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Museum Blog August 2018

August 22, 2018

The “Indian Woods” of Old Trondhjem Community

-By Merle Fossum

My father, Leif Fossum, often talked about the “Indian Woods” as he remembered his childhood growing up on a farm located next to the Woods.  I’ll tell you here about some of his memories. I wonder if any reader here knows about this history or has stories or information about it.

The Woods covered several hundred acres of virgin timber and a large wetland that he called the Cranberry Slough. It’s unclear why the woods was called “Indian Woods” because there were no Indians living there, although there had been a Dakota Indian village on the shore of Union Lake and another on Circle Lake just a few miles east.  This woods was located about two miles southeast of the historic church. It was south of the present Union Lake Trail and east of Garfield Avenue. When I asked Dad who had owned the Indian Woods, he was not clear about that, but I understood that it was owned by an investor… someone who did not live in the community.

Some of my father’s happy childhood memories were about hunting in the Indian Woods. His friend, Ole Berg, lived with his family in a cabin in the Woods. Ole and Dad hunted together there for squirrels and prairie chickens that they brought home for family meals.

There was a cartway or trail winding through the Woods. In the very early days of Norwegian settlement in this community, probably in the 1860’s or ‘70’s, a single man, a resident of Trondhjem, was found dead laying beside the trail.

Dad recalled that when he was four years old, his grandfather, Amund Fossum, died. Amund had a farm on the west side of the woods and Dad’s family lived on their farm on the east side. Dad’s vivid memory was that on the morning of his grandfather’s death, his father, John, carried him on his shoulders walking through the Indian Woods to Amund and Johanna’s home.

Today the “Indian Woods” no longer exists except in the stories that remain. If you as the reader of this blog have stories that come to mind, please contact me so we can collect and save them in the Trondhjem History Museum.


Cell phone: 612-987-9814


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