Historical Markers in
Kanabec County, Minnesota

The iconic animated characters of Rocky and Bullwinkle were created by Minnesota native Jay Ward in the 1950s.
Kanabec County is a county located in central Minnesota that has a rich and vibrant history. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Dakota and Ojibwe, who utilized the land's resources for centuries.

The county was officially established on March 13, 1858, and named after a respected chief of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Chief Kanabec. The county experienced rapid growth during the late 19th century with the arrival of European settlers. They were attracted to the area due to its fertile land for farming and its proximity to the Snake and Kanabec Rivers, which provided valuable transportation routes.

Like many counties in Minnesota, Kanabec County had a significant lumber industry during the late 1800s. Large-scale logging operations were established, and timber was floated down the rivers to sawmills. The timber industry played a crucial role in the county's early development and economic growth.

As the logging industry declined in the early 20th century, Kanabec County shifted its focus to agriculture. The rich soil continued to be cultivated for farming, and various crops, such as corn and soybeans, flourished. The county also became known for its dairy farming, with numerous farms dotting the landscape.

Today, Kanabec County is a thriving rural community that cherishes its agricultural heritage. It offers a mix of small towns and rural areas, along with recreational opportunities like fishing, boating, and hiking in the beautiful surrounding natural areas. The county's history is celebrated through local museums, historical societies, and annual events that showcase its past while embracing its future.

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

  • 1855 - Kanabec County is established as a county in Minnesota.
  • 1860 - The first settler, David B. Gillette, arrives in the county.
  • 1868 - St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church is built in the town of Grasston.
  • 1869 - The town of Mora is established as the county seat.
  • 1870 - The first schoolhouse is built in Kanabec County.
  • 1872 - The Great Hinckley Fire impacts parts of Kanabec County.
  • 1879 - The St. Paul and Duluth Railroad reaches Mora, boosting the town's growth.
  • 1897 - The Mora Independent School District is established.
  • 1927 - The Kanabec State Park is established, becoming the first state park in Minnesota.
  • 1950 - The Mora Aquatic Center is built, providing recreational opportunities for residents.
  • 1972 - The Kanabec Historical Society is founded to preserve the history of the county.
  • 1983 - The Kanabec County Courthouse is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1999 - The Kanabec County Historical Museum opens its doors to the public.