The Grand Rapids Weekly Eagle

Itasca County’s First Newspaper

Issue 1: Thursday, July 3, 1890

edited by Don Boese

The eagle, sui generis, (this is not Chippewa,) is the feather-covered bird of liberty that screams for equal rights, and flaps his wings on the American dollar. The Grand Rapids EAGLE, except the feathers, will have the same general plan of lusty scream for the giant young city of the north, and talons (may be talent) alike for the defense of friends and punishment of enemies.

In fact the EAGLE has so large an outfit of beak and claws, that friends are requested not to thrust their fingers into the cage, and enemies of our northern interests cautioned to, if possible, keep us from alighting on their collars. With eyrie central on the very head of the Father of waters — the newspaper farthest from the gulf on the Mississippi — and soaring chiefly over Grand Rapids and Itasca county, the EAGLE will yet keep its weather eye on the state political machine, and those who run it, and on the Big Cities which pad their censuses out of our pineries and mines.

Probably no new place ever starting in the west or in the east, ever liad (sic) so many elements of signal strength by nature and otherwise, especially in the kind of men interested in the place. Look at it. For twenty years this has been the very center of the lumbering business of the Upper Mississippi, and the pine and hard wood forests are as yet untouched. The owners of this vast storehouse of wealth are, of course the individuals first mentioned. Who are they? Why the brainiest, as well as the richest men in the state. Let us name a few.

The big-hearted philanthropist, and incorruptible ex-Gov. John S. Pillsbury, of Minneapolis. He is said to own in the vicinity of Grand Rapids, over 1,000,000 feet of standing pine. He will be naturally much interested in Grand Rapids.

T. B. Walker, the Minneapolis lumberman millionaire, has vast timber interest in this country. He will be interested to see this natural capital of the county develop and prosper.

The iron mining syndicate, at whose head is Hon. A. Paulson, also of Minneapolis, are all strong men interested here. Their best mine, the diamond, is but twelve miles northeast from Grand Rapids. Will they not put a shoulder to the wheel to help build up this place, especially since it is recently become so certain that the iron ledge on which the Diamond is located, extends to and beyond, and in fact underlies this town?

Hon. C. B. Buckman, the next Surveyor General of Minnesota, he of fame in the senatorial toga, is a pioneer lumberman of this part. He has large timber interests on the Mississippi and other near streams. We may say, too, without violating confidence, that Senator Buckman was, as an intimate friend of General Manger Fisher, a primary mover in the combination which has joined fortunes to build a solid city at Grand Rapids. Senator Buckman is therefore one of her first friends, and he never forsakes a friend.

Speaking of senators there is the young of Duluth, every inch a man, A. J. Whiteman. He has considerable interest in this county.

And last — the best kept for the last, like the wine of the ancient feast — is Hon. G. G. Hartley, of Duluth. His is a peculiar interest. A few years ago Mr. Hartley went to Grand Rapids as a log driver, with spikes in his shoes , and we presume, wore the traditional many colored flannels the lumbermen wear, and probably had his share of the little folks who dwell in the seams of said garments. At any rate, he who is now worth his big thousands, was then a common lumberman.

Later on, when he had made a stake at lumbering, he dreamed that some day there would a town here, and he bought one-third of the town site, which, except a part generously given away to encourage making a place here, he still owns. As elsewhere mentioned he will manifest his interest in the place, by building a two-story brick block, and that immediately.

Such are the kind of men interested in building a town here.


Leave Grand Rapids 6:00 a.m. Arrive in Duluth 10:10 a.m. Leave Duluth 3:00 p.m. Arrive Grand Rapids 7:20 p.m.


Leave Grand Rapids 7:00 a.m. Arrive Cloquet 12:50 p.m. Leave Cloquet 11:30 a.m. Arrive Grand Rapids 5:20 p.m. No trains on Sundays.

Connections at N.P. Junction with St. Paul and Duluth and with Northern Pacific trains; at Duluth Union Depot with all trains.

W.H. FISCHER, General Manager. J. J. MCMANUS, Train Master.


Steamer “Fawn” of Aitkin, Knox & DeLaittre owners A. DeLaittre, Capt. Boat leaves Aitkin Tuesdays, 10 a.m. arriving Grand Rapids Thursdays 4 p.m. Returning leaves same day as arrival, reaching Aitkin Friday 6 p.m. Connections at Aitkin with Northern Pacific railroad.

Special excursion rates made for parties.


JOHN BECKFELT, Postmaster Arrives 8:00 p.m. Departs 5:30 a.m.

The county bridge over the Prairie river has been advertised but not let, as yet.

The first train ran into Grand Rapids on Thursday evening last. No more stopping at the East End.

The mail now goes by pouch through to Duluth instead of Cloquet. A new postoffice has been established at Swan river.

The Johnson House is doing a land office business. Everything is strictly first-class and you feel perfectly at home.

Mr. M. McAlpin of Minneapolis owns a fine block of lots in Grand Rapids and will erect a fine residence this year.

