Willow River, Minnesota

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Willow River is a city in Pine County, Minnesota, United States, at the confluence of the Kettle and Willow Rivers. The population was 309 at the 2000 census.

Interstate 35, County Road 43, and County 61 (Cross Street) are three of the main routes in the community.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.5 km²), of which, 1.6 square miles (4.1 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (8.72%) is water.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 301 people, 130 households, and 69 families residing in the city. The population density was 196.7 people per square mile (76.0/km²). There were 155 housing units at an average density of 98.7/sq mi (38.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.88% White, 4.53% Native American, 0.97% from other races, and 1.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.94% of the population.

There were 129 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.7% were non-families. 39.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.37.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.5% under the age of 18, 12.0% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,938, and the median income for a family was $44,167. Males had a median income of $37,656 versus $25,417 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,620. About 16.1% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.3% of those under the age of eighteen and 18.6% of those sixty five or over.


Willow River was established in 1891 by a small group of pioneers. Small amounts of gold had been found downstream in the Willow River and the group felt the possibility of more gold upstream warranted further exploration. Only small amounts of gold were found through panning in the river, and geologic surveys showed gold deposits underground due to the proximity to the Duluth Geologic Complex were not in high enough concentrations to have either an underground or surface mine be economically feasible.

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