The Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned medical center, was founded in Rochester, Minnesota in 1864.
Cook County, located in northeastern Minnesota, has a rich and diverse history that stretches back thousands of years. The area that is now Cook County was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Ojibwe and Sioux. These tribes relied on the natural resources of the region for their sustenance and livelihoods.

European settlement of Cook County began in the early 1800s, with fur traders and explorers venturing into the area. The first recorded European settler in the county was John Beargrease, a French-Canadian fur trader, who established a trading post near Grand Marais in 1879. As more settlers arrived, logging became a significant industry, with the vast forests of white and red pine being harvested for timber.

In the late 1800s, the mining boom brought an influx of people to Cook County. Silver and copper were discovered in the area, resulting in the establishment of mining towns such as Tofte and Schroeder. However, the mining industry proved to be short-lived, and by the early 1900s, most of the mines had closed down.

As mining declined, tourism began to take on a more prominent role in Cook County's economy. The natural beauty of the region, including the rugged shoreline of Lake Superior and the pristine wilderness of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, attracted visitors from around the country. Today, tourism is a major industry in the county, with visitors engaging in activities such as fishing, hiking, kayaking, and wildlife watching.

In recent years, Cook County has faced various challenges, including economic fluctuations and environmental concerns. However, the county continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination and a place of natural wonder, with a strong sense of community and appreciation for its rich history.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Cook County, Minnesota.

  • 1856 - Cook County is established and named after Major General Philip Cook.
  • 1867 - The first European settlers arrive in the area.
  • 1884 - The Grand Marais Post Office is established.
  • 1918 - The Gunflint Trail is completed, providing a major transportation route.
  • 1940 - The Superior National Forest is established, encompassing a large portion of Cook County.
  • 1972 - The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is designated, protecting the natural resources of the region.
  • 1989 - The Cook County Historical Society is founded, dedicated to preserving the county's history.
  • 1990 - The Grand Portage National Monument is established, recognizing the cultural heritage of the Ojibwe people.
  • 2007 - The North Shore Scenic Drive is designated as a National Scenic Byway, attracting tourists to the area.
  • 2019 - The Cook County Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 100th anniversary, promoting economic development in the county.