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November 8, 2012

Glendalough Game Farms provided good hunting

Glendalough State Park was formerly known as the Glendalough Game Farm. It had been founded in 1915 by the W. J. Murphy family, who owned and operated the Minneapolis Tribune.

The game farm started out with only two cabins and one permanent dwelling, which was located on the north shore of Annie Battle Lake. Eventually the farm consisted of over 2,200 acres, with 650 acres under cultivation. Two hundred acres were set aside for what was actually termed the game farm area, where approximately 25,000 game birds per year were raised. At least 5,000 of these birds were released into the wild each year, for conservation purposes, with the hopes of improving hunting in the area. The game birds that were released each year were pheasants and ducks, along with a few geese, including what they called Canadian honkers, which were in danger of extinction.

The farm also raised some deer in the game area, where they were free to roam, as well as a large flock of turkeys each year, which helped to keep it self sustaining. The whole farm itself was part of the state game reserve and no hunting was allowed on the farm.

One of the managers of the farm was the late Axel Hansen, a well known Minnesota farmer, dairy cattle judge and writer for the Minneapolis paper. The farm, with its beautiful sugar sand shores of Annie Battle provided retreats for many guests of the owners of the farm, including President Dwight Eisenhower and President Richard Nixon.

In 1975, the Battle Lake Chamber of Commerce awarded the game farm a special plaque for the contributions they had made to the conservation program, “which the farm well deserves, for they are unexcelled in this area and probably in the state for contributions in providing for the American hunter, better hunting.”

From “East Otter Tail County History, Volume I, 1977,” now online at

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