History Trivia: What magazine publisher, famous capitalist, Harley Davidson collector, and hot air balloonist once rented the entire Cedar Lodge for his entourage who were motorcycling the length of the Mississippi River starting in Bemidji?

Answer: Malcolm Forbes of Forbes Publishing. Forbes once gave a purple Harley Davidson to Elizabeth Taylor. For his 70th Birthday party he chartered a 747, a DC8, and a Concorde to fly 800 of the world’s rich and famous from New York and London to his Palais Mendoub in Morocco. Guests included Elizabeth Taylor and Henry Kissinger. When Mr. Forbes stayed at the resort, you never would have known he was one of the world’s richest men. He loved to chat and meet people, soon he was calling all the waitresses and staff by their first name.

History Trivia: What former President’s wife stayed at the Birchmont Beach Hotel, now Ruttger’s for many summers in the 1920s. During her husband’s Presidency, she was sometimes called “the Secret President” or “the first female President of the United States”, for the role she played after her husband suffered a severe stroke the last year of his Presidency.

Answer: Edith Bolling Wilson, Mrs. Woodrow Wilson. After President Wilson’s death she spent Summer vacations at Birchmont and was accompanied by her friends President Wilson’s Secretary of Agriculture Edwin Meredith and his wife. E.T. Meredith was a publisher and founder of the magazine “Better Homes and Gardens” Ruttger’s was mentioned in his magazine many times over the years.

History Trivia: Which “Gilligan’s Island” actress spent many summer vacations in one of these one bedroom cottages? Hint, Before Gilligan’s Island she was crowned Miss Nevada, and appeared in TV shows including 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, and Bonanza.

Answer: Dawn Wells who played Mary Ann Summers. Dawn is still going strong. She had her own show in Las Vegas and has appeared in hundreds of musicals, TV shows, and movies.

History Trivia: What famous model was first discovered by a Chicago news photographer at her summer job “detasseling” corn, hosted MTVs House of Style, was ranked number 5 on Playboy’s list of the 100 Sexiest Stars of the 20th Century, spent time in the Bemidji area with her sister, and once after her first appearance in Playboy, changed into her swimsuit in the Ruttger’s boathouse, much to the delight of the young men working there, then took a slalom water-ski run behind the lodge ski boat?

Answer: Cindy Crawford. Cindy is not only one of the world’s most beautiful women, she was also valedictorian of her Midwest high school class and won a scholarship to study chemical engineering at Northwestern University.


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