"Everyone has a listening-point somewhere." --Sigurd F. Olson
Listening Point, located on the south arm of Burntside Lake, was Sigurd and Elizabeth Olson’s retreat in the woods. They initially purchased 26 acres, and eventually enlarged their property to about 36 acres. The property, less than ten miles from their home, included a small beach, a cove bordered with alder and willow, upland stands of second-growth birch and pine, and large boulders dropped into place during the retreat of the glaciers during the last ice age ten thousand years ago.
Most important, however, was the westward-facing point itself: glaciated greenstone rock fringed with weathered pines and partly covered with a patch of bearberry and juniper. Sitting on the end of Listening Point, Sigurd could look out over the wide-open spaces of Burntside Lake, listen to the birds, watch the sunset, and regain some balance in a life that had become more and more hectic at a time when most people begin to think about retirement.
Sigurd Olson created Listening Point in 1956 as a private retreat. It became widely known and celebrated after Alfred Knopf published Olson’s book, Listening Point in 1958.
In 1998 the Listening Point Foundation was established to preserve Listening Point for current and future generations. Now headquartered in the Olson family home in Ely, Minnesota, the Listening Point Foundation offers guided tours of the Olson home, Sig’s Writing Shack, and Listening Point.
To learn more about how to visit us and schedule a tour, please contact us here.
A writer with a deep, lifelong passion for the importance of wilderness to the human spirit, and the desire to share it with the world.
Sigurd Olson (1899-1982) was a well-known environmentalist, award-winning conservation activist, and best-selling author. Though he lived in Ely, Minnesota and took numerous trips within the Quetico-Superior wilderness, he traveled widely and influenced the creation and preservation of natural areas across the country. Learn more about Sigurd Olson here.
The Listening Point Foundation works to preserve Listening Point and promote the legacy of Sigurd F. Olson in the world today.
Founded in 1998 by Sig’s younger son, Robert K. Olson, the Listening Point Foundation continues to promote Sigurd F. Olson’s legacy. Located in Ely, MN, the Foundation headquarters in the Olson family homestead, and continues to preserve Sig’s Writing Shack and the Listening Point property, along with providing educational tours and opportunities to the community. Learn more about the Listening Point Foundation here.
Keep the legacy alive by donating
We are working hard to create a sustainable financial future for the Listening Point Foundation.
Your donation helps us keep the mission alive and the Foundation moving forward. You can also make a lasting impression by donating a brick to our patio engraved with a message of your choice. Learn more by clicking below!