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About 'Life at Kettle Falls'

Life at Kettle Falls

The 163 stories in Mike Williams’ new book, “Life at Kettle Falls,” offer a glimpse into a way of life all but forgotten in the north woods. Williams of International Falls, Minn., grew up working with his family at the remote Kettle Falls Hotel, about 40 miles east of International Falls where Namakan Lake flows into Rainy Lake.

The stories describe the unique aspects of operating a dining and lodging facility 15 miles from the nearest road. All of the elements of a life in the bush are present here — hunting, fishing, big waves, drownings, encounters with wild animals, raising young girls in the wilderness, unforgettable characters, people lost and found.

Four generations of Williams’ family worked at the hotel from 1918 to 1992. It’s still operating today, owned by the National Park Service and operated by Rick and Sean Oveson.

“The stories that follow are not necessarily true,” Williams writes in his introduction. “They are the way I remember them and the way I remember them told to me.”

The 245-page book includes several photos of life at Kettle Falls and the Williams family through the years. The book is available at several retail outlets in International Falls and by mail from Williams. Send a check for $36.48, which includes shipping, to Mike Williams, 2256 Highway 11 East, International Falls, MN 56649. For more information, email Williams at

— Sam Cook