MN90: Mr. Cool

In this segment of MN90: Minnesota History in 90 Seconds, Britt Aamodt looks at Frederick McKinley Jones, the inventor of the refrigerated truck.

MN90: Horsecars

Britt Aamodt describes the introduction horse-drawn streetcars to the Twin Cities in the 1870s.

Grand Portage Trail sign inside Jay Cooke State Park

Grand Portage sign inside Jay Cooke State Park

Grand Portage sign inside Jay Cooke State Park. This six-mile trail, not to be confused with its better-known namesake, skirts the rapids and waterfalls on the St. Louis River. Voyageurs traveling along this route, which today lies within Jay Cooke State Park, headed into the Mississippi Basin or to Lake Superior. Used by Dakota people for centuries, this Grand Portage (a section of the Northwest Trail) was adopted by the voyageurs in 1798, after the North West Company built a trading post at Sandy Lake. Photo by Jon Lurie, 2020.

Lake Saganaga

Lake Saganaga

Lake Saganaga on the “Voyageur’s Highway.” Voyageurs who paddled the Canadian interior went as far northwest as Great Slave Lake, more than 3000 miles from Montreal. Because of the vast distances involved, these voyageurs would often winter over in the field. Some weathered the long cold season in remote fur posts; others were welcomed to winter with Indigenous families. When the lakes thawed in the spring, these men returned to their canoes, laden with furs, and headed for Lake Superior. Photo by Jon Lurie, 2020.

Sign marking the Voyageur’s Highway at Lake Saganaga

Sign marking the Voyageur’s Highway at Lake Saganaga

The Voyageur’s Highway memorialized on Lake Saganaga. This route, which spanned over 3000 miles from Montreal to the Pacific, was plied by voyageurs seeking advantages for their companies. By going to where the trappers lived, voyageurs sought to obtain furs before they could be sold to the competition. Some of the waterways along the Voyageur’s Highway include the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Lake Heron, Lake Superior, Pigeon River, Rainy River, Lake of the Woods, Winnipeg River, Lake Winnipeg, Cedar Lake, Saskatchewan River, Lake Athabasca, Slave River, and Great Slave Lake. Photo by Jon Lurie, 2020.

Sculpture at the beginning of the Gunflint Trail

Sculpture at the beginning of the Gunflint Trail

The start of the Gunflint Trail in Grand Marias, Minnesota. This road leads travelers into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, where voyageurs once paddled a long-distance route known as the Voyageur’s Highway. Photo by Jon Lurie, 2020.

High Falls on the Pigeon River

High Falls on the Pigeon River

The Pigeon River, which marks a thirty-one-mile portion of the US-Canada border, is the primary route by which voyageurs paddled to the Canadian interior. The lower Pigeon River, which empties into Lake Superior, alternates between navigable waters, cascades, and waterfalls. One of these, High Falls (pictured), is 120 feet tall—the highest in Minnesota. Voyageurs avoided the forbidding lower river by following the Grand Portage trail. Photo by Jon Lurie, 2020.

Beginning of the Grand Portage trail

Beginning of the Grand Portage trail

The start of the Grand Portage trail from Lake Superior to Pigeon River. While commercial travel on the Grand Portage ceased in 1803, the trail remains popular with hikers and canoeists seeking to relive the voyageur experience. Photo by Jon Lurie, 2020.

Sign at Grand Portage trailhead

Sign at Grand Portage trailhead

Sign near the Grand Portage trailhead in Grand Portage, Minnesota. From 1731 to 1803, this 8.5-mile portage trail served as the linchpin of a fur trade route between Montreal and the Canadian Northwest. Photo by Jon Lurie, 2020.

Canoe

Canoe

Birchbark canoe (possibly Ojibwe) created ca. 1900.

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