PR: History buffs find charming destinations in Grand Marais and Cook County


History buffs find charming destinations in Grand Marais and Cook County

COOK COUNTY, MINN. – April 16, 2018 – The Grand Marais area is rich with history involving Ojibwe people, French fur traders, and Scandinavian settlers. Tourists interested in the area’s top historical destinations can participate in the Cook County Historical Society’s Passport Program, which encourages them to visit up to 20 area historical locations.

Chippewa City Church

In the late 1800’s, the village of Chippewa City had over 100 families, and a tiny Catholic church stood as the center of their village.  Visitors are welcome at St. Francis Xavier Church, built in Chippewa City in 1895 by Ojibwe carpenter Frank Wishkop. It is a serene stop just off Highway 61, at milepost 111, which is one mile east of Grand Marais on Highway 61. In the late 1900’s, it was the hub of the community. The church began as a Jesuit mission for the priests who travelled from the dioceses of Fort William/Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) to hold services with the residents of Chippewa City. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. For more info, see:

Grand Marais’ Lighthouse

By the early 1900’s, settlement and population growth had progressed slowly.  Fishing and logging became the primary industries, and the current lighthouse was constructed in 1922 for the harbor town of Grand Marais.  The original lighthouse – the first on the North Shore – was made of wood and built in 1885.  A sturdy, concrete breakwater was added and provides access to the lighthouse. Today visitors have access to the lit point, where they can take in a breathtaking view of the harbor and the Sawtooth Mountain range.  Large ships used this harbor for many decades, and they were the main mode of transportation for goods, services, and people until 1928 when the highway connected Grand Marais to the rest of the state.

Cook County Historical Society

In addition to the construction of the lighthouse, the federal government also commissioned the construction of the keeper’s residence, which was built in 1896. This charming structure is nestled on Grand Marais’s main road leading out to Artist’s Point, and currently houses the Cook County History Museum.  Prior to the electrification and computer automation, early lighthouse keepers were needed to trim the wicks, replenish fuel, wind clockworks and perform maintenance tasks. The keeper’s residence now features a variety of historic displays, as well as the beautiful Fresnel lens used in the community lighthouse for more than 100 years.  It was recently replaced, and museum visitors can examine the brilliant craftsmanship in this well-made, sturdy glass centurion. For more info, see

About Visit Cook County

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #visitcc, Twitter @CookCoVisitorsFacebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at



Katie Krantz (218) 387-2788 Photos available for the story