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Oxley photos now part of county museum

Tom Hintgen/FOCUS Rich Oxley, left, and Otter Tail County Historical Society Executive Director Chris Schuelke hold an Oxley cirkut panoramic photograph.

Many hunters and anglers in Otter Tail County are familiar with the picture book, "Oxley Outdoors," which includes waterfowl, fishing, deer and big game, trapping, spearing and ice fishing.

The late photographers W.T. Oxley and his sons, Lloyd and Elmer, are legendary in Fergus Falls. Rich Oxley, son of Lloyd Oxley who lives in the Twin Cities, has transferred ownership of many Oxley photos to the Otter Tail County Historical Society's museum in Fergus Falls.

Most of the Oxley photos delivered Aug. 24 to the museum are photographs taken in Fergus Falls over a 64-year span, from 1902 to 1966. Many of the pictures were taken following the 1919 tornado that struck Fergus Falls.

Rich Oxley, a 1965 graduate of Fergus Falls High School, says he was lucky to be born in western Minnesota into a family of avid outdoorsmen who loved to hunt, fish and trap close to their homes. "Oxley Outdoors," compiled by Oxley, is a visual history of life in the outdoors during the first half of the twentieth century.

Oxley photographs include classic photos taken from 1900 to the 1940s. Among them are summer and winter fishing at Ten Mile Lake near Dalton and Norway Lake near Underwood, duck hunting at Lake Christina near Ashby, Lloyd Oxley pheasant hunting near Fergus Falls in 1936, deer hunting in various parts of Otter Tail County and others from the golden age of hunting, fishing and trapping.

As the photographs show, this was a time in American history when hunters and people who loved fishing lived lives much simpler, much closer to nature, said Oxley, "and perhaps much more fulfilling compared to our lives today."

For more information, contact Oxley at 651-426-4089 or online at