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Grand Portage in Cook County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

A Warehouse for Furs, Trade Goods, and Now—Canoes

 
 
A Warehouse for Furs, Trade Goods, and Now-Canoes Marker image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, September 5, 2019
1. A Warehouse for Furs, Trade Goods, and Now-Canoes Marker
Inscription.  In the 1960s, archeologists discovered here remains of a structure used between 1785 and 1802, unusual because it was built on posts. They found artifacts that match the bills of lading from bales, kegs, and cassettes (small trunks) that were canoed to wintering posts across what is now northwest Canada. There, the company men traded with Native American tribes for furs.

In 1793 alone, more than 182,000 beaver pelts were shipped via the Grand Portage—a volume that was unsustainable and detrimental to the North American beaver population. A warehouse such as this was used in summer to store goods and repack them for shipment. Each North canoe in a brigade (group of canoes) headed to the interior carried about 20 pieces weighing almost 2 tons (4,000 lbs; 3,600 kg) including trade goods, provisions, and supplies. Reconstructed in the 1970s, the warehouse today is used to demonstrate skills from the fur trade era and to display the Parks collection of birchbark canoes.

Photo captions:
Middle: Carefully packed for weight and balance, a trade good bale weighed 90 pounds (41 kg) and might contain beads, vermilion (red

Depot warehouse image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, September 5, 2019
2. Depot warehouse
dye), knives, shirts, wool leggings, silver pendants and armbands, kettles, axes, ice chisels, awls, gunflints, touqes (caps), twine for nets, and needles.
Right:A bill of lading for a canoe bound to a remote interior post. The crew included the foreman (F), steersman (S) and middlemen (m). The “Agrés” refers to the equipment for the canoe. A codline was used to track the canoe up rapids. Gum (pine pitch, bear fat, and charcoal), wattap (spruce root), and bark were used for canoe repairs.

 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceNative AmericansParks & Recreational Areas.
 
Location. 47° 57.712′ N, 89° 41.132′ W. Marker is in Grand Portage, Minnesota, in Cook County. Marker can be reached from Mill Creek Road 0.2 miles south of Store Road. Located at the Grand Portage National Monument. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 112 Mill Creek Rd, Grand Portage MN 55605, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The North West Company (within shouting distance of this marker); Voyageurs at Grand Portage (within shouting distance of this marker); North West Company Depot (within shouting distance of this marker); The Birchbark Canoe
Warehouse goods image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, September 5, 2019
3. Warehouse goods
(within shouting distance of this marker); North West Company Fur Press (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Guard the Gate (about 300 feet away); The Grand Portage (about 400 feet away); Naming This Place (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Grand Portage.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 17, 2020, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 51 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 17, 2020, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota.   2, 3. submitted on July 19, 2020, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide shot of the marker and its surroundings • Can you help?
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Mar. 6, 2021