Grand Rapids, MN 55744
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Grand Rapids is a city in Itasca County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 7,764 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Itasca
The city of Grand Rapids is named for the local rapids in the Mississippi river, which was the uppermost limit of practical steamboat travel during the late 1800s. Today, those rapids are hidden underneath the dam of the Blandin Paper Mill.
Historically, the local economy was based on timber harvesting, and to this day, Blandin Paper Mill has its papermaking facilities in downtown Grand Rapids, while Potlach (now Ainsworth) is located just outside of the city limits. To the north and northeast of the city are iron mines (part of the Mesabi or Iron Range region of Minnesota) which grew into a leading industry in the early and mid 1900s, but is of declining importance today. The current economy has a large tourist footing, with many local resorts, golf courses, and excellent regional hunting and fishing.
The city of Grand Rapids sits on the junction of U.S. Highway 2 and U.S. Highway 169. Highway 2 runs west towards Bemidji, Minnesota, and east towards Duluth, Minnesota. Highway 169 heads south to Hill City, Minnesota and ultimately towards Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the other direction, Highway 169 heads up the Mesabi Range until it reaches Virginia, Minnesota, passing through Hibbing and several other smaller towns along the way. Grand Rapids is also the start of State Highway 38, running north along the Edge of the Wilderness towards Bigfork, Minnesota.
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