Lake County, Minnesota

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Lake County is a county located in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of 2000, the population was 11,058. Its county seat is Two Harbors[2]. Lake County was founded on February 20, 1855, as Superior County, though its name was changed on March 3, of that year to St. Louis County. On March 1, 1856, St. Louis County became Lake County, while Newton County to the west was renamed St. Louis County.



Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the area had long been inhabited by Native American groups. At the time of European contact, the principal Native American groups in the region were the Dakota (Sioux) and Ojibwe (also called Anishinabe or Chippewa). The economy of these groups was based on hunting, fishing and gathering, with wild rice being of particular importance. The first Europeans to explore the area were the French in the late 17th century [3] who were followed by trappers, fur traders, missionaries, and explorers. Beaver Bay was the first city in Lake County in 1855.

In 1868, iron ore was discovered on the Vermillion Range by George Stuntz. In 1884, the first shipment of ore left Agate Bay, marking Minnesota's entry into the iron ore industry. During the late 1880s, commercial fishing began on Lake Superior with the coming of Swedish and Norwegian immigrants to the North Shore. In 1890, the Merritt brothers discovered the Mesabi Range. The Two Harbors Lighthouse was built on Agate Bay in 1892. Ten years later, five Two Harbors businessmen signed the articles of incorporation for a new mining company named 3M.

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