The Gull Lake Dam is located on the Gull River about one-half mile below the outlet of Gull Lake. It was put into service in 1912, the last of the Headwaters reservoir dams constructed. The designers were Col. Francis R. Shunk and George Freeman. This team also designed Lock and Dam No. 1 built on the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul in 1917.
The control structure is built of reinforced concrete supported on timber piling. There is a log sluice and a 5-foot fishway in addition to five sluiceways.
The 7-room dam tender’s house, completed in 1912, is of concrete beam construction. The exterior is finished with concrete panels. It is a good example of the then popular “Craftsman” style of architecture. One characteristic of the style is its “honest,” straightforward treatment of materials. Brick, stucco and frame Craftsman style houses were built in many Minnesota cities and towns between 1905 and 1920. The exposed rafter ends at the eaves, grouped windows and simple board trim are notable details associated with this style. The dam tender’s house is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The prehistoric archaeology of the Gull Lake damsite is of particular significance. There are 12 complete and several partial burial mounds, representative of the Woodland Culture that established permanent villages in this area about 800 B.C. - A.D. 200 and A.D. 600 - 900. Archaeologists have studied the burial site, and an interpretive center provides information for visitors. The burial mounds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mississippi River Headwaters History brochure