Grand Rapids, Minnesota

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Grand Rapids is a city in Itasca County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 7,764 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Itasca County[3].

The city of Grand Rapids is named for the 3.5-mile (5.6 km) long local rapids in the Mississippi river, which was the uppermost limit of practical steamboat travel during the late 19th century. Today, those rapids are hidden underneath the dam of the Blandin Paper Mill.

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History

Grand Rapids was originally founded as a logging town, as the Mississippi River provided an optimal method of log shipment to population centers. The predecessor of the Blandin paper mill was opened in 1902.[4]

The Forest History Center is a State Historic Site and a living history museum that recreates life as it was in a turn of the 20th century logging camp. Costumed interpreters guide visitors through a recreated circa 1890's logging camp to educate the public on the history of white pine logging and its relevance to today's economy. Miles of nature trails, educational naturalist programming, and an interpretive museum are also located on the site.

Old Central School, located in downtown Grand Rapids, was built in 1895 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture. The three story building served as an elementary school from 1895 to 1972. A community effort restored the building in 1984 and it now serves as a location for commerce, houses the Itasca County Historical Society, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.1 square miles (20.9 km²), of which, 7.3 square miles (19.0 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.9 km²) of it (9.16%) is water.

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