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Grand Portage, Minnesota: Wikis


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Grand Portage is an unorganized territory in Cook County, Minnesota, on Lake Superior, at the northeast corner of the state near the border with northwestern Ontario. The population was 557 at the 2000 census. The town of Grand Portage lies within the Grand Portage Indian Reservation.

The adjacent Grand Portage National Monument celebrates traditional Ojibwe lifeways and the history of the North West Company fur trading post that was located there.

Grand Portage is the home of the dock for the Wenonah and Voyageur II passenger boats, bringing tourists and campers to Isle Royale National Park.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the unorganized territory has a total area of 192.5 square miles (498.7 km²), of which, 74.2 square miles (192.2 km²) of it is land and 118.3 square miles (306.5 km²) of it (61.46%) is water.

Minnesota Highway 61 serves as a main route in the community.


Beginning in the 1600s Grand Portage became a major center of the fur trade. The French established this trade with the Native Americans until the British took it over in the 18th century. The North West Company established the area its regional headquarters and soon Grand Portage became one of Britain's four main fur trading posts, along with Niagara, Detroit, and Michilimackinac.[1] The British built Fort Charlotte in the area to protect this lucrative trade as well as the Native American and European settlements in the area that supported it. Even after the Treaty of Paris in 1783 between Britain and the U.S. resulted in Grand Portage becoming U.S. territory the British continued to operate in the area.

In 1803 following the Louisiana Purchase in which the U.S. acquired the lands to the west of Grand Portage the British finally withdrew from Fort Charlotte.[2] The North West Company moved its headquarters northward and British fur traders gradually abandoned the area. The area rapidly declined economically.


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 557 people, 247 households, and 137 families residing in the unorganized territory. The population density was 7.5 people per square mile (2.9/km²). There were 286 housing units at an average density of 3.9/sq mi (1.5/km²). The racial makeup of the unorganized territory was 35.73% White, 57.81% Native American, 0.36% from other races, and 6.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.97% of the population.

There were 247 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.8% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.5% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the unorganized territory the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 8.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males.

The median income for a household in the unorganized territory was $30,326, and the median income for a family was $31,771. Males had a median income of $26,458 versus $22,232 for females. The per capita income for the unorganized territory was $15,782. About 18.9% of families and 21.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.1% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.


  1. ^ Gilman (1992), p. 74.
  2. ^ Association of Ontario Land Surveyors (1902), p. 108.
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  


External links

Coordinates: 47°57′50″N 89°41′05″W / 47.96389°N 89.68472°W / 47.96389; -89.68472

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