Minnesota's forests played a role in historyby Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio
As Minnesota wraps up statehood week, history is alive up north. The Forest History Center in Grand Rapids is gearing up for a flood of visitors as school kids make spring field trips.
One of the highlights is an authentic logging camp complete with Louie the cook and an accordion player named Willie. The year is 1900 -- the setting, one of the hundreds of logging camps in northern Minnesota. It was a time when more than 20,000 lumberjacks were on the job all across the northern forest.
Grand Rapids, Minn. — The Forest History Center in Grand Rapids is celebrating 30 years as an interpretive center for the logging industry. About 5,000 school kids take field trips to the center each spring.
The center is located on 170 acres of rolling forested hills along the Mississippi River. Visitors learn about the history and ecology of logging in Minnesota through interactive and multi-media presentations. The recreated 1900s logging camp is complete with interpretors who serve as lumberjacks, blacksmiths and cooks.
Tom Robertson's audio postcard lets you visit the history center as a second grade class from Grand Rapids learns to use a cross cut saw and sings along with Willie, the camp's accordian player.
The Forest History Center opens for the season on May 24. A number of sesquicentennial events are planned for throughout the summer.
- Morning Edition, 05/19/2008, 7:55 a.m.