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Fort St. Louis/Fond du Lac, Lake Superior

From 1615 until 1821, Lake Superior was known as "the Great Crossroads" of the western fur trade. The north shore of the lake harbored the major water routes to the western interior of North America. The British inherited the Lake Superior region from the French after the French and Indian War. In the later decades of the eighteenth century, the British North West Company controlled the Lake Superior fur trade. The North West Company was founded in 1779 by Scottish businessmen in Montreal.

Red Wing Ironworks, 2010, with St. James Hotel to rear

Red Wing Ironworks, with St. James Hotel to rear

Red Wing Ironworks built, 2010.

St. James Hotel of Red Wing, 2010

St. James Hotel of Red Wing

St. James Hotel, Red Wing built in 1875, restored 1979. Photograph, 2010.

Red Wing Shoe Company, view of west side, 2010

Red Wing Shoe Company, view of west side

Original Red Wing Shoe Factory, 2010.

Red Wing Shoe Company, front view, 2010

Red Wing Shoe Company, front view

Original Red Wing Shoe Factory, 2010.

William D. Sweasy, 1916–1991

William D. Sweasy

William D. Sweasy, CEO Red Wing Shoe Company.

Sweasy, William D. (1916–1991)

By the 1970s, Red Wing's famed Main Street scarcely resembled its 1870s glory days. But Red Wing was revitalized in the following decades by the vision and initiative of the Red Wing Shoe Company's William D. Sweasy.

La Pointe, Madeline Island, Lake Superior, Wisconsin.

La Pointe, Madeline Island, Lake Superior, Wisconsin.

La Pointe, Madeline Island, Lake Superior, Wisconsin, c.1905.

Ramsay Crooks

Ramsay Crooks

Portrait of Ramsay Crooks, undated. Artist unknown.

American Fur Company Fishing on Lake Superior, 1835–1841

In 1834, the American Fur Company established a commercial fishing operation on Lake Superior to supplement the company's profits. The financial panic of 1837 doomed the operation and the company declared bankruptcy in 1842. Commercial fisherman did not have a significant presence on Lake Superior again until the Duluth fishing boom in the 1870s.

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