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Cragun's Gull Lake Story

From Lodge to Legend – Cragun's Gull Lake Story

For more than 90 years, the Pine Beach area of Gull Lake has evolved from a recreational development site to one of Minnesota's most cherished vacation spots. What began in 1930 as a modest lodge with a handful of rustic cabins has transformed into Cragun's, a beloved resort and golf destination where family traditions live on.

The Early Days: 1934 - 1947

In 1934, Merrill K. Cragun Sr. and his wife, Louise, embarked on a journey by registering the name of Paul Bunyan Inc. Their vision was to cultivate and boost tourism in central Minnesota, with a special focus on the breathtaking Brainerd Lakes region. They achieved remarkable success in this endeavor until their lives were touched by the European Conflict in 1939.

The Early Days: 1934 - 1947 of Cragun's Resort
The Growing Years: 1948 - 1965

Cragun's experienced steady growth and opened its first dining room in 1948, boasting seating for twenty. In 1949, the first six motel-type units were constructed. In 1957, Merrill K. Jr. assumed the role of manager, and year by year, the property expanded. The outdoor swimming pool opened in 1963. In 1965, Dutch found a partner in his wife, Irma. Together, they made a living at "resorting" by continually reinvesting in the resort to develop a year-round operation.

The Growing Years: 1948 - 1965 of Cragun's Resort
Expansion: The 1970s

Progress at Cragun's continued, and by 1977, the pool area had been enclosed, marking the expansion of the operating season. The resort began hiring full-time staff and in 1983, they acquired the adjacent property, Cronoble's. The process of winterizing and constructing more units continued, they integrated the second property, Island View Lodge, into their vision in 1988.

Expansion: The 1970s of Cragun's Resort
Today: An Iconic Gull Lake Resort and Golf Destination

This iconic Minnesota resort upholds its tradition of crafting cherished memories for vacationers, just as it did in 1940. Today, Cragun's Resort covers an impressive 4,500 feet of shoreline on Gull Lake, employs a team of over 300, and serves as a prime destination for family vacations, golf retreats, and conferences. Growth continues with the recent completion of the 45-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. Golf Course, The Legacy Courses at Cragun's, standing as a testament to the resort's enduring commitment to excellence.

Iconic Gull Lake Resort and Golf Destination at Cragun's Resort