With lots of community organizations, regular gatherings, and seasonal events, the communities of Bemidji and Blackduck are small towns with a BIG personality. Bemidji is a strong and growing community. As First City on the Mississippi, Bemidji is a historically charming, progressive and beautiful place. The Bemidji area offers the finest in shopping, education, medical care, top notch technology, lodging and governmental services. When you discover what the area has to offer you will consider making this your home too!
Enjoy our lakes, trees and our natural wonders, but don’t take our word for it; others recognize it too! Breath-taking natural beauty...the Bemidji community surrounds Lake Bemidji and boasts over 400 crystal clear fishing lakes in the region. There is over 440,000 acres of forest in Beltrami County alone, ensuring the alluring charm of the UC Bold North will live on.
This is a thriving regional center of over 100,000 residents. With innovative manufacturers, aspiring entrepreneurs and growing retail and services sector, the greater Bemidji region serves as the center for economic development for all of northern Minnesota.
You will find we truly are The Bold North of Minnesota’s Northland.
The Bemidji and Blackduck area is very rich in Native American and Logging history. Bemidji, the First City on the Mississippi, is a place with a unique and diverse history. The name Bemidji comes from the Ojibwe word bemijigamaag meaning "lake with crossing waters." This refers to the way that the Mississippi flows across Lake Bemidji on its way east. Blackduck, Blackduck Lake and Blackduck River took their name from a species of duck common throughout the state. A prehistoric Indian village once stood on the shores of Blackduck Lake, and some of the early fur traders may have visited this area, portaging over the Continental Divide, then traveling north on the Blackduck River.
Built in 1937, Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox Babe stand along the shore of Lake Bemidji near the Tourist Information Center. True to their Bemidji roots, this larger than life duo were known to work hard and play harder! Evidence of the legendary adventures of Paul Bunyan and Babe are found throughout the community and region. Some of these tall tales, still favored stories around northwood campfires. To this day, thousands of visitors come to see and be photographed with the legendary Paul and Babe.
When the fur trade declined in the mid-to-late 1800s, timber took dominance in the region. Lumber barons Thomas Barlow Walker, John S. and Charles Pillsbury, and Charles Ruggles invested millions in timber claims between 1874 and 1897. They sent timber appraisers, known as cruisers, to claim the best stands of white and Norway pine. In July 1903 Thomas Shevlin and Elbert Carpenter opened Crookston Sawmill #1 on the south shore of Lake Bemidji. They hired 450 mill workers and ran a 24-hour operation. By 1910, Bemidji's Crookston sawmill was advertised as the nation's second largest. Walter Brooks said, "The magnificent timber production brought the City of Bemidji to the rank of 18th in the state for volume of business."Lumber production was the area’s major industry, now Bemidji and the surrounding area is known for being the central hub for commerce and of course, its’ outdoor recreation of all kinds.