NOTICE:  This is an on-going discussion, not an end result.

You may share this URL with whomever you think may be interested, and/or could add something positive to the project.

This is not a permanent, on-going web site. . . at least at this point in time it isn't . . it may be here for many months though . . we'll see. The response will lead me to where we should go with this information and presentation.

PURPOSE:  This series of document is to entice others to come forward, furnish more postcards or photos and or information on this subject.

It is my hope to obtain more images of Early Bathhouses & Waterslides on Lake Okabena and gather information about various aspects of their design, location, use, etc

It is my hope that other people will provide more postcards or photos and add insights and comments to this discussion.

We want the end results to be accurate, complete, and interesting.

QUESTIONS NEEDING ANSWERS: When were each of these Bathhouses & waterslides used? Each has an era. Where was each located? Are there other Postcards or photos of these or other Bathhouses & Waterslides on Lake Okabena?

END GOAL: It is my desire to flesh out our understanding of these early features of life on Lake Okabena and make them part of the Lake Okabena section history page on and, also, part of the Parks section.

WHAT I HAVE DONE:  These documents contain what I have, and what I can discern or sleuth from what I have so far on early bathhouses and waterslides on Lake Okabena. I will add to them and amend what is here as more postcards, photos and information become available to me.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO: Add whatever postcards, photos, or information that you have of early Lake Okabena Bathhouses or waterslides by emailing me, calling me, or participating in the forum, ask questions, challenge assumptions or statements

BACKGROUND:  Lake Okabena, specifically the shoreline now know as Sailboard Beach, is of special interest to me because it was part of my early life. I lived at the corner of 6th and 9th  ( one block from Lake Okabena) from about the age of 3 to about the age of 6.

Even at earlier ages, my Mother and I made frequent walks from our apartment downtown to Chautauqua Park to swing, slide and ride on the rides, which took us along part of the lakeshore.

Those were happy times.

At the time I was growing up, the swimming area was by the Bandshell in Chautauqua Park. Later it moved to Centennial Beach. Even though the shoreline along the Rock Island railroad tracks was nice sand, people did not swim there at that time.

It has become know to me that there were other people, at earlier times, who found this part of Lake Okabena (Sailboard Beach) lots of fun too. And it appears this was the original swimming beach area on Lake Okabena. And it was not just a simple swimming area. It was elaborate for its time with a bathhouse and waterslides.

My thanks to Craig Bergh for a group of postcards that got me started on this project. And my thanks to Ray Crippen for insight into various aspects of Early Lake Okabena.

LIMITATIONS OF POSTCARD DATES: There are USPS cancellation dates on some of these postcards. But, these are not the dates of the photos. The photos would have been taken earlier, usually at least a year before. Postcards were sold to tourists on racks in restaurants, variety stores and other places. These racks were kept filled on a routine time schedule by a firm who specialized in this. For a while we had local photographers doing this. Then it became regionalized.  Postcards were not redone each year. Postcards were kept on sale on these racks as long as they kept selling. So, a good selling image on a postcard may keep that postcard on the racks, selling and in use a while after the object on the postcard no longer is there, or has changed in the way it looks. Furthermore, people may have purchased a postcard, but put it in a drawer and sent it by USPS many years later. Therefore, while we may have an approximation of a time period from the USPS cancellation date, it is not a definitive source of when that Bathhouse & Waterslide existed.

The information on this page was written by Bob Rohrer, who takes full responsibility for the accuracy of this information,  based upon information gleaned from personal observation, from articles and observations by local historian Ray Crippen on these subjects and from books by AP Rose "History of Nobles County" 1908 and Al Goff "History of Nobles County" 1948, and from an 1882 State of Minnesota Geology report.

Bob may be contacted at or 507/372-5715