Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stahl

Charles and Minnie Stahl were early settlers of Acoma Township. Stahl’s Lake is named after their family.

It was hot. There was no doubt about that. The summer of 2022 had only just begun. A friend of mine planned for the two of us to head out to a few of McLeod County’s parks for some exploratory hikes in hopes that a little history might present itself. Unfortunately, the weather of spring and early summer wasn’t going to cooperate for such a history quest. When the day finally came, it just happened to be the hottest day of the summer to that point, and it quickly made a hike in the park feel more like a trek through the jungle.

The location was Stahl’s Park, a little county park nestled between Stahl Lake and French Lake, just north of Hutchinson. Upon entering the park, it was apparent that some history certainly existed there. Surrounded by trees, the park gave off the feeling of being back in McLeod County’s famed, and long extinct, “Big Woods.” An old red building stood out in the forefront, and off to the east was a short, lone silo — a ghost of a farm site that once stood proud. We took our hike, I sweated profusely, and then went back to the museum to do a little digging in hopes of finding a little history. I had no idea of the treasure I’d find.

Special thanks to Barb Peterson and all her hard work in collecting data on Stahl’s Park and the surrounding area.

Brian Haines is executive director of the McLeod County Historical Society and Museum, 380 School Road N.W., Hutchinson. The museum is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1-4 p.m. Saturday and by appointment. Admission is free. For more information, call the museum at 320-587-2109.