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Kelliher, Minnesota is in eastern Beltrami County, in the central northern part of the state. Minnesota Highway 72 is the main route through the city. Kelliher is south of the Red Lake State Forest. Nearby communities include Forest Grove, Mizpah, Northome, Saum, Shooks, Shotley and Quiring. The community began at the end of a branch railway of the Minnesota and International Railway, built for lumbering, and was named for Jerry O'Kelliher, a former agent for the lumber companies. A post office was established there in 1892, and Kelliher was incorporated as a village in 1903. The land that would become the township and city of Kelliher was originally owned by Ulysses (Jess) and John Freestone, who had filed stone and timber claims, and it was Jess’s claim that would become the site of the city. In 1897, the claim was sold to a Weyerhaeuser man, who sold it to the Crookston Land Company, a large landowner. The city was platted by O'Kelliher for George S. Eddy of the Crookston Lumber Company. Never a large town, Kelliher has been in decline since its peak population of 514 in 1920. Many of its former businesses have closed, but many of the buildings are still standing. Eggen's Cafe was a popular restaurant in the 1920s, and the Pastime Theater hosted vaudeville, boxing matches and silent movies in its day. The Kelliher Hotel was often filled with lumberjacks spending time and money in town, but the hotel building burned to the ground in 1971. Although roughly half its former size, Kelliher remains a living and active community for those who remain.

 

 

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