The Douglas County Historical Society in Alexandria is full of memories. I found this remembrance of summer life in Alexandria in an old publication titled ‘How the Lakes Were Named’.
With only narrow bars of land separating Lake L’homme Dieu from Lake Carlos and Lake Carlos from Lake Darling (Big and Little), this area between these lakes has always been known as Three Havens. It was first platted by L.T. Brown, and probably named by him. His name appears on most deeds to the area. In 1881, Mr. Brown built a castle-like home for his family on Lake Winona near Alexandria. This home was the social center of the town. The Browns entertained governors, and many VIPs when they visited Alexandria. The property is now occupied by Our Lady of Mercy Hospital. Or you can drive to Highway No.3 (old Garfield Road) on the Lake Louise Road to the bridge and pass Camp Preston, an early resort, now called Viking Trail. I drove there the other day and it brought back the many times we college girls would start out with three or four boats powered by the old “rope crank” Evinrudes, from our house on L’Homme Dieu Bay; go into Big L’Homme Dieu then Carlos and Darling, Little and Big, and under the bridge through the creek which was usually so choked with pond lilies that we would have to get out and push the boats through to Lake Cowdry. We didn’t wear shorts then so it was quite a chore. From Cowdry we went on to Brophy to Mud and Fish Lake, and to the island where a kind old gentleman from St. Louis lived and had a fine pump. How we would guzzle that clear cold artesian water, then we would eat our picnic lunch. Or for a variety, we would go the other way, from Lake L’homme Dieu to Lake Geneva, and through the tunnel under the Great Northern Railroad to Lake Victoria and, if we had time, on to the other lakes. But usually we stopped at the lovely big cottage of the Van Cleaves, called Sylvan Home, on Lake Victoria. They had a screen porch on all sides and what dances and parties we had there! It is called Lilac Lodge now. Or turning left on the Brown’s Point Road are a group of cottages and homes. Further down the shore we reach the well-known and long established Ballentine Camp.
Note in this remembrance the reference of “Big L’homme Dieu”. What we all now refer to as L’homme Dieu Bay used to be called Little Le Homme Dieu.