In 1868, the grain trade in Minnesota was growing, but few railroads existed in the state. Steamboats were the supreme mode of transportation. William Robinson built a grain warehouse on the banks of the Mississippi to take advantage of the steamboat traffic. Shortly afterward the town of Jefferson was plotted. In a few years, however, the railroad came through, and a larger town was platted to the south. The Jefferson Grain Warehouse quickly became obsolete.
Former squatters and lumberjacks from the Beltrami Island area in Northern Minnesota. When the land was bought up by the government, this home-Northern Minnesota Pioneers' Home-was established. All these men are over seventy." Photographed by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration in 1939.
Mrs. Cornelius and son standing by their log house, homesteaded in 1912.They were resettled as part of the Beltrami Island reforestation project. Photographed by Paul Carter for the Farm Security Administration in 1936.
The Beltrami Island Project was a pioneering land program of the New Deal enacted across hundreds of thousands of acres in northern Minnesota. Federal and state governments worked side by side to move residents off of poor farmland as well as to restore forest across areas of the cutover region.