The Resort Years

Arthur Gertz
 
Arthur Gertz, 1947
Credit: Maple Plain Museum 

Arthur Gertz was a colorful character who was very involved in the development of Independence Beach from the early 20’s to the mid-50’s. At various times, Art was employed as a postal worker, caretaker at an Orono estate, a farmer, caretaker at a creamery, teacher in Stubbs Bay and in Maple Plain, a game warden, summer camp operator, resort owner, and proprietor of several bowling alleys, including the Buckhorn Bowling Alley in Long Lake. In the summer, he and his wife Adella operated Unity Camp and eventually purchased the camp property, which was subsequently subdivided and sold for homes. The Gertz’s bought Bohanan’s Resort in 1944 and renamed it Gertz’s Resort. They sold the resort in 1955. And Gertz was a Justice of the Peace from 1945-1959.

 

Gertz was involved in a number of controversies over the years, and was never one to shy away from a fight.

 

In 1947, Gertz got into a dispute with Hubert Humphrey, who was Mayor of Minneapolis at the time. According to letters published in the Minneapolis Star’s People’s Column, Humphrey had asked the governor of Michigan to refuse the American Bowling Congress’s use of the state fairgrounds for their convention the following year, because the ABC did not allow "Negro" members. Gertz, who had operated several bowling alleys and was very active in the industry, objected to Humphrey’s position because the ABC was a private organization and Gertz said Humphrey had no right to tell the bowlers who they should admit to membership. Gertz noted that Negroes have equal rights under the Constitution and can regulate their own bowling activities. His attitude was probably typical for this time, when “separate but equal” segregation was still considered acceptable.  Humphrey replied that the ABC was a large, national organization and in effect a “public utility”, and encouraged the ABC to change its policy.  

 

That wasn’t the only controversy involving Gertz. In 1957, the State of Minnesota arbitrarily increased Medina property value assessments by 50%, substantially increasing property taxes. Gertz organized the community’s protest, and as a last resort, led a taxpayer “strike” during which property owners withheld their tax payments. Eventually the revolt was successful and the increase was reduced to 25%.

 

He served as a Justice of the Peace from 1945 to 1959. In 1959, he got into a dispute with two Village constables after he dismissed charges against Fred Glampe for selling beer to a minor. Gertz found out that the constables had promised the 19-year-old boy “immunity” if he would testify against Glampe. Gertz disapproved of this arrangement and instead dropped the charges against Glampe and fined the boy for possessing beer. The constables then moved the case against Glampe to Robbinsdale. Gertz was quoted as saying “If they want a good fight, I’ll certainly give it to them.”

© 2019 by Robin Reid. Created with Wix.com