January 1, 2013
Currently there are several providers planning on practicing at the Lindstrom Clinic including new full-time providers, Dr. Heidi Chatham, and Dr. Ini Ikpe, Family Practice and Rebecca Gray, CNP/FNP. They are currently working at the St. Croix Falls Clinic and will move to Lindstrom when the building is ready for occupancy next summer. The project was designed by Harriss Architects.
Lindstrom Clinic Site History
The property on which the new clinic will stand has a wonderful and storied history dating back to the early 1900s when William Willoughby, a childhood friend and boarder of Elizabeth Jane Swanson, the great grandmother of Connie Swanson Erickson, owned the land. Connie was the wife of the current owner, Lyle Erickson.
Willoughby was born “small and weak” (likely premature) in the dead of winter and was not expected to live. As the story is told, his mother baked a large pancake and wrapped him in it along with blankets to keep him warm. Willoughby survived into his 90s, and every day for the rest of his life, he ate pancakes for breakfast! “Not only did he survive,” said Lynn Weiler, “but he essentially became part of the family and in the end, lived into his 90s, longer than my great grandmother.”
As a young man, Willoughby built and owned a group of cottages that provided a summer tourist haven on South Lindstrom Lake through out the 20th century. In its heyday, Willoughby Cottages was a beautiful resort. Willoughby, who loved flowers, had built rock planters along the lakeshore, leaving a whole hillside covered with flowers.
Eventually, Willoughby gave the thirteen cabins to Dale Swanson, who combined his adjacent lots to form the land that was sold to St. Croix Regional Medical Center. Dale never married, and before he died in 1971, he left the cabins to Lynn Weiler and Lana Olin’s mother, Connie Swanson, and her husband, Lyle Erickson.
A quiet and beautiful small town rural setting with pristine lakes, superb fishing and swimming attracted many people from the metro area who came via train during the summer to rent the cabins. “The husbands would commute via train to the Twin Cities on weekdays for work,” said Lynn, “while their wives and children stayed at the cabins in Lindstrom.”
Lynn and Lana’s grandparents, Arne and Bernie Swanson, were very active in the community. Besides running the cabins in the summer, they helped with the Lindstrom skating rink. Beginning in the early 1930s, Arne and Bernie Swanson hosted and held yearly ice carnivals as well as speed skating and figure skating contests. These were huge events. The show combined large casts of figure skaters with theater. It included colorful lights, dazzling costumes, and wonderful musical scores and choreography, and was a precursor to the Ice Capades and today’s Champions on Ice shows.
A 1935 event was the largest of all: approximately 1200 people arrived in Lindstrom for the Minnesota State Skating Championships. Many well-known skaters came and participated, including Connie Swanson, Lindstrom’s own Sonja Henie, as well as skaters with Shipsteads and Johnson’s “Ice Follies,” which began in 1936.
The Swansons owned property next to Willoughby and combined Willoughby’s and their land to create the present day site. Lyle and Connie Erickson sold two of the cabins independently in the 1970s and 80s, and continued to rent cabins until the late 1990s.
Building rendering of the new Lindstrom Clinic.