Eisenhower visited Otter Tail County in 1952
In 1952, future President Dwight D. Eisenhower visited Glendalough near Battle Lake. This was several years before Glendalough became a state park.
It was a historic day when, on Sept. 8 of that year, Eisenhower toured the Glendalough game farm and stayed overnight in the lodge.
Back then the property was owned by Cowles Media Company, owners of the Minneapolis Tribune which later became the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Glendalough became a state park in 1992.
Eisenhower came to the Battle Lake area for some relaxation after campaigning in southern Minnesota. His visit to Glendalough came about only seven years since the end of World War II. Eisenhower had served as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
Eisenhower, fondly known as "Ike" to most Americans, was not quite 62 when he visited Glendalough, just two months before being elected president of the United States.
He enjoyed a break from his presidential race with Adlai Stevenson to spend a couple days at Glendalough and enjoy some fishing at Annie Battle Lake.
Jim Gray, reporter and future newsroom editor of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal, attended Sunday services with Eisenhower and his entourage at First Lutheran Church in Battle Lake.
Eisenhower's vice president, Richard Nixon, also spent some time at Glendalough, as a guest of the Cowles family, in the fall of 1956. He took a swim at Annie Battle Lake. Nixon stayed at Glendalough after a campaign stop in Alexandria. Nixon was later elected president in 1968.
Many visitors who come to Glendalough State Park, northeast of Battle Lake, stop and see photos of Eisenhower and Nixon that are part of an informational kiosk near the main lodge, in the heart of the park.
It was in the lodge, second floor, where both Eisenhower and Nixon stayed overnight, Ike in 1952 and Nixon four years later.
The kiosk provides a lot of information, and there's also a history video available in the main lodge.
Glendalough was transferred to the Nature Conservancy from Cowles Media on Earth Day in 1990. A year later, in June of 1991, the property was established in state statute as a state park. The actual deed transfer ceremony and dedication took place on Aug. 15, 1992.
Much has changed at the park since the future presidents’ visits. But at the same time much is unchanged.
A look to the southeast side of Annie Battle Lake, with its picturesque view of undeveloped lakeshore, is the same as when Ike and Nixon looked that way back in the 1950s.
"We preserve one of the largest tracts of undeveloped lakeshore in west central Minnesota," says park Manager Jeff Wiersma.