Near the US Border, about five miles to the north, there is a small section of land that earned its name from the single, huge, cottonwood that grew near the east end of the land that had been homesteaded by A.P. Estenson, who came up from Climax, North Dakota. The tree grew to roughly 50 feet and became a well-known landmark for residents in the area. Often, it was used as a navigational marker for those coming through the area on their way to new lives in Saskatchewan.
The tree survived for many years until it died some years later, either from old age or high water one spring, it is not known. Upon its death, the tree was hauled away as kindling but the stump remained for many years.
Around Lone Tree Lake, there were many settlers living. It was a big source of water for stock and households, and during the summer there would be throngs of people coming out to enjoy the summer weather by the small lake. Water fowl also made the lake a stopping over point on their annual migrations. Along the east end of the lake, there was a sandy beach that made it perfect for swimming on those hot summer days.
The Lone Tree in 1912
While the Lone Tree itself was gone by the 1920s, the municipality that had sprung up with the settlers tried to plant a number of trees at the east end of the lake to create a nice park for everyone. None of the trees did well in the park, most likely because they were not the right variety for the region. Those trees that didn’t die off were eventually killed when a fire swept through the area.
In the late-1930s, due to the drought sweeping through the area over the course of The Great Depression, the lake went dry and the lake bed was divided up into 10 acre lots for farmers to plant their oats in. The oats grew extremely well, even with the dry weather, and there were several good years of farming there until rains returned and the lake once again began to fill up with water.
In later years, Lone Tree Lake once again got low enough for crops to be planted, and the lake was still used by some boaters and picnickers through the years.
While the tree is long gone, it still lives on in the RM of Lone Tree, which today includes the communities of Bracken, Climax and Canuck.