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Big Falls is a small city in northern Minnesota, situated near the center of Koochiching County. Named for a nearby waterfall on the Big Fork River, Big Falls has had a post office since 1906. Prior to the area’s settlement, although Indians were not known to have lived there, they surely paddled through it over the Sturgeon River and Big Fork River to Rainy Lake and the Lake of the Woods. It is likely that fur traders followed the same routes, and a small fur trading post was set up for the Hudson’s Bay Company on the Sturgeon River, not far from the current location of Big Falls. In the early 1900s, lumbermen came to the area, and the Big Fork and Northern Railway was constructed from Northome to Big Falls, then leased to the Minnesota and International in 1905, and now controlled by the Northern Pacific. Land was also cleared for agricultural purposes, as new settlers built farms, particularly for the growing of clover, potatoes, and small grains. The Croswell Power and Light Company constructed a hydroelectric power plant south of the falls of the Big Fork River, a quarter mile from town. US Highway 71 was paved from Big Falls to the Canadian border in 1939, after which work was continued south, and today Highway 71 is the primary route through Big Falls, intersecting with Minnesota Highway 6 in town. Grand Falls is just across the Big Fork River from Big Falls. The Nett Lake Indian Reservation is east of Big Falls. Other nearby communities include Craigville, Gemmell, Lindford, Littlefork, Margie, and Wisner. Red Lake, Minnesota is about sixty-seven miles southwest, and Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada is about forty miles northeast of Big Falls.



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