Throwback: Basin Lake origin traced to 1896

From the Humboldt Journal files, Aug. 2, 1989

RM OF THREE LAKES — Martin Muller has provided the answer to one riddle of the St. Benedict-Middle Lake area: When did Basin Lake get its start?

[Editor’s note: A story about Martin Muller and his wife Rose’s 65th anniversary was published in the Humboldt Journal along with this story.]

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In 1890 that area northeast of St. Benedict was a mixture of bushes, sloughs and hay meadows.

In 1890 there was no lake.

In 1900 there was.

When did it happen?

Martin Muller wasn't in Canada when the lake got its start, for he did not get to Canada with his family until 1902. However, he was told on reliable authority that the lake got its start the same year that he was born — 1896.

That was the summer when a prolonged rain softened up the ground in the hollow where the lake is now. That allowed a spring to break through from an underground body of water under the neighboring hills.

It is known that at least two families had made hay that same summer in the meadows between the bushes: the Oleksyn family who lived to the northwest, and the Venne family who lived to the south.

The Vennes had already taken their hay out. The Oleksyns still had hay in the meadows when the long rain started. Both families had parked their hay machinery in the flat for next year's haying.

The Oleksyns were living close enough to hear the water running out of the new spring to form the new lake. By the time the rain let up the water was too high for either Oleksyns or Vennes to take their machinery out.

That machinery is still there.

It took several years for the lake to reach the level of the underground body of water, which has an underground overflow into the Carrot River Valley. Once Basin Lake reached its final level that underground overflow has control-led the level of both the underground lake and Basin Lake.

According to the Middle Lake history book, The Vintage Years, in the winter of 1901, at a time when the lake was still filling up, the trees were cut at the level of the ice and hauled to Wakaw for firewood. The lake continued to rise for several years, the final level well above those tree stumps.

Those tree stumps are still there, a hazard to fish nets and skin divers.

—Rev. Philip Loehr, OSB.

© Copyright Humboldt Journal

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