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‘Refined, yet rustic’: Lodge on a hill lets family share landscape’s beauty

FNS Photo by Dave Wallis Large windows and logs are features of the Coteau des Prairies Lodge near Havana.

HAVANA — Eugene and Joe Breker boast that the Coteau des Prairies Lodge and the surrounding farm and pastureland where they grew up is the “second most beautiful place in all of North Dakota.”

They concede the most beautiful is the ranch near Amidon owned by their friend and business partner, John Hanson.

It was Hanson who planted the idea of building a lodge after a visit to the Breker farm with Joe when the two were students at North Dakota State University. Hanson already had plans to start a tourism business on his ranch by using the local ponderosa pine to build log cabins.

Joe and Eugene kicked the idea around over the years, but the dream became a reality after they shared it with the rest of their family in Christmas 2010.

Within the month, the family was taking contractor Nate Rude of Moorhead, Minn.’s Horizon Custom Contracting through the snowy fields in a Bearcat to get a closer look at the proposed location.


The Coteau des Prairies Lodge held its grand opening in June.

A majority of business thus far has come from events such as weddings, anniversaries and family reunions.

They now hope to attract more businesses and trade groups for meetings, training and retreats during the week.

“It’s an advantage to be 90 miles out of Fargo. It’s a getaway. It’s a team-building scenario,” Eugene said. “A lot of businesses in Fargo currently go places. They just don’t go here yet, but this is as handy as it gets.”

The Brekers would also like to fill the niche of agri-tourism. The lodge offers a variety of educational tours of a modern family farm operation.


The family owns about 80 percent of the lodge, with the remaining shares held by close family friends.

During the design, one thing they all agreed on was a concept of “refined, yet rustic.”

Ponderosa pine used in construction came from the ranch of their old friend Hanson.

They also agreed to incorporate agriculture into the design as much as possible.

Little touches such as chandeliers and stair railings made from repurposed dump rakes can be seen throughout the lodge.

Each of the guest rooms has its own theme based on quilt runners made by family aunt Cher Spieker and a few other local women she recruited for the project.

“We didn’t want it to feel like a motel. We wanted each and every room to have its own unique personality,” said Olivia Stenvold, Joe’s daughter and manager of the lodge.

Although the location is remote, the lodge also has many of the amenities visitors expect as well as cellphone service and free fiber-optic Internet.


While Hanson may have been the first to suggest a lodge, the hill upon which it rests has been special to the Breker family for generations.

From there, one can see the homesteads of Clarence Breker and Adeline (Syverson) Breker.

The two grew up nearby, just 2 miles apart.

After they married, it was there that Clarence would pick crocuses for Adeline in the spring.

It was where their sons, Eugene and Joe Breker, grew up tending cattle and fixing fence.

Nephew Andy Kiefer even picked the spot to propose to his girlfriend Karen several years ago.

The Brekers are now excited to share the beauty of the Coteau des Prairies landscape with the world.

For more information about the Coteau des Prairies Lodge, including a list of upcoming events, visit or call 701-680-1175.

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