Cultural history around the immediate area of Coon Lake has its own history and begins at the last ice age. People entered the area at the end of the last ice about 10,000 years ago. The climate in which they traveled and lived 8,000 years ago was a rapidly warming to about 7,000 years ago. 6,000 years ago there was period of cold winters that lasted until about 3,000 years ago. At this time we have one of the warmest post glacial summer periods lasting until A.D. 950. About this time we begin a 2000 year cooling trend in North America with a little ice age occurring between 1550 to 1900s. In 1915 the climate was considered cool to mild in the area. Our present day climate is classified as maximum warmth.
The life of these early peoples in the area had to adjust to these rapidly changing landscapes.
The first inhabitants were most likely Paleoindians. Their archaeological sites are difficult to find since they are small, and buried deep. They were highly mobile gathers and hunters and pursued game such as bison, caribou, mastodon, and mammoth.
Archaic hunters and gathers were next to visit the region. This was about 8,000 years ago. These inhabitants specialized in smaller game, fish, shellfish, plant foods and other natural energy sources.
In our most recent era woodland peoples inhabited the area from A.D. 500 to 1650.
The first Europeans to set foot in Minnesota were two French men, Sieur des Groseilliers and Sieur de Radisson in about 1660. They exploited the area for their own market system, and traded with the Native Americans in Minnesota. The contact period of Native Americans with the European explorers took place in the late 1600s.
Our western region at the time had many environmental characteristics which includes woodlands dominated by oak, deer, bear, beaver, moose and a principle wild rice area, some bison were present and corn could be grown. Acorns were an abundant food source. Bow and arrow was used. The ability to store wild rice from season to season and the incorporation of agriculture lead to more of a sedentary lifestyle. More is known about this culture because of the preponderance of sites found at the NE corners of lakes and wetlands, which are naturally protected from fire due to prevailing winds during the fire season.
At contact in the 1660s Santee Dakota groups controlled the east part of the central lakes region and other Dakota groups controlled the the western part. In the late 1700s the Ojibwa began to move into the area and controlled this section of the central lakes. Much area to the south at this time remain unoccupied. The first contact period ends with the building of Fort Snelling in 1821.
In about 1890 there was a last report of a bison in the area of Carlos Avery.
Coon Lake named for the Raccoons in the area is located in Anoka county which gets its name from the Sioux word meaning "the other side" or "both sides".
The townships and villages that sprung up around the lake consist of Bethel which was first settled in 1856 by Quakers and its name meaning is "House of God". Bethel was a highland, prairie, woods, swampland and lowlands of peat. Columbus was settled in 1855 and was named for Christopher Columbus. Columbus was also known for its lowland grasses which were used to make rugs in the 1880s. Most of the area is now known as Carlos Avery. Ham Lake was settled in 1857 and had a name of glengarry, which the commissioners changed to Ham Lake for the lake in its territory, of course shaped like a ham. This area was more suitable to farming. The lake was known for its sandy beaches.
A typical farming operation at the time consisted of dairy, wheat, oats, corn, barley, potatoes hay, apples, tobacco, wool, butter and honey.
A grass hopper plague entered the area between 1873 and 1877.
In the 1880s Passenger Pigeons blackened the sky for hours. These were considered "a delicious table bird' which ultimately lead to their extinction.
Telephone service was established in 1903 and was $6.00 per year.
Some of the lakes in the area get their names from their features, boot lake from its boot outline, island lake from its island, rice lake for its wild rice.
Old settlement villages on Coon Lake Include Breezy Shore Village in Columbus township section 30 in 1932, Coon Lake Beach in section 36 in 1926, Lake View Point Village in section 35 in 1932, Lundahls Point Village in section 35 in 1932 and Pine Ridge Village in section 30 in 1932.
The closest stores were located at Lake Netta which consisted of a creamery, cattle dealer, blacksmith shop, churches and a general store, located in section 10 about 1895.
The first post office was located in section 11 in 1897 and known as the Mort Post Office, located at John Purmorts home. This was on the south side of the lake bay known today as Choo Choo Bay. Hudson Guy was the 1st mail carrier and would have dinner and change horses at the Purmort home.
Even though the area has seen drastic changes in the last 150 years, it has been the conservation efforts by others that have left us of what we enjoy around our immediate area of Coon Lake today. You can visit many Native or Scientific natural areas just a few miles away. Carlos Avery to the east hosts a very big diverse community of animals and plants. Boot Lake Scientific and Natural Area features a diversity of habitats. Martin and Island lakes offer a good example a dry mesic oak forest and includes numerous forest plants that are uncommon elsewhere.
With these and other areas we are home to a diverse amount of wildlife to the area. Just to name a few and some of the more common are the Loon, Double Crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, Teal, Canada Goose, Mallards, Pintails, Wood Ducks, Ring Necked Duck, Bald Eagle, Hawks, Ospreys, Turkey, Pheasants, grouse, Coots, Sandhill Crane, Yellow Rail, Woodcock, Snipe, Sandpiper, Doves, Owls, Night hawks, Kingfishers, Humming Birds, Woodpeckers, Flycatchers, Larks, Swallows, Jays and Crows, Chickadees, Nuthatchers, Creepers, Wrens, Bluebirds , Thrushes, Catbirds, Starlings, Warblers, Cardinals, Blackbirds, Sparrows, Meadowlarks, Orioles and Finches.
Mammals include Opossum. Shrews, Moles, Bats, Rabbits, Hares, Squirrels, Chipmunks, Woodchuck, Pocket Gophers, Beaver, Mice, Muskrats, Porcupines, Badger, Raccoon, Coyote, Skunk, Foxes, Weasel, Mink and Deer.
Amphibians and Reptiles include Salamanders, Toads and Frogs including Bullfrog, American Toad, Green Frog, Leopard Frog. Turtles, Lizards, Skinks and Snakes.
There is much more history of the local area which you can find by visiting the Anoka County Historical Society.