The Cook County herald (Grand Marais, Minn.) 1893-1907 Browse the title
The Cook County news-herald (Grand Marais, Minn.) 1907-current Browse the title
The Grand Marais Cook County Herald began publication on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior in June of 1893 as a continuation of the county’s first newspaper, the Grand Marais Pioneer. Published weekly, the Cook County Herald first contained four pages and six columns. By the end of the original owner’s term in December 1907, it had increased to eight pages and seven columns. Shortly after the circulation of the first issue, the Cook County Herald was elected the official paper of Cook County by the Board of Commissioners. The newspaper was contracted to publish official government announcements, County Commission meeting minutes, and county financial statements. These official notices, along with local news items, made up the bulk of the newspaper’s content in its early years.
At the turn of the century, the harbor village of Grand Marais, just 40 miles from the Canadian border, and the surrounding Arrowhead Region of Minnesota were experiencing a population increase because of the discovery of iron ore and a boom in the lumber industry. The development of Minnesota’s Iron Range was spurred by the arrival of the railroads, and that in turn brought a large number of immigrants to the area. By 1900 there were 810 residents in Cook County, up from just 98 people 10 years before. Christopher “Chris” Murphy bought the Grand Marais Pioneer and renamed it the Cook County Herald in 1893. Murphy was heavily involved in local politics and used the newspaper to promote the Democratic candidates and policies he supported. He also included local news from nearby communities such as Tofte, Hovland, Schroeder, Grand Portage, and the Grand Portage Indian Reservation of the Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe). In addition to social news, railroad and U.S. Land Office reports were frequently covered, as was news related to farming. Area residents kept abreast of the comings and goings of the steamer Hiram R. Dixon during the first decade of the Cook County Herald since it was an important transport for passengers, merchandise, and fish. John Beargrease, Ojibwe resident and local mail carrier, was also commonly followed in the early years of the paper. For over two decades he traveled up to 30 miles a day by dogsled or boat to complete his postal route between Two Harbors and Grand Marais. Today, the John Beargrease Dog Sled Marathon commemorates his trips along the Lake Shore Trail that kept the lines of communication open through even the harshest winters on the shores of Lake Superior.
The Cook County Herald was sold to John A. Blackwell, editor of Grand Marais’ Republican newspaper the Grand Marais News, in December 1907. He combined the two titles and began publishing the Grand Marais Cook County News-Herald on December 19, 1907. The new title continued to be published weekly and focused on local news items. It also featured Timber and Stone Act notices, agricultural columns, current affairs, state and national news, literature serials, and columns for women and young readers. Blackwell sold the Cook County News-Herald in 1912 and moved to Florida, but reacquired it in 1920 when he returned to Grand Marais. He published the paper until 1928, when he sold it to Benjamin H. Scott and Adolph A. Toftey. The Cook County News-Herald has changed hands many times since then; however, it continues to be the major publication of the community up to the present day.
“How Paper Changed Hands.” Cook County News-Herald, July 10, 1941.
Raff, Willis H. Pioneers in the Wilderness: Minnesota’s Cook County, Grand Marais and the Gunflint in the 19th Century. Grand Marais, Minnesota: Cook County Historical Society, 1981.
Upham, Warren. Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society, 2001.
Wikipedia. “Cook County, Minnesota.” Last modified February 22, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cook_County,_Minnesota.
“Cook County Historical Society.” Accessed on March 4, 2013. http://www.cookcountyhistory.org/.
MNOpedia. “Beargrease, John (1858-1910).” Last modified May 7, 2012. http://www.mnopedia.org/person/beargrease-john-1858-1910