The Pokegama Falls wagon road is rapidly approaching completion. It passes through Grand Rapids on Third street north.

Our people are pleased at Sheriff Markham’s appointment of a Deputy Sheriff. Harry Shiels will wear the badge with honor.

We regret to learn that Donald Grant, the great contractor, mourns the death of his venerable father. Mr. Grant has gone to attend the funeral.

S. Walker, one of the solid men of Brainerd, will build a meat market immediately and has been made a low rate on stock in car load lots by Gen. Freight Agent Rowley.

Sol Grant, relative of Contractor Grant, has personally had charge of the grade at this place. He is a prince of good fellows, and has bought a slice of Grand Rapids property.

Grand Rapids was almost depopulated the past few weeks by attendance of her leading citizens at U.S. and district courts-not as criminals, however, but as distinguished jurymen.

The injunction restraining the village election, on the grounds that the prepared boundary included part of La Prairie was entirely unnecessary. It has been decided to abandon the east end.

The are now back down the Mississippi. Lawrence’s, Sherry’s and Clough Bros. are the last to go by the Rapids. All were held back some time in Pokegama by water setting in from the Mississippi.

Surveyor Lewis is pushing the line for the wagon road to Pokegama Lake and getting an easy line. It will be about 3 ? miles long, and make a handsome drive to one of the loveliest bays in that great lake.

Prairie river drive is now out into the Mississippi. The last to come out are Price Bros., Sims, Blake Bros. And the Bovey & Delaittre Lumber Co., all of Minneapolis, and Coats & Freeman, of St. Cloud.

The depot grounds have now been finished some days. They are 3,000 feet long and 300 feet wide, prepared for storage for cars for the division terminus. By the time this issue is out the tracks will be fully completed.

A petition has been presented to the county commissioners for a wagon road along the Mesabi range, 12 miles to the Diamond mine, and has been accepted. In a few weeks more, the miners can get to and fro over as fine a road as can be built.

The veteran Col. T. J. Sheenan, ex-Indian agent at White Earth is now deputy U. S. marshall. His establishment at Grand Rapids, where he is so well know, would be a good movement by the Government on account of his great influence with the Indians.

J. B. Chatterton of Minneapolis, has completed the plat of Chatterton’s division of Grand rapids and it is now filed. It makes a magnificent lot of lots, of which the railroad company own one-half. It was divided by blocks, the company getting the even and Mr. Chatterton the odd numbered blocks.


The place to “catch-on.”

Seat of the North Star state fur trade.

Greatest native berry market in the state.

People with money, coming in every day to invest.

Progressive, wide-awake, energetic and liberal citizens.

The American flag flying over the $4,000 school house.

The finest natural water-power on the upper Mississippi.

Grand Rapids is the actual head of navigation on the Mississippi.

Citizens crossing and re-crossing the Mississippi, on a steel swing bridge.

One of the most beautiful natural, locations for a city the eye ever fell upon.

It is central to the finest hunting, deer, moose, bear, &c., and finest fishing on the continent.

County public improvements, roads, bridges, &c., far beyond what is usually found in a new country.

Center of all the upper Mississippi logging operations. Half a million lumbering supplies sold here annually.

Central to the finest agricultural lands in the state. Millions of acres for homesteaders, “without money and without price.”

The probable junction point of the railway line to the Red River valley, via Leech lake and Red lake Falls; a line sure to be built and soon.

Center of the largest body of standing pine in the world to-day, for the same area. Natural seat of its manufacture and shipment to the treeless prairies.

A fine county road, building for a drive-way three miles, to far and fair-famed Pokegama, the great inland sea resort. This lake has two hundred miles of lovely shore, and finest trout, bass and pike fishing in the world.

It is found that the Mesabi Iron Range passes directly under the town and is the center of all the great iron industry of the state. The famous Diamond mine is but 12 miles distant, the richest iron mine in the world.

The county seat, another year, of Itaska county, a county larger than some eastern states, and with stupendous natural resources, of iron, timber and magnificent agricultural lands. The county has tax valuation of $1,500,000.

While Grand Rapids is head of Mississippi navigation proper, yet boats can run many miles above the Rapids and above Pokegama Falls. Lydick Bros. Have for weeks been hauling by steamboat, supplies for Foley Bros. from Pokegama landing to the east end of Lake Winnebagoshish, something like 100 miles by water, but only sixty by land. From Winnebagoshish a tote road is building in the Red Lake direction. The Lydick beat will run all summer.

“Grand Rapids people think they hold the key,” wrote a chronicler who recently visited this region, since the opening of the railroad. He was only partly right. They not only think, but they know it, and not only Grand rapids pioneers who have so long lived on the faith that was in them, but every person who visits the region.

