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Lake County is a county located in the U.S. state of Minnesotamarker. As of 2000, the population was 11,058. Its county seat is Two Harborsmarker . Lake County was founded on February 20, 1855, as Superior County, though its name was changed on March 3, of that year to St. Louis County. On March 1, 1856, St. Louis County became Lake County, while Newton County to the west was renamed St. Louis Countymarker.


Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the area had long been inhabited by Native American groups. At the time of European contact, the principal Native American groups in the region were the Dakota (Sioux) and Ojibwe (also called Anishinabe or Chippewa). The economy of these groups was based on hunting, fishing and gathering, with wild rice being of particular importance. The first Europeans to explore the area were the French in the late 1600s [14214] who were followed by trappers, fur traders, missionaries, and explorers. Beaver Bay was the first city in Lake County in 1855.

In 1868, iron ore was discovered on the Vermillion Range by George Stuntz. In 1884, the first shipment of ore left Agate Bay, marking Minnesotamarker's entry into the iron ore industry. During the late 1880s, commercial fishing began on Lake Superiormarker with the coming of Swedishmarker and Norwegian immigrants to the North Shore. In 1890, the Merritt brothers discovered the Mesabi Range. The Two Harbors Lighthousemarker was built on Agate Bay in 1892. Ten years later, five Two Harbors businessmen signed the articles of incorporation for a new mining company named 3M.

The 3M Corp, which today has over 70,000 employees worldwide and produces more than 50,000 adhesive household products, now has its headquarters in St. Paulmarker. In 1906, the Court House, which stands to this day, was built. In 1907, one of the nation's first steel ore docks was built in Two Harbors. In 1944, one of the first HMO in the United Statesmarker was created in Lake County to serve railroad employees.

Topography and Vegetation

Lake County is located in the Arrowhead Region of Northeastern Minnesota covering 2,062 miles. Lake County is known for its spectacular natural beauty and within its boundaries are four state parksand a National Forest. Lake County offers superior hiking, camping, fishing and winter recreational opportunities. Lake County has Lake Superiormarker, the largest freshwater lake in the world right at its side. With its rugged beauty and pristine shoreline, Lake County offers many recreational opportunities as well as historical shipwrecks, two operating lighthouses and two public marinas. Lake County is home to mining, logging, wood products, lumbering, shipping and transportation, manufacturers, great health care and tourism for all ages.

Presidential Election Results

Presidential Election Results 1992-2008
Year Democrat Republican
2008 59.89% 4174 37.82% 2636
2004 59.57% 4212 39.16% 2769
2000 54.53% 3579 37.56% 2465
1996 56.2% 3388 27.9% 1684
1992 53.7% 3415 23.0% 1465


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,991 square miles (7,746 km²), of which 2,099 square miles (5,437 km²) is land and 892 square miles (2,309 km²) (29.81%) is water.

Major highways

Adjacent counties

National protected area


As of the census of 2000, there were 11,058 people, 4,646 households, and 3,140 families residing in the county. The population density was 5 people per square mile (2/km²). There were 6,840 housing units at an average density of 3 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.99% White, 0.10% Black or African American, 0.70% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.14% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. 0.57% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.3% were of Norwegian, 17.8% German, 14.3% Swedish, 8.4% Finnish, 6.3% Irish and 5.4% English ancestry.

There were 4,646 households out of which 27.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.80% were married couples living together, 6.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.40% were non-families. 28.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the county the population was spread out with 22.30% under the age of 18, 6.60% from 18 to 24, 24.50% from 25 to 44, 26.70% from 45 to 64, and 20.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 99.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,402, and the median income for a family was $46,980. Males had a median income of $39,719 versus $26,500 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,761. About 5.50% of families and 7.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.40% of those under age 18 and 5.70% of those age 65 or over.


Cities Townships Unincorporated communities Unorganized


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