A recreational spot located about 7 miles north of Vinton, Minne Estema means “Sleeping Water” from the Sioux Indian language. It was also called “Fish Lake.” George R. Knapp was an ardent naturalist and sportsman. He was also the Abstractor for Vinton. George wanted a timbered area to build a cottage for his family that included 5 children. He ended up buying 7 lots of land.
The “Eagle’s Nest” home on the bluffs was very popular with relatives and friends of his children and it became necessary to build a hotel to use as a resort in 1901, as well as 2 large cottages.
The hotel had 15 rooms, one bath, a large dining room with music room opening off it, kitchen and living room A porch with many rocking chairs was on the side facing the Red Cedar River. Stables were built to accommodate horses and carriages of the guests.
For the guests’ use, there was a steam launch called the “White Plume” , sail boats, row boats and canoes. The ship “Export” would stop there going to and from Waterloo and Cedar Rapids. There was a sandy beach for swimming. A weeklong stay including room and board cost $5.00, one day was $1.00. Guests spending Sunday at the resort were served dinner for 50 cents.
The Iowa Conservation Commission purchased the area in 1954, the 100th anniversary of George Knapp’s birth, from Esther Knapp. The area is now a park with shelter houses and playground equipment. Large limestone rocks can be found that were used in the hotel’s foundation.