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Nestled into Carlton County, Moose Lake has a population of 2,789 residents. The Village of Moose Lake was incorporated on February 15, 1889. In 1890, the population was a mere 169 people. By 1930, the population grew to about 740.
Moose Lake has beautiful summers and harsh Minnesota winters. January is the coldest month in the area with an average high of just 22 degrees. Snowfall varies greatly from year-to-year, but the most snow can be expected during the month of March. During the summer, temperatures can reach the low 90's, but average highs stay at, or below, 80 degrees. Northern MN sees colorful autumns, so visiting Moose Lake for the fall foliage is best in late September and early October.
As of 1960, there were 13 Native American Mounds in the area. Because this was a perpetual battleground for the Chippewa and the Sioux, they could have been constructed by members of those tribes sometime between 500 B.C. and 1700 A.D. However, they could date back to year 1000 and be linked to the Hopewell Tribe. Many tribes use mounds to bury their dead, however only one of the mounds that were explored uncovered anything but sand.
Native Americans contributed many useful ideas and tools to the early white settlers of the area. Birch bark canoes were utilized by trappers and traders. "Bull boats" were made of spruce or elm, and occasionally moose hides were stretched over cedar or willow frames. Snowshoes were some of the most useful and practical tools used by Native Americans and early settlers of the Moose Lake area.
Settlers came predominantly from Scandinavian countries. The first recorded settlement came in the late 1860's. Ole Amunson settled on the eastern shore of Sturgeon Lake and made the first permanent home in the area. Land seekers started to come in increasing numbers in the 1880's.
The Northern Pacific Railroad started in 1864. Logging operations peaked in 1890's and 1900's.
The Moose Lake portion of the Soo Line Railroad was completed in 1910. By 1911, there were three passenger trains and multiple freight trains running along the Soo Line Railroad.
The first automobile driven through Moose Lake was a a 2-cylindar Metz roadster owned by a jeweler from Barnum. In 1911, Herman Carlton bought the first automobile in Moose Lake. It was a high-wheeled steam roadster. As automobile ownership grew, by 1914 the Berquist Brothers opened the first garage in Moose Lake.
The first full-service store was owned by Cornelius McCabe and opened in 1882.
In 1906, Herb Skelton of Barnum extended the Tri-state Telegraph and Telephone lines to Moose Lake, giving residents their first access to telephone service.
The 1918 fires are one of the worst documented natural disasters in MN history. 72mph winds helped spread the massive fires across approximately 1500 square miles, killing 438 people and injuring many more.