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Hinckley is situated along the Grindstone River in Pine County, at the junction of Interstate Highway 35 and Minnesota Highway 48, about halfway between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth. County Road 61 passes through the center of the city. Portions of the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation are within and adjacent to the city. Before white settlers moved into the area, it was settled by the Ojibwe. When European-Americans came, the area was heavily forested. The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad constructed its lines to Hinckley in 1869, and the community was founded as a railroad village in 1885. Both the village and the surrounding township were named for Isaac Hinckley, who was a president of the railroad. Hinckley Township was organized in 1872. By 1894, the village and township were prosperous, largely due to its lumber industry, which was transported by rail. On September 1 of that year, the Great Hinckley Fire destroyed Hinkley and other northeastern Minnesota towns, and today the Hinckley Fire Museum tells the story of this fire. The fire destroyed the area’s timber, after which the area’s economy began to be based on agriculture, growing potatoes, fruits and vegetables. A dairy industry grew from the clover that became abundant in the region. In recent years however, agriculture has become far less important. The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe opened the Grand Casino Hinckley in 1992. The city’s population has risen each census year, with the exception of 1900, following the fire, and slight decreases in 1960 and 1990. Hinckley is just north of Mission Creek, and the city shares a school district with Finlayson, about eighteen miles to the north. Other nearby communities include Beroun, Brook Park, Cloverdale, Friesland, Kroschel, Sandstone, and Quamba. Grantsburg, Wisconsin is just under thirty-five miles southeast of Hinckley.

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