Logging Town Excerpt: Who Was This Man?

“Strange characters and men of obscure identity drifted into the lumber camps in the early days. Nobody knew who they were, or what, or where they came from. Nobody tried to guess what had sent them into the wilds. That was their own affair, and their new acquaintances judged them solely by their manner of [...]

By |2021-06-09T09:48:40-05:00June 9th, 2021|

Logging Town Excerpt: Home Rule Wins

“The hottest issue in Itasca County’s first election in 1891 was whether the county seat should be established permanently at Grand Rapids or LaPrairie. There are several interesting stories in connection with this contest. Most of the men working in the woods did not care which village won out in this squabble, but were all [...]

By |2021-06-02T11:32:29-05:00June 2nd, 2021|

Logging Town Excerpt: Pokegama Bear

“The Pokegama Bear was a real animal character in Itasca County’s earliest logging days. Until the last drive had floated southward to the waiting Twin City mills no lumberjack could be found who was not familiar with its demise. Frank Hasty recorded the actual event in verse and almost at once musically-inclined woodsman extemporized an [...]

By |2021-05-26T09:08:35-05:00May 19th, 2021|

Odds & Ends Excerpt: Busticogan Sorting Out the Truths by Rachel Shiller-Hartwell

Of the legendary Native American figures associated with Itasca County, perhaps none has more mystique than Busticogan. Busticogan, or “Busti,” as he is sometimes referred to, is particularly well known for the heroism he displayed during the deathly outbreak of smallpox in 1883. But accounts diverge widely, and it is often difficult to separate truth [...]

By |2021-05-12T09:31:18-05:00May 12th, 2021|

1918 Flu

In 1918, right in the middle of a strong conflict with Germany, America faced one of the worst flu seasons on record. While focused on the war in early spring, the infection found its way into a distracted country. While optimism championed for the impending end to the war, no one foresaw the devastation that [...]

By |2021-05-05T11:48:37-05:00May 5th, 2021|

Logging Town Excerpt: Murder in the Wilds

“In 1896 Napoleon Russell settled in 60-24 in a log cabin on the tote-road running through that township. Nearby on the shore of a lake lived John Bacon, alone, and farther down the lake was the cabin of Peter McKenna, known as ‘One-eyed-Pete’. Pete because he had lost one eye. One-eyed Pete had a bad [...]

By |2021-04-28T14:09:10-05:00April 28th, 2021|

Local Folklore: Anishinaabe Tale of the Wendigo

There is a lot of misinformation on this subject, especially with mainstream media now picking up the legend. This excerpt will refer to the traditional oral tellings and teachings of the creature. The wendigo, also known as windigo or wintiko, is the name of a type of creature of Anishinaabe legend. It is a cannibalistic [...]

By |2021-04-21T09:24:35-05:00April 21st, 2021|

Odds & Ends Excerpt: Kill Bill

In the Karjala research center is a short publication titled In Their Own Words: Murder and Mayhem- The Bloody Incidents. The booklet consists of a number of interviews conducted with former lumberjacks. Unfortunately, the names of the lumberjacks are only listed at the beginning of the booklet. Names are not matched with anecdotes, making corroboration [...]

By |2021-05-26T09:12:02-05:00April 15th, 2021|

Our 4 Elongated Coins

Here is a picture of all four. We designed our 4 pennies to represent our Itasca County in Minnesota. We have the picture GRACE; picture was taken here 100 years ago. Judy Garland Slippers; she was born here. Central School, historic building, and our own woolly mammoth original drawing; tusks were found here, furthest north [...]

By |2017-11-09T13:15:58-06:00November 9th, 2017|

Marion Brown Oral History Part I

Marion Brown Narrator John Esse Interviewer October 29, 1975 Grand Rapids, Minnesota Marion Brown             -MB John Esse                    -JE JE: This is October 29th, 1975 and were taping this morning up in the First National Bank Building which is presently our office space, and with us today is Marion Brown who is a one time resident [...]

By |2017-10-24T15:47:53-05:00August 25th, 2015|