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Logging and Alger-Smith Railroad

Logging around Knife River began in the 1870s.  Logs from one to three miles inland were rolled into Lake Superior and rafted to sawmills in Duluth.  In May 1898, the Alger-Smith Lumber Company built a logging railroad called the Duluth & Northern Minnesota Railway, which interchanged cars with the Duluth & Iron Range Railway at Knife River.  It was a common carrier railroad that transported passengers, freight and forest products. 

 

Pine logs from St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties were shipped by rail to the company’s two large sawmills in Duluth.  The village of Knife River grew rapidly with intense logging activity.  In 1919, Alger-Smith’s logging ended and in 1921 the railroad stopped hauling passengers.  Its 100 miles of track was taken up in 1923.

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Steam locomotive with snow plow blade.