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Federal Dam, Minnesota is a small city near Leech Lake in northeastern Cass County. A post office was established in Federal Dam in 1910, and the community took its name from a nearby dam constructed by the United States government. Settlement of the area began in the late 1800s. Although a few fur traders, missionaries, and government employees had resided there before 1890, it was sparsely settled along the Leech Lake River, although there were large numbers of Indians living at Sugar Point and on Bear Island. When the U.S. Corps of Engineers began construction of the dam at Leech Lake in 1882, workers and traders came into the area. Congressional acts in 1887 and 1889 required the land to be broken up into individual land holdings, and the Chippewas were forced to cede their tribal interests in their lands in Minnesota in return for each individual Indian choosing an eighty-acre allotment, with the remainder sold at public auction or granted under the Homestead Acts. This brought other white settlers to the area seeking both farmland and timber property. Federal Dam has decreased in population each census period but one since reaching its peak population of 332 in 1920. However in 2010, its population rose by nine people. Federal Dam is within the Battleground State Forest and the Chippewa National Forest, just south of the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. The small community of Bena is north of Federal Dam along County Road 8, while Boy River is south-southeast on County Road 4, just off of County Road 8.



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