Otter Tail county may well boast of its many beautiful lakes and more than fifteen hundred have been ennumerated with the limits of the county. There is one township in the county where the water area actually exceeds the land area and Lida township (township 136, range 42), while it may not claim distinction on any other score, yet has undisputed claim to the honor of having the least land area of any township in the county. It was organized on March 19, 1879, upon the presentation of a petition signed by Stephen A. Card and others, totaling a majority of the legal voters of the territory in question. The petitioners asked that the new township be called Lake Lida, but the commissioners shortened it to Lida. The first election was held at the house of C. A. Rogers on the fifth of the following month.
The petition asking for the organization of the township carried the following signers: Stephen A. Card, George Skeplorn, J. S. Pease, F. W. Vickry, J. W. Rogers, Melvin Stone, W. Wright, H. Baker, F. H. Harris, H. J. Wilson, Louis De Pocher, Henry Hostermann, C. A. Rogers, H. Cummings, A. Cummings and A. E. Rathbun.
Two lakes, Lida and Lizzie, cover more than half of the township, while there are in addition nearly twenty lakes of smaller size scattered over the township. The whole township lies in the Pelican river basin; in fact, the Pelican river flows through Lake Lizzie. The surface of the township is very rugged, especially on the eastern side.
The first store in the township was on the shores of Lake Lida in the northwestern corner of section 14 and the postoffice which was kept in this store was known by Uncle Sam as Lida. Another postoffice, called Bessie, was kept at the house of Benson L. Brown in section 34. It was called Bessie in honor of his wife. Both Lida and Bessie were discontinued in 1905 when the rural service out of Pelican Rapids was extended to cover Lida township. Early in the history of the township a steam saw-mill was put into operation in the extreme southwestern corner of section 11. Another saw-mill was on the farm of Herman Hostermann on the western side of section 7.township.
This township has one of the most unique bridges or causeways in the county if not in the state. It is built across the narrows of Lake Lida, in sections 32 and 33, and is at least half a mile in length. The causeway is flanked on either side with large granite boulders and filled up with dirt and sand to a height of three or four feet above the level of the lake on either side. The width is only sufficient for one rig to pass at a time, although it is widened at one place in the middle so that two rigs might pass each other in case they happened to meet midway. Toward the east end of this causeway is a steel bridge, which has been erected within the past few years. Probably the most picturesque road in the county is the one leading round Lake Lida. One mile of this road on the west side, from Kinney’s Camp to the causeway, is cut out of the high bluff which rises precipitously from the shores of the lake. When the lake froze over, it was common for people to drive across the lake.