History of Naniboujou Lodge & Restaurant

Naniboujou Lodge (Naniboujou is the Cree god of the outdoors) was first conceived in the 1920’s as an ultra exclusive private club. Babe RuthJack Dempsey and Ring Lardner were among its charter members. A membership of 1,000 was originally sought, but when the stock market crashed on “Black Tuesday” precipitating the 1929 depression, the club began to fail. In the mid 1930’s the club reached a state of financial shambles. The mortgage was foreclosed, and it was sold.

Throughout the succeeding years the Lodge has been owned and operated by various corporations or private individuals and families. Today you will find an exciting revitalized Naniboujou. Still reflecting the aura of the 20’s, Naniboujou is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The lodge boasts the largest stone fireplace in the state of Minnesota, built with over 200 tons of native Lake Superior rock. Standing some twenty feet high, the fireplace continues to be a showpiece, warming and welcoming the guests of Naniboujou.

Antoine Goufee
Antoine Goufee and his wife

Probably the most memorable aspect of the lodge is the wondrously painted 30 x 80 foot dining room. Antoine Goufee, a French artist, painted Cree Indian designs over the walls and the twenty-foot-high domed ceiling (resembling the shape of a canoe). The almost psychedelic Cree Indian designs covering the walls and ceiling are like a North Woods answer to the Sistine Chapel. This work of art continually amazes and intrigues, echoing the elegance and style of another era.

Guests of today do not come for golf or for a dive into a luxurious swimming pool like they envisioned in the late 1920’s; they return seeking a quiet, peaceful, and natural environment. They come to gather their senses and to replenish both body and spirit in a place called Naniboujou.

To read more about the history of Naniboujou Lodge & Restaurant, click here.