National Geographic : 1949 Sep
The National Geographic Magazine Tree-ring tabulations show that these trees, really tops, average 73 years old! In scouting for new Christmas tree lands, Mr. Halvorson uses a plane. All four mem bers of his family fly. Minnesota is a great flying State. Charles A. Lindbergh, first to fly the Atlantic alone, lived as a boy at Little Falls where a State memorial park commemorates his father, a crusading Congressman. On a trip to the valley of the Red River of the North, in northwest Minnesota, we talked to E. M. Saul, of Crookston, one of many flying farmers and businessmen. In fall he flies to Montana for grizzly and antelope hunting. In winter he may wing to the Rio Grande to pick up ideas on alfalfa growing, and on to Mexico and Guatemala for a vacation. At Crookston is one of the State's agri cultural schools, branches of the University of Minnesota, which teach boys and girls scientific farming and homemaking. Others are at Waseca and Grand Rapids. For six months the students go to school and for six they work on the farm. This fertile valley is a bread-and-butter land. Prominent in town after town are grain elevator and creamery. Forests replaced farms as we swung north east to Warroad on Lake of the Woods, gate way to the farthest-north point in the 48 States, Minnesota's Northwest Angle.* Fresh-water Cod Yield Vitamins At Baudette on the Rainy River, which forms the international boundary, we stopped at a neat white pharmaceutical plant-sur prising, way up here in the woods. Its story is even more so. Stocky, blue-eyed Ted Rowell, who runs this vitamin factory, was the son of a local fisherman. As soon as he was big enough to go fishing, he became acquainted with the repulsive-looking fish known as the burbot, which lives in Lake of the Woods and other northern lakes. Fishermen cut their lines to get rid of the light-brown, smelly, slimy, snaky-looking things, and cussed them be cause of their appetites for good game fish. "The burbot," says Mr. Rowell, "is very voracious and a powerful swimmer. It can swallow headfirst a northern or a walleyed pike. I've seen the tail of a one-pound north ern sticking out of the mouth of a five-pound burbot." As a boy, he noted that some of his Scan dinavian neighbors fried and ate the livers of burbots, then drank a saucerful of the oil. These people seemed especially healthy, with good teeth and high resistance to colds. Eventually, Ted was graduated in phar macy from the University of Minnesota and came back to open a drugstore in Baudette. By this time he knew that the burbot is a fresh-water cousin of the cod; its cream colored liver is large-as much as 10 percent of the fish's weight. He had the liver oil tested. Back came the report: seven to eight times as rich in vitamins as cod-liver oil! Young Rowell and his father went into the burbot-liver oil business. Today their Burbot Liver Products Company processes a million livers a year and sells vitamin pills and oil capsules on a nationwide scale. Now mayor of Baudette, Ted was on the phone when we called. "I'm all excited today," he said as he hung up. "For five years we've been trying to build a hospital here, and now we're all set!" Trees of North Become Paper Farther on, at International Falls, a tower ing smokestack suddenly appeared after miles of border wilderness. Here the Minnesota and Ontario Paper Company, running 24 hours a day, makes paper and insulation board from one of the largest woodpiles in the world (page 308). Driving southward for hours through sec ond-growth forests, we crossed the Great Laurentian Divide, where a split raindrop would send part of its waters to the border lakes and the Arctic Ocean, some to the Atlantic via the Great Lakes, and part to the Gulf of Mexico. At Virginia, Ray Glumack, ex-Navy pilot, runs Northeast Airways, Inc. In winter he goes wolf hunting by plane (page 329). Since this was summer, he invited us to fly in to a lonely lake "many miles from the nearest human being" and spend the night in a tent. "It's Big Lake on this map," he said, "but we call it Tacklebuster Lake." Here even I caught a northern pike, and with Ray as guide we prowled thick under growth until we found a long-abandoned cabin he had spotted from the air. Newspapers pasted on the walls were dated 1915 and 1916. Women's shoes, a rocker, and toys showed a family had lived in these deep woods where every article must have had to be lugged many miles by canoe or dog team. Why had they come and where had they gone? Was iron ore the magnet? Or a timber claim? Or furs? Or had this mys terious family buried itself in the big woods * See "Men, Moose, and Mink of Northwest Angle," by William H. Nicholas, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, August, 1947.