Grand Rapids, Minnesota
Grand Rapids was originally founded as a logging town, as the Mississippi River provided an optimal method of log shipment to population centers. The predecessor of the Blandin paper mill was opened in 1902.
The town was also the childhood home of Judy Garland, born Frances Ethel Gumm.
The Forest History Center is a State Historic Site and a living history museum that recreates life as it was in a turn of the 20th century logging camp. Costumed interpreters guide visitors through a recreated circa 1890’s logging camp to educate the public on the history of white pine logging and its relevance to today’s economy. Miles of nature trails, educational naturalist programming, and an interpretive museum are also located on the site.
Old Central School, located in downtown Grand Rapids, was built in 1895 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture. The three story building served as an elementary school from 1895 to 1972. A community effort restored the building in 1984 and it now serves as a location for commerce and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.