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Ruttger's and Train Bell added to Century Resorts list

Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge in Deerwood and Train Bell Resort in Merrifield are two of six resorts enrolled as Minnesota Century Resorts by the Minnesota Resort and Campground Association.

The Century Resort designation recognizes resorts that have been in continuous operation for at least 100 years. The other four resorts added to the list are Bonnie Beach Resort in Battle Lake; Clearwater Historic Lodge in Grand Marais; Linwood Resort and Campground in Osakis; and Ten Mile Lake Resort in Dalton.

The other resorts previously listed as Century Resorts are Burntside Lodge, Ely; Fair Hills Resort, Detroit Lakes; Grand View Lodge, Nisswa; Northern Pine Lodge, Park Rapids; Pehrson Lodge Resort, Cook; and Peters Sunset Beach Resort, Glenwood.

The resorts will be recognized Wednesday during the MRCA's Fall Conference at Breezy Point Resort. The resorts will receive a large plaque to display at their resorts.

Properties may enroll as Century Resorts at any time throughout the year by going to Resorts do not need to be MRCA members to receive the designation. A similar designation program has been created for Century Campgrounds in the state, but the association is not aware of any that have yet achieved century status; several are getting close. Campgrounds may enroll by visiting

Each Century Resort has a detailed write-up and historical photos can be found on its website.

The write-up on Ruttger's states it was established 1898 and is the oldest continually owned family resort in Minnesota.

"The resort began when Joseph and Josephine Ruttger opened their home to weary travelers and fishermen. People enjoyed Josephine's food and the family's kindness so much that word spread. Soon people were coming from far and wide to enjoy the beauty and relaxation of Minnesota's lake country, a nice meal and Ruttger's legendary hospitality. Their five sons all played a significant role in developing the tourism and resort industry in the Brainerd lakes area. "Their son Alec took over the operation in 1920. Alec was a great promoter and visionary, building Minnesota's first resort golf course in 1921. Jack and Ann Ruttger became the third generation to operate the resort in 1955, followed later by Chris and Joanne Ruttger."

Train Bell Resort was established 1908. The write-up states: "Merrifield's postmistress, Marie Doerfer Russel, noticed many passengers at the town's train station and realized travelers would benefit from a place to stay. So she and her husband built a large house and rented rooms. A new owner in 1913 hired 57-year-old Martha Bronson to manage the hotel. In 1921, she purchased the hotel. By 1922, she'd added two cabins on land she'd bought just to the north and she was renting boats, selling bait and serving as a fishing guide. At age 79, she sold the resort. A subsequent owner christened the business Train Bell Resort, mounting a large brass train bell in front of the hotel. A variety of owners have made additions and improvements. In 2017, current owners John and Kristi Gordon celebrated the Kuhn family coming to Train Bell Resort for 75 years. They accepted a bell from the family that reminds people to gather at the lake."