Grand Marais, Minnesota

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Grand Marais, Minnesota
State Minnesota
Cook County, Minnesota
Year founded unknown
Year Incorporated 1903
Country: United States
Population 1353
Official web site:

Grand Marais has existed for centuries, although it wasn't always known by its current name. The Ojibwe called this location Kitchi-Bitobig, meaning “double body of water”, and it was a Native American village for many years before any Europeans arrived. It is the translation from the French trappers’ dialect for this large bite out of Superior’s shore that lives today, “great marsh”. Grand Marais has been a fur trading post, fishing village, lumber town, hay fever haven and sports center, and it is now a destination that welcomes visitors enthralled by Lake Superior's majesty.

Grand Marais is located on a small double harbor on the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior. It is accessed by Highway 61, the North Shore Drive, which connects travelers to Canada and the rest of Minnesota. Grand Marais is also the entrance to the Gunflint Trail, a Minnesota Scenic Byway. This road cuts inland from Lake Superior to the lakes which border Canada and has a fascinating history of its own. Living “up the Trail” are hardy Minnesotans who do everything from operating resorts to painting landscapes of their beautiful northern wilderness, with plenty of hard work in between.

In its past, Grand Marais has been under several flags: French, British and United States. This land has been part of the Virginia Colony and the Territories of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. It has also been part of Itasca, St. Louis and Lake Counties. When Radisson made his trip along the north shore to Canada in 1657-58, Grand Marais was an Indian village. When fur trading was at its height in the 18th century, the Northwest Company, the Hudson's Bay Company, the American Fur Company and XY Company vied for trade in this region. The Northwest Company moved out of Grand Portage to Fort William, Ontario, Canada, in 1802 and later merged with the Hudson's Bay Company. By 1822, the Fort William Post trade business had declined, and the Hudson's Bay Company did most of their trading on the south shore of Lake Superior.

In the 1850s, French Canadian and Scandinavian settlers moved into the area, bringing new ways of life – mineral prospecting, commercial fishing and logging. A village of twenty-two people incorporated this harbor community in 1903, beginning a whole new page in the rich and diverse chapters of Grand Marais history.


Related Links

Wikipedia: Grand Marais

Explore MN-Community


    Buildings in Grand Marais, Minnesota

    # Street Neighborhood
    Blue Water Cafe, 20 West Wisconsin Street, Grand Marais, Minnesota 2020 Wisconsin Street W
    Cook County Courthouse, 411 West Second Street, Grand Marais, Minnesota 411411 Second Street W
    Joynes Ben Franklin Department Store, 205 West Wisconsin Street, Grand Marais, Minnesota 205205 Wisconsin Street W
    Lighthouse Keeper's House, 8 Broadway, Grand Marais, Minnesota 88 Broadway
    United States Coast Guard Station, Grand Marais, Minnesota

    Structures in Grand Marais, Minnesota

    # Street Neighborhood
    Lighthouse, Grand Marais, Minnesota

    Sites in Grand Marais, Minnesota

    Artists' Point, Grand Marais, Minnesota
    Cut Face Creek, Cook County, Minnesota
    East Bay, Grand Marais, Minnesota
    Harbor, Grand Marais, Minnesota

    Tours in Grand Marais, Minnesota

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