Golden Lake Township
Early records show that Martin Ullensaker acquired a receiver receipt in 1881 for land in the Golden Lake territory, Section No. 2. He maintained a post office in his home and later was operator in connection with a store.
Isaac and Fanny Golden, first owners of the store, owned considerable land in the northeast part of the township, hence the township was named Golden. Earliest date recorded about the Golden's was June 12, 1883.
The majority of early settlers in this area emigrated from Norway with Hatton and Portland as the closest towns. Although some of the members of the second and third generations have moved to other parts of the country, there are still some who remain and continue to live on the original home places.
Those who chose to come here were pioneers in the true sense of the word and faced their trials and adversities with typical Scandinavian fortitude. In the year of 1900, a terrific wind and hail storm raged through the township. Many buildings were destroyed, including the Lutheran Free Church and one of the school houses. The crops were completely destroyed and livestock suffered from hunger.
The story is told that by noon the following day there was no window glass to be purchased in any of the surrounding towns.
In the earlier years, Rev. Martin Langehaug who lived in Sharon and served the Bethany Church from 1904 to 1940, would come by train to Finley, be met by different members of the congregation, and spend the weekends at the home of the parishioners. During the early days, while there was still water in the lake, many a long trek to school was shortened during the winter for the children, who were then able to cross the ice, instead of walking the longer distance around the lake.
In 1917 a band was organized in the township, called the Golden Lake Non Partisan Band. This band was called upon to play for Non Partisan League rallies, picnics, etc. Their first appearance, after six weeks of practice, was for a Townley-Lemke rally in Fargo.
Occasionally travel was by individual passenger cars, but for the most part it was in a model T Ford truck with solid rubber tired wheels on the rear, chauffeured by Ebenhard Thykeson. At that time there were very few graveled roads, and rain meant lots of pushing to reach their destination.
Golden Lake was also famous for its baseball teams, a very popular form of recreation in the early days. The first team was organized in about 1910 and the second team in the late teens and early twenties. The baseball diamond was in the southeast corner of section 16, and many a good game was played there. One season the second team played a one hundred percent win over all the other neighborhood teams.
During the 1920's there were annual Old Settlers picnics held at the O. W. Williams farm. In 1919 a consolidated two room school house was built, called Golden Lake Center School. At one time, a limited high school course was offered. It is no longer in existence, having gone the way of so many other township schools, following the redistricting program.
During the 1930's a small store was started along highway 7, by Arthur Thompson, later operated by Roy Grunseths and then by Robert Ericksons. That too has since been closed and removed.
During the 1930's Golden Lake became completely dry and in 1950 a ditch was blasted across the corner of Beaver Creek Township into Golden Lake Township and once again there was water in Golden Lake. Later the Golden Lake Development Corporation began working on its restoration, but due to the lack of funds, turned it over to the Steele County Park Board. The Park Board contacted the State Water Commission, the State Game and Fish Department and the Outdoor Recreation Agency, and at this time over $75,000 worth of funds have been expended, acquiring land and improving the area. It is now a good sized lake, popular for boating, fishing, water skiing etc. It also has a picnic area, lake shore cabins, store and lunch counter. Plans are being made for further development. Many people from near and far enjoy this recreation center.
Source: Finley 75th Diamond Jubilee 1897 – 1972 Page 101