The Bruska Story

The land on the Northwest corner of Lake Charlotte is a peninsula between the Lake
and a portion of the North Bay. This is part of the Bruska farm and is a resort like area.
The tree covered land slopes gently down to the water and an excellent beach. There is a
variety summer cabins on the land. The entrance is off Garrison Avenue through a one
way trail winding among the trees. In the early days this was an enjoyable area plugged
in between the Furtney and the Hafner Resorts. A brief history of the Bruska farm from a
biography by August Bruska and interview with Olga and Ted Bruska follows:

Christian and Gottlieb Bruska and family emigrated from Prussia, Germany in 1869.
According to the story their original destination was South America. However they got
on the wrong ship and ended up in North America. Apparently Christian was the elder
and father of Gottlieb. Gottlieb’s wife Emilie and family were with him. It is interesting
to note that the officials in New York wanted to send Christian back because of his age.
The younger Gottlieb had to promise that he would care of him. They spent Christmas in
New York and their daughter Annie was born there December 29, 1869.

They moved to Indiana and eventually to Stevens Point, Wisconsin were they found
farming hard due the short growing season. Gottlieb’s two sons, August and Charlie
found employment in Wisconsin picking cranberries. In the winter they worked in the
lumber mills. In 1887 the family traveled by train to Spokane Washington to explore
farming possibilities there. When they got off the train they met Mr. Ludwig Shimmel
and Mr. Basia who had been farming there for three years. They had been unable to
raise a decent grain crop due to the cyclic rainfall. The family took the next train back
to Delano, Minnesota. Gottlieb heard of land near Beebe Lake for sale. He and son
Herman walked out to look at the land. They started the purchase on May 4, 1887. They
cleared the land of trees, stumps, brush etc. and built a log cabin. It appears that the land
they purchased was between Lake Charlotte and Lake Moore. John Boul took them in
while this work was being done. Boul’s claim was on the North side of Beebe Lake.
On July 4, 1887 the Bruska’s held a dance to celebrate their new home. Annie Bruska
married John Boul’s son Henry in 1888.

Gottlieb Bruska died on January 2, 1902. His son, Charles Bruska, (aka Karl,) was killed
in an accident on June 28, 1908. He was digging a drainage ditch when it caved in on
him. His wife, Mary, stayed on the farm with the four children. Emil 17, George 16,
Regina 14 and Clarence 1-1/2 years old.

Clarence Bruska died May 9, 1981 at the age of 73. Regina Bruska married Theodore
Hafner from the resort family on Lake Charlotte. They had a son, Vernon Hafner.
A picture published in the Wright County Historical Society paper, winter 2005, shows
Vernon and his cousin Art Duerr on working on a steam engine/.

George Bruska married Lily Reiffler in 1939 and continued living on the farm.
They had four children, Olga 3-10-1940; Lillian 8-15-1941, Theodore (Ted) 4-18-43,
Alvin 4-4-1945. Mrs. Bruska worked at the Girl Scout Camp during in the summer..
George started a small resort business on the shores of Lake Charlotte. The Hafner resort
Business had pretty much dried up with the low lake level in the 1930’s. One cabin
from the Furtney resort was moved to the Bruska shores and is in service today. Other
structures were moved in or built on site. The land and is leased from the Bruska’s.
as well as some of cabins, others are occupier owned. I was told that one of the buildings
was a former Hackenmueller shoe shop from the village of St. Michaels. That has not
been verified. Electric service is not available at this location. The living conditions are
somewhat primitive with out door toilets.

The Bruska’s charged a fee per car entering the resort area. The excellent beach drew
many swimmers from the nearby towns. By the late 1950’s and early 60’s the weekends
found many parties enjoying the outings. My children viewing the activities from across
the lake and the frequent visitation by a herd of cows labeled the area as cow beach.
Eventually the conflict between swimmers, boaters and water skiers in a small area
became untenable. Nonresident participation had to be discontinued. George died in a
tractor accident in 1964 while working near Moore Lake.

One event of interest that I was told about by both Earl Dixon and Ted Bruska was
as follows: In the 1950’s a small airplane was flying low over the lake to buzz some
girl scouts in a canoe. The pilot came to low and the wheels hooked the water. The
plane did a summersault into the water. Apparently the plane occupants were not injured.
The plane was floating on the surface. Ted said his dad brought a tractor and hooked a
line to the plane. When they started to pull it out the plane sank into the water deeper.
Finally a boat was used to pull the line over to keep the plane from sinking.

Olga Bruska now retired still resides on the original Bruska Farm on the north side of
Moore Lake. Lillian married Arvid Schroeder they reside in Edina Minn. Alvin passed
away Sept. 19, 2007 his wife Sheila lives south of the lake. Theodore died Aril 6, 2012.