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Voyageur's Highway

Minnesota's Border Lake Land

Grace Lee Nute

Publication Year: 1987

A popular guide to the state's canoe country from Rainy Lake east to Lake Superior tells of famous explorers, the great fur traders, voyageurs, Indians, and loggers who passed that way. Photographs and maps support the fascinating, authoritative text.

Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press

Title Page

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pp. iii


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pp. iv

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Publisher’s Note

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pp. v-vi

THE MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY first published The Voyageur’s Highway in 1941. Since then it has undergone ten additional printings for total of thirty-eight thousand copies in print...

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pp. vii-viii

THE MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY takes pleasure in publishing this volume. I t has a history of its own. Frank Brookes Hubachek, a Chicago lawyer, for twenty-five years has spent much time in the Superior-Quetico region, roaming the country...

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pp. ix

To list all who have aided in the preparation of this book would require considerable space, for it seems to have caught the imagination of many persons. All who came to my assistance in planning...


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pp. xi


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pp. xiii-xv

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The North Country

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pp. 1-3

THE NORTH COUNTRY is a siren. Who can resist her song of intricate and rich counterpoint - the soaring harmonies of bird melodies against an accompaniment of lapping waters, roaring cataracts, and the soft, sad overtones of pine boughs? She...

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Glimpses of the Past

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pp. 5-10

HARDLY were the Pilgrim fathers acquainted with their rocky fringe of continent when French explorers reached the very heart of North America. By 1660 both shores of Lake Superior had been visited and men...

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Boundary Routes and Disputes

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pp. 11-18

FROM La Vendrye’s explorations in 1731 until shortly after the beginning of the Seven Years’ War in 1756 French fur traders came and went over the boundary waters between Lake Superior and Lake of the Woods. Two routes were in...

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Famours Men of the Border

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pp. 19-38

IT WOULD be unfair to the reader to omit personalities in this sketch of yesteryear on the border lakes. Nowhere did leadership, courage, and resourcefulness count for more than in...

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Fur Trading Companies

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pp. 39-47

BEFORE the days of trusts and cartels, great monopolies made history along the border lakes and elsewhere in the central, western, and northwestern parts of the continent. There the fortunes of men in London, Montreal, and New York were...

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pp. 48-58

THE VOYAGEURS of the North West Company imparted to the life of the fur-trading regime a sparkle that can be caught even at this distant day. Every year in the early summer brigades of canoes laden with furs and some pemmican passed eastward...

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Border Indians

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pp. 59-67

FEW AREAS of the United States can boast as varied an Indian history as northern Minnesota. Who the first natives were is uncertain, but most anthropologists today incline to the view that they were of Siouan stock, the mound builders. When...

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An Indian Captive

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pp. 68-70

JUST as the United States was adopting a constitution, a blue-eyed lad of some ten years, John Tanner, was stolen by Indians from his father’s stockaded cabin in Kentucky, near the mouth of the Miami River. He was fairly well treated by his...

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Physical Features

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pp. 71-78

GEOLOGICALLY the North Country bows to none in interest. It is a part of the oldest land mass in the world and is the southwestern end of the Laurentian Highland or Canadian Shield. It has passed through all the earth-building eras of the...

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From Finland and Jugoslavia

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pp. 79-83

THE RANGE towns have developed personalities of their own, differing in many respects from other places in Minnesota or elsewhere. Great steel corporations with their subsidiaries soon had control of both mines and railroads, raising questions...

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Logging Days

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pp. 84-89

JUST as our century opened, another chapter in the borderland’s history was beginning. White and Norway pines constituted a large part of the coniferous area of northeastern Minnesota. These trees were now cut and sent...

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Recent History

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pp. 90-95

THE BORDER COUNTRY’S recent history may be said to have begun in one sense in 1909 with the passage of an act of Congress creating the Superior National Forest. Simultaneously the Quetico Provincial Park was created on the opposite shores...


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pp. 97-100


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pp. 101-106

Index (maps and photos follow)

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pp. 107-113

E-ISBN-13: 9780873517560
E-ISBN-10: 0873517563
Print-ISBN-13: 9780873512138
Print-ISBN-10: 0873512138

Page Count: 128
Illustrations: Illus.
Publication Year: 1987

Edition: 1

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • French-Canadians.
  • Fur trade -- Canada.
  • Canada -- Social life and customs.
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