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International Falls is in northeastern Koochiching County, for which it serves as the county seat. Situated on the Rainy River in northern Minnesota, International Falls is across the river from Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada, with which it is connected by the Fort Frances-International Falls International Bridge. Voyageurs National Park is eleven miles east of the city. Other nearby communities include Pelland, Island View and Ranier, as well as Alberton Township, and La Vallee in Canada. Most years, International Falls has more days each year with a high temperature below the freezing point than any other incorporated city in the contiguous United States. In recognition of this, International Falls has long promoted itself as the “Icebox of the Nation,” a trademark that has been challenged more than once by Fraser, Colorado, which included years of legal battles. The falls area was well known to explorers, missionaries, and voyageurs as early as the 1600s, but a settlement was not platted there until April of 1895, when L.A. Ogaard surveyed the townsite for the Koochiching Company, naming it Koochiching. In 1901, the village was incorporated, and its name was changed to International Falls two years later, in recognition of its status as a border entry point. International Falls became a city in 1909. The Minnesota and Ontario Paper Company built a dam on the Rainy River to power its mills. The company was acquired by Boise Cascade Corporation in 1965, and sold to an investment group in 2003, but remains the largest employer in the area, although a paper machine was closed down in 2013, laying off nearly three hundred employees. Packaging Corporation of America now owns the company. The evangelist and Christian singer, Tammy Faye Bakker, was born in International Falls.


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