The Grand Marais Harbor
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member bookworm1225
N 47° 44.957 W 090° 20.261
15T E 699550 N 5291867
Quick Description: Markers describing the history and geology of the harbor at Grand Marais.
Location: Minnesota, United States
Date Posted: 8/11/2009 5:15:58 PM
Waymark Code: WM6ZYR
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member KC0GRN
Views: 14

Long Description:
The Grand Marais Harbor

Lake Superior Indians recognized the unique nature of this bay long ago, naming it "Kitchi-Bitobig," meaning "double body of water." When white man first settled around this bay, in 1854, a few Indian families lived in tepees and cabins around the shore. White population increased rapidly after the 1870s, and dependence on ship transportation became more critical. Storms and shipwrecks led to demands for a lighthouse, which was finally built in 1885, the first on the American North Shore. As added protection for this harbor of refuge, the east breakwater had been built a year earlier; the harbor became even more protected from violent seas in 1901, when the Corps of Engineers completed the west breakwater and continued the 16-foot dredging project. During three generations, this bay was a busy hub of economic and social activity: commercial fishing, shipping and rafting of sawlogs and pulpwood, dredging gravel, picnics and bonfires on the point, 4th of July celebrations, skating and swimming, sailboat races, the arrivals and departures of the steamships "Dixon" and "America" and many other vessels. Until the new highway along the North Shore was built in the 1920s, this magnificent harbor was the focus of life in Grand Marais.

(Not listed in Minnesota History Along the Highways: A Guide to Historic Markers and Sites, but next to #217, Grand Marais.)

Geology of Minnesota
Grand Marais

The harbor of Grand Marais is the result of unequal weathering or erosion of two types of rock. One of these, called diabase, resulted from the cooling of molten material which was forced between two earlier lava flows. The dark, massive diabase, being very hard and resistant to wave action, has become the outer barrier to the harbor, while the lava, which was much fractured and easily eroded, was worn away to form the harbor basin.

To the west of Grand Marais, the serrated crest of the Sawtooth Range, clearly visible from the harbor breakwater, is another example of unequal erosion. Here the relatively soft basalt and the more resistant diabase have, through the process of weathering, produced the notched profile of the hills along the coast.

To the east of Grand Marais rise the hills near the mouth of the Arrowhead River, while to the north, along the Gunflint Trail, are older rocks. At Saganaga Lake, the Saganaga granite, one of the oldest granites in North America, marks a core of the ancient mountains of the Laurentian Highlands.

Erected by the Geological Society of Minnesota and the Department of Highways, State of Minnesota. Aided by a grant from the Louis W. and Maud Hill Family Foundation. 1955.

(#217 in Minnesota History Along the Highways: A Guide to Historic Markers and Sites, by Sarah P. Rubinstein.)

Marker Type:: Roadside

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Benchmark Blasterz visited The Grand Marais Harbor 7/29/2012 Benchmark Blasterz visited it
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PeanutsParents visited The Grand Marais Harbor 6/12/2011 PeanutsParents visited it
wildernessmama visited The Grand Marais Harbor 8/3/2010 wildernessmama visited it
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