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Isle, Minnesota is situated along the southeastern banks of Mille Lacs Lake. in northeastern Mille Lacs County. The main routes through the city are Minnesota Highways 27 and 47. Wahkon is southwest of Isle, along Highway 27, and the small community of Cove and the Mille Lacs Lake Indian Reservation are a little further along the road. Other nearby communities include Redtop, Opstead and Woodland. Cloquet is about eighty miles northeast. Both Isle and Isle Harbor Township, a city and port of Mille Lacs, were named for their harbor, partly enclosed and sheltered from storms by Malone Island, also known as Great Island or Big Island. The area was opened for homesteading in 1891, and the first business in the settlement was a general store and hotel built in 1894 by Charley Malone, who became the village’s first postmaster in 1896 and mayor in 1913. Malone had purchased the large island off the southeastern shore of Mille Lacs, which he named Ethel for his daughter. The townsite was platted in 1906 and incorporated as a village in 1913. Logging was the main industry of the town in the early days. White pine was transported by rail to Knife Lake, where it was floated down a chain of rivers to sawmills in Stillwater. Road construction brought tourists, and a few of the town's older resorts can be found at the end of Main Street. Never a large city, Isle has grown from a population of 328 in 1920 to 751 in 2010, with a sharp decrease in population in the 1950s and a minor drop in the 1980s, which were followed by a nearly 25% increase in the 1990s.

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