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Grand Portage National Monument

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Address: 170 Mile Creek Rd, Grand Portage, MN 55605-3012
Phone Number:
+1 218-475-0123
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Description:

On a hot sultry day in mid-July 1802, partners of the most successful fur...

On a hot sultry day in mid-July 1802, partners of the most successful fur trade company in North America, the North West Company, met in their majestic Great Hall at Grand Portage and voted to move their summer headquarters from the protected shores of Lake Superior’s Grand Portage Bay 50 miles north to the mouth of the Kaministquia River. Almost from the time the vigorous Anglo-Scot Nor’Westers had organized at Grand Portage in the mid 1780’s an emerging United States wanted them out. The July vote would mean that 18 buildings constructed from native squared spruce, pine and birch and over 2,000 cedar pickets surrounding them would be torn down, transported north in company schooners and used in constructing the new Fort William far from U.S. soil. As early as 2,000 years ago, Indian Nations probably used Kitchi Onigaming “the Great Carrying Place” to travel from summer homes on Lake Superior to winter hunting grounds in the interior of Minnesota and Ontario. In 1729 Cree guide Auchagah drew a map for some of the first French fur traders showing them how to reach the "western sea" of Lake Winnipeg. Other Europeans would follow, in time, Grand Portage became the gateway into rich northern fur bearing country connecting remote interior outposts to lucrative international markets. Reopened in 1951 as Grand Portage National Historic Site, designated a National Monument in 1958, its nearly 710 acres lying entirely within the boundaries of Grand Portage Ojibwe Indian Reservation, the reconstructed depot celebrates fur trade and Ojibwe lifeways. Today as yesterday, the people, the cultures and the land have much to share.

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Excellent no-fee National Monument

Very new and impressive visitor's center. Stop there and see the 22 min movie first. It will make everything else make so much more sense. View the exhibits and artifacts in... read more

Reviewed 24 August 2016
David M
,
Minneapolis, Minnesota
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188 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 184: English reviews
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
174 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 August 2016

Very new and impressive visitor's center. Stop there and see the 22 min movie first. It will make everything else make so much more sense. View the exhibits and artifacts in the center and then walk down to the recreated village on the shore. Really good volunteer re-enactors (the couple from Texas playing French colonists were really cute). Go to... More 

Helpful?
Thank David M
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
404 reviews
85 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2016

The Monument is on the Grand Portage band of Chippewa Reservation and is a National Monument. This is not my first time. I'm always touched by the history. It includes a Native American display of life and the ways of industry of its time. Furs being a huge part of the trade. Then across the way is a fort of... More 

Helpful?
Thank MollyAW1234
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Level Contributor
27 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2016

Wow!! I learned more about the fur trade in the hour or so we were at Grand Portage National Monument than in all the history classes I have taken in high school and college. The interpreters are a wealth of knowledge about the fur trade as well as the life of Ojibwe and French who met here more than 200... More 

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Thank MNgirl3309
Madison, WI
Level Contributor
133 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 August 2016

While it isn't near much else, besides the Canadian border, this monument is well worth a side trip to see. The museum is well done and the "village" is particularly informative with the guides being extremely helpful and knowledgeable. Impressive what was done in the past and the amount of work required to make fur trading practical.

Helpful?
Thank bus_visitor
Level Contributor
31 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2016 via mobile

Grande Portage national monument is incredible. To think of ships and canoes dropping things off at that portage and for trading in the summertime with high seas amazing. I just taken girls canoeing so after learning what happened at that national monument in the huge canoes that people want to have a new respect for our ancestors. The museum in... More 

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Thank Shirleen S
Farmington, Minnesota
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 August 2016

This place is very interesting. They have real and realistic buildings, tents, canoes, furs, and costumed narrators who tell about this important place in history. It is free.

Helpful?
Thank Kate O
Belmar, New Jersey
Level Contributor
125 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 August 2016

I love NPS sites. Easy access to learn something about the history of how this area was developed through the extraordinary efforts of the fur traders

Helpful?
Thank LennyBK
Kennewick, Washington
Level Contributor
583 reviews
156 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 193 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2016

A very nice facility presenting the interesting history of the area trade and its peoples. There is a nice interpretive center, a reconstructed village, the actual portage itself for you to hike if you wish. Native arts available. Definitely worth a stop. Small entrance fee but it is free to senior golden pass holders.

Helpful?
Thank OutdoorBoomer
Fargo, North Dakota
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2016

This is a gem that is a person should not miss going to. I highly recommend watching the video that they show before going down to the fort. The video was so well done that a person could almost feel like they were back in time living it again. As you go down to the fort you will get to... More 

Helpful?
Thank rita l
Ohio
Level Contributor
149 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 July 2016

My husband and I recently visited the grand portage monument. At the visitor center, we were advised to hurry to catch the talk about building barrels and wood pails as my husband is a wood worker. Carl, the presenter who usually talks about building birch bark canoes gave the talk. We was a wealth of knowledge and also very entertaining.... More 

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Thank sinaigirl

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