It was mid October 2015 and The Troutbirders were off on another field trip with Historical Adventure & Travel Tours. President John Grabko has spent 30 years within the fields of history, tourism and recreation. He is fulfilling a life-long dream and passion of sharing America's story and past with "adventure travelers" of all ages. On this occasion were heading off to see the spectacular fall colors in Northern Minnesota, visit the "Lost Forty, and travel back in time to see a nineteenth century lumber camp, the Hinckley Fire Museum and Judy Garlands childhood home in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Let's Go!!!
The lumber boom in Northern Minnesota in the late 1800's saw much of pine forest eliminated. Slash left from logging operations accumulated till forest fires wrecked havoc. One, the Hinckley fire, saw 5 towns destroyed in a "perfect storm" of drought, high winds, rampaging fire and hundreds of deaths. A visit to the Hinckley museum told the story.
Before the fire:
Hinckley was a booming logging town, with a sizeable sawmill, hotels, restaurants and more than a thousand residents.
Hinckley had a volunteer fire department, complete with a new fire hall and modern firefighting equipment.
But they were no match for the firestorm and were forced to flee, searching alongside their neighbors for ponds, rivers or any water at all to escape the fire.
The firestorm over four miles high could be scene hundreds of miles to the south as far as Des Moines, Iowa...........
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