The History of Bovey, Minnesota (through 1910)

Bovey was the first village founded in the Canisteo district and it has always maintained the first place as a trading center therein. Its settlement began at a time when prospecting and exploration work in this district was beginning to show some activity, although no active mining operations were commenced 749  until several years later. The nearest railroad station was at Grand Rapids, and the only routes of transportation were the rude trails worn through the woods by the prospectors. Freighting by team was possible as far as Bovey, which at once became the headquarters and source of supplies for many expeditions into the wilderness.

The village was incorporated in September, 1904, at which time the population was barely sufficient to comply with the legal requirements, but it now includes fully 1, 200 people. With the coming of the Duluth, Missabe & Northern railroad in 1907, the place began to take on more metropolitan airs and many substantial buildings and other improvements have since been made. A system of waterworks was constructed that season and the place now has two miles or more of water main. A sewer system, constructed in 1908, is being extended and considerable street grading is in progress.

The water supply, obtained from artesian wells, is forced into a tank at an elevation of over 100 feet above the business center of the town and furnishes abundant pressure for all purposes.

A well-drilled volunteer fire company, equipped with several hundred feet of hose, has shown itself equal to any emergency, though some quite formidable blazes have broken out at times.

A growing spirit of civic pride is evident. A substantial brick school building was erected in 1907 and several churches minister to the spiritual needs of the people, while the social instincts are well developed. The commercial interests of Bovey are closely linked with those of Coleraine, which is less than one mile distant.

Both derive their chief support from adjacent mining industries and, regarded as one business center, it promises soon to become the chief city of Itasca county.

The Itasca “Iron News” is one of the live newspapers of the range which has achieved success in a comparatively brief period of time. Its publication was commenced October 20, 1905, when the entire village of Bovey consisted of six or eight buildings.

A corner was secured for the printing office in one of these buildings already occupied by a bank and a saloon. The first issue was published by A. L. La Freniere, of Grand Rapids, who then engaged Mr. L. D. Lammon to take charge. This gentleman has since continued the publication, having become proprietor the following February. The office now occupies commodious quarters, with ample equipment for doing a general printing business.

Mr. Lammon is now serving as postmaster at Bovey, having been appointed to that office in November, 1907.

An interest in the “Iron News” was recently purchased by George B. Heath, a veteran journalist


  • Woodbridge, Dwight and John Pardee, eds. History of Duluth and St. Louis County Past and Present Vols. 1 – 2. C. F. Cooper & Company, Chicago: 1922.
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