Grand Rapids

City Meets Country

A Paper Trail

The Grand Rapids Water Power and Boom Company completed construction of the dam and the paper mill in 1902. The mill, known as the Itasca Paper Company, began paper production on February 19, 1902. The mill struggled to survive in the first decade, but in 1916 the St. Paul Dispatch Pioneer Press acquired the mill as a source of newsprint. A principle owner of the Pioneer Press, Charles K. Blandin, sold his interest in the newspaper in 1927 and took over the mill full time. Renamed as Blandin Paper Company, the mill became a pioneer in developing lightweight coated paper used in magazines.

Mill Workers


Tree Stand

Timber harvesting and paper making remain a vital part of Grand Rapids. Both activities are dedicated to preserving a healthy forest ecology. Timber is still a major resource. Careful conservation methods have been put into place. Even the smallest individual efforts make a difference in nature's balance. You may see tiny pieces of white paper stapled around the buds of baby white pine outside town along the Byway. The paper keeps deer from munching on trees that are still in a fragile state of growth.

Mill Workers

For more information, stop at the 1000 Grand Lakes Visitor Center and the Itasca County Historical Society, both in Grand Rapids.

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