Maguires and Hirscheys — 100 years on the Cullen Lakes

A brief timeline:

1919 — Frank Boulger and Mary Armstrong Boulger purchase property on Lower Cullen Lake from Quinn.

1924 — Frank Boulger builds a log cabin west of the channel. Mary Boulger (Maguire) is born.

1948 — Electricity comes to the Hirschey/Maguire Point.

1953 — Cabin’s icebox is replaced by a refrigerator.

1955 — Ken & Betty Hirschey build a cabin on Lower Cullen Lake at the Point.

1956 — Indoor plumbing other than the kitchen sink is installed.

1968 — Telephone service comes to the Maguire/Hirschey Point.

How the Boulgers settled at Cullen Lake

by Fran Boulger

Dad had made arrangements with a realtor named Quinn to rent a cottage for the last week of August in 1919 or so. Quinn was an active and well-known real estate agent and owned property on Lower Cullen Lake. Apparently the cottage was already rented because Quinn arranged for the Boulgers to stay on Gull Lake. The weather was terrible — cold, wet and windy. The waves were too high to take a boat out. Mother and Dad decided that a big lake with poor beach was no place for children. They ended up buying a large lot on the northern shore of Lower Cullen and the 5 1/2 acre tract on the point between Lower and Middle Cullen.

At the time, there was no access by automobile to the land on the point, but it was obvious that a road would be built before long. Dad arranged to have a cottage built on the smaller lot. It was a framed building covered with smooth boards painted gray. We spent the summers there, probably three of them, before the log cabin was built.

Because of such handicaps, trips took a long time, even if the tires gave no trouble. The trip was an essential part of the adventure of going north to the lake and roughing it. On our first automobile trip to Cullen Lake we stopped for a picnic lunch on the shores of Mille Lacs, even building a campfire. The trip was long and tiring. We left home around 8:00 a.m. and got to the cabin after dark, probably around 10:00 p.m. Mr. Yates’ car had very poor headlights, so Dad walked ahead of the car with a lantern for the last mile or so of the long trip.

At the time, Nisswa boasted two general stores and a lumberyard. We traded at Swanson’s, which was east of the railroad tracks and slightly north of the station. It seems to me that they delivered groceries once or twice a week to cottages on the north side of Lower Cullen.

There was no way of getting to town without a car except by walking 2 1/2 miles or going across the lake and hiking from there. Very few people had motors for their boats, so rowing was the only way to travel. We never saw a sailboat until the mid 1930s and canoes were scarce enough to be unfamiliar to all of us. We didn’t have much company at the Gray Cottage and we probably only spent a few weeks there at first.

Grandpa Boulger

by Mary Hirschey Jaspers

Grandpa Boulger’s favorite story was how he got his fishing boat back from the notorious criminal, Bugs Moran. Bugs Moran had a sister, Eva, who owned a hotel in Nisswa, and the robbers hid out there now

and then. Grandpa had a white with green wooden row boat he painted every year, and he loved to fish. He used his bravado and an oar to retrieve his boat from this big time crook.

I would go fishing with my grandpa. He wound a line with a hook on the end on a twig. It was a “drop line” and I must have talked too much because he said the line was like a telephone line and if I talked the fish could hear me.