Sandy Skinaway, Sandy Lake Tribe chairwoman, Col. Dan Koprowski, St. Paul District commander, and Tammy Johnson, Sandy Lake Park Manager, conduct a ribbon cutting ceremony, officially rededicating the Sandy Lake visitor center August 17, 2015. The center, a former lock house located next to the dam, has artifacts and information about the region’s history. Corps staff spent the past year updating the displays and artifacts to better communicate the centuries of history that has occurred around the site.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District’s Sandy Lake Visitor’s Center has a new look. The district’s history committee recently completed a renovation there that included the tearing down of older displays, the research and design of new panels and the building and installation of new display cases and panels. The new look was unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 17.
The Sandy visitor’s center is the old lock house, built in 1914. It was converted into a visitor center back in the 1970s. This was the first remodel of the visitor’s center since its opening.
Tamryn Johnson, Sandy Lake park manager, said the project was an effort to highlight historical aspects of the Big Sandy Lake area, as well as explain why the Corps of Engineers is there, in an accessible and interesting manner for visitors.
“The previous displays in the visitor’s center featured a fantastic artifact collection but did not explain much about those artifacts or why they were showcased,” she said. “The new displays provide visitors with a timeframe and background from the first inhabitants hunting mammoths up to present day Corps operations.
“Big Sandy Lake has an old and fascinating history,” she continued. “We hope that our efforts will be small but mighty in impact, providing visitors from the area and afar with a sense of place here at the Sandy Lake Dam.”