supplies
at the Rogers “stopping place” before continuing their travel
to the homestead lands that they had secured. Since
lumbering activities were at their height at just about this
time, the place was a favorite resting place for the
lumberjacks on their way to and from logging camps that
dotted the neighboring area at that time.
According to Mr. Berg, while Mr. Rogers operated the
saloon nearby, Mrs. Rogers operated the hotel or “stopping
place”. Mr. Rogers did a large volume of business and with
the money he accumulated he improved his dream city by
adding new buildings. Several other people came to town to
start business, and included in this group were Chas. Larson
who opened a general merchandise store, and John Dryhaug,
who opened a saloon and hotel. In order to establish himself
in the wilderness, Chris Rogers borrowed $6,000 from a
sister in Chicago, according to the recollection of Mr. Berg,
and erected a large livinghouse for his family with the
The town apparently was a busy little place, for
according to Mr. Berg, the town consisted of two hotels,
two “saloons” a general merchandise store and a sawmill and
shingle mill. The sawmill and shingle mill had been
established a short time after Mr. Rogers arrived and did a
brisk business, employing a fair sized crew of men. Most of
the business men came from Crookston or Thief River Falls,
practically all coming in by means of boat.
Jacob Dyrhaug owner of the other saloon in Old Shotley
later became postmaster and served until he was drowned
following a party. Mrs. Dyrhaug became the postmistress
following her husbands death and served in that capacity
for a number of years.
Besides being a valuable historical setting, it presents a
most desirable spot for a campground or resort. Now the
present location of ROGERS' campground and R.V. park.
This web page created by Jerry and Joani Barthel
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