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Boese History Series

John Bauer
Don Boese

Northern Community Radio, KAXE 91.7, KBXE 90.5 announces local radio series about the unique history of Grand Rapids with the logging industry and the Blandin Paper Company.  Historian and producer Don Boese tells the story of how a remote wilderness outpost in the 1870s became a prosperous town with a world class paper mill. 

The first Euro-Americans arrived in the forested wilderness of Itasca County in the 1870s.  In those early days, the site that became the town of Grand Rapids was at the base of a three and a half mile stretch of unnavigable rapids on the Mississippi River.  It was the jumping off point for timber cruisers, loggers and homesteaders who came on steamboats up the river from Aitkin.  By 1900 the vast forests had been logged over. Town leaders like Dan Gunn were searching for a new economic future, a quest that led them to harness the power of the Mississippi and build a paper mill in 1901.  Don Boese introduces us to Dan Gunn, Charles Blandin, and many other characters and events that took Grand Rapids from a remote logging outpost to a 20th century paper mill town.

Don Boese is the author of eight books dealing with local history in Itasca County, including "John C. Greenway and the Opening of the Western Mesabi", and the main source for this series, "Papermakers: the Blandin Paper Company and Grand Rapids, Minnesota".

Listen this winter as KAXE/KBXE highlights Grand Rapids and Blandin Paper Company history with Don Boese.  The programs air Monday and Tuesday mornings at 8:45, and online anytime at www.kaxe.org.  Tune in live at 91.7FM in Itasca, Aitkin, Cass, and St. Louis counties; 90.5FM in Beltrami, Hubbard,  Clearwater, and Polk counties; 89.9FM in the Brainerd Lakes area, 103.9 in Ely.

For more information contact News Director Heidi Holtan at 800-662-5799 or email heidi@kaxe.org

Heidi Holtan has worked at KAXE/KBXE for over 20 years. She currently helms the Morning Show as News and Public Affairs Director. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North. In 2018 Heidi received the “Building Bridges in Media” award from the Islamic Resource Group for her work on KAXE/KBXE hosting conversations about anti-Muslim movements in rural Minnesota.