Man never found midst the richest of nature’s townsite treasures a finer natural location; for, in the midst of vast storehouses of treasures in lumber, iron mines, and rich agricultural lands, she sits right at the river’s edge, by the Father of Waters, on one of the most beautiful natural water powers the eye ever saw, while gemmed about, in every direction are the loveliest of lakes really overstocked with fish of the finest of Minnesota’s many varieties; and a most important discovery made by the engineers , is that nature has set close beside the town a natural water supply. It is found that Hale lake, a lovely one, only a little over a mi


As to settlement, the place is only identified with the earliest lumber operations of the Mississippi, thought the region was from time immemorial visited by whites and explorers. The early Jesuits undoubtedly ascended the Mississippi to the Rapids, attested by mission settlements at near points, especially Sandy Point.

The first build- (sic) was erected in 1874, by L. G. Seavy, now of Aitkin; but Warren Potter, of Aitkin, is justly regarded as “the father of the town,” having about that time established a trading post, and Potter & Co. Are still doing business “at the old stand.” The firm was for a time Knox & Potter, being C. C. Knox, of Wisconsin.

The Knox Bros. come next, being Hon. D.J. Knox, recently deceased, and L. F. Knox, the latter succeeding to the business, with another brother, Geo. W. Knox, now of Aitkin. Stores and hotels followed, and warehouses on the river docks; for steamboat was the only communication from Aitkin, nearly 200 miles, Grand Rapid


The following is an enumeration of the present business houses, and business men of Grand Rapids, including school, church, and other social interests. The business cards will all, without exception, be found in our advertising columns-a showing, for a new town, which we challenge newspaper experience anywhere to equal.

North side-Fronting on the rapids, and immediately overlying the recently discovered Mesabi Iron range, is the general store of John Beckfelt. Here is also the postoffice, and Mr. B. has been postmaster seven years, thus surviving all administration changes. He also has a freight house at the steamboat landing, for storage and forwarding-a building 48 x 120 feet.

At corner of First St. and Leland Ave., L. F. Knox has a fine store, the building the best in Grand Rapids, two stories high, the upper story making a fine residence. He has also here a real estate office, and the office of the Steamer Fawn, of Aitkin.

Opposite Knox’s across the avenue, is the large hotel property of Chas. Kearney, called the Itasca Hotel. This is one of the pioneer hotels of the whole upper country. Mr. Kearney also wears the ermine of Justice of the Peace, and swings one of Gov. Merriam’s notarial seals, as Notary Public, and does general conveyancing. He has large barns and a good livery service.

Adjoining the Itasca, is a large restaurant and liquid refreshment place, recently owned by genial A. T. Nason, but now connected with the hotel, Mr. Nason engaging in the land business.

Opposite the Itasca, stands one of the pioneer saloons, kept by Robert McCabe, who knows how to run a strictly first-class place.

Further up stream, directly abreast of the Rapids water power stands the Grand Rapids Hotel, James Sherry, proprietor, which has a large saloon and restaurant opposite. Mr. Sherry is a large lumber operator, and a business man with whom it is a pleasure to do business.

Next door, to the westward, is the Bodega Saloon, run by John McDonald for Minneapolis owners.

These business houses are at the old business center, near the steamboat landings and close to the river crossing, over a fine new steel bridge, which is of 150 foot span-a swing bridge constructed under government requirements.

Other north-siders are, Cleveland the jeweler, occupying front of the Knox building. Also, B. F. Sims, the only barber, who is to be found in the Itasca hotel. He owns a fine lot nearer the railroad and will build.

E. R. Lewis is a veteran civil engineer, and as Deputy County Surveyor is platting many pieces of land into lots. He has just finished a division for J. B. Chatterton, of Minneapolis.

Mr. Chatterton himself, is the large cedar operator, whose telegraph poles are heard of so much in the Mississippi. He has platted 160 acres and made generous donations toward starting Grand Rapids.

Geo. Keightly, builder and contractor, built the first building started under the new growth, and is an experienced builder and reliable man. This building is the Johnson House, Johnson Bros. proprietors, located at Leland Ave. near Third street. The brothers are C. M. and J. W. Johnson, of Hurley, Wis. Their hotel is 25×80 feet, two stories and is kept equal to the best. These gentlemen had the nerve to start in when no one had any certainty of a town here and deserve great success.

On the South side-The south side is naturally residence property, but several business houses are located there, including Potter & Co., elsewhere mentioned, of whom Geo. Meyers is the gentlemanly manager; M. L. Toole, saloon, and Wood & Daly, blacksmiths and wood and iron workers. Woods & Daly have built the new bridges at Grand Rapids, and just finished is a fine one over the ravine, near Leland Avenue.

Toole & Clay of this side are also heavy lumbermen.


Rev. Chas. L. Carhart, represents the Presbyterian society, in a charge that bids likely soon to have a church. He has also organized a Sunday school. The first effort for a church, however, were by Rev. Thomas Finlay, of the Second Presbyterian church, Duluth; was organized last January. (sic)

Grand Rapids has a good school, increasing rapidly. Several societies have permanent membership, and the I. O. O. F. have a hall on the tapis.