Birth of Nisswa

Early settlers by the name of Ernest & Katherine Smiley built a log homestead at Cullen Creek just north of old 371 (Lower Cullen Road), and when surveyors platted the local township of 36 square miles, they named it Smiley.

In 1898 the U.S. Postmaster General recognized the Smiley homestead as an official Post Office, Village of Smiley, Minnesota.

The trains, however, had trouble stopping downgrade at the Smiley's on their northbound trip, and starting upgrade when southbound. So they picked up their funny little depot and moved it south to the crest of the incline. And thus was our present village born!

Our famous little village was conceived in 1897...and born as Smiley in 1900...finally baptized as Nisswa in 1908. In 1947 it became the present municipality.

Birth of a Resort

On February 23, 1915, James & Bridget Quinn took the plat of the Smiley Subdivision to the Notary Public for Crow Wing County, having it renamed Nisswa Park-the very same property where Nisswa (Smiley) was born. Jim Quinn moved the old Smiley cabin back in the woods (now Eagles Nest Resort property) while he built a fine new cabin for his family.

Thence they began dipping lightly into the tourist business, occasionally renting the old Smiley cabin, or living in it themselves while more fastidious customers used their home. Quinn's Cottages operated until 1943 when it was sold to their daughter Emily Quinn-McCabe.

Mrs. McCabe operated McCabe's Hideaway until the sale of the resort to Sigard & Karen Christopherson in 1948.

The Christopherson's only operated the resort for 1 year, but Sikaren's Resort would remain the Resort's name for the next 32 years.

In 1949 Sikaren's Resort was purchased by Lester & Augusta Kephart.

The Kephart's operated Sikaren's Resort until selling it to Karl & Mona Herbst in 1964.

The Herbst's operated Sikaren's Resort until selling to John & Nancy Thoele in 1981.

The Thoele's changed the resort's name to Good Ol' Days Resort and operated Good Ol' Days until the sale to Raymond Davey & Nancy Carpenter in 1997.

In 1999 Good Ol' Days was sold to Bob & Cindy Tyson.

Bob & Cindy operated the original resort until the fall of 2006 when all original buildings were removed and replaced with 10 brand new Cottages and an eight unit Lodge.

Complete reconstruction of Good Ol' Days Family Resort assures that the rich tradition and history of northern Minnesota hospitality lives on for generations to come.

In 2010, Thomas and Nancy Steffens began operating with the intent to continue the rich tradition and history already established by previous owners.

We invite you to explore and enjoy the birthplace of Nisswa!