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Originally an Ojibwa village by the name of Chengwatana, which loosely translates to "white pine town," was in the general area that was to become Pine City. The Dakotas were the first in the region, then both the Dakota and the Ojibwa were there, and it was primarily Ojibwa by the early 1800s. Lumbering began with the Treaty of St. Peters in 1837, but the industry was initially limited to the available waterways. In 1848, the Ojibwa community of Chengwatana formed as an incorporated village, becoming the county seat of Pine County in 1856. In the late 1800s, European settlers came to work in the woods, and a railroad was built to support the logging industry. Pine City grew, and was platted in 1869. In 1872, two years after a fire destroyed the courthouse in Chengwatana, Pine City became the county seat. Pine City incorporated as a village in 1881, while nearby Chengwatana declined, becoming a ghost town. Over the years, several attempts were made to move the county seat to Hinckley or Sandstone, as these localities are more centrally located, but Pine City has prevailed in these efforts. In 1939, Pine City built a two-story city hall, but gave it to the county fearing that it would lose the county seat due to the need for more office space. In 1952, the courthouse burned, and a new one was built onto the north end of the one-time city hall, which is used in part by the city today. In 2007, a few years after a failed attempt to split the county, a new courthouse was built on the northern edge of Pine City. The city is served by Interstate Highway 35 and County Roads 7, 8, 9, 11, and 61. Pine City is situated along the southern and southwestern shores of Cross Lake, while Rock Lake is in southern Pine City. Nearby localities include Beroun, Grasston, Greely, Henriette, and Rock Creek. Grantsburg and Benson, Wisconsin are sixteen and twenty-one miles east and southeast of Pine City, respectively. Topics related to Pine City Township may also be listed here.

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