BUENA VISTA, MINNESOTA
A History of the Town and
The Wagon Trails of Beltrami County before the
The First Railroad in Beltrami County
The Pioneer Community of Buena Vista, Minnesota, and the wagon trails that brought in new
settlers and supplies for the logging camps and homesteaders make a local history story that
began over one hundred years ago. In May, 1996, Buena Vista was given particular notice:
In recognition of the role of Buena Vista, Minnesota,
as a pioneer community
The Buena Vista Archaeological Historic District
has been placed on
The National Register of Historic Places.____________________________________________________________________
The townsite of Buena Vista lies twelve miles north of Bemidji, Minnesota, and
25 miles south of the Red Lake Indian Reservation along Beltrami County Road 15. (Bemidji, the
county seat of Beltrami County, is located on US 2 125 miles east of Grand Forks, ND, and 150
miles west of Duluth, MN. It is 100 miles south of the Canadian border on US 71.)
Map of the Buena Vista - Bemidji Area
Click on the map to expand it; Click on the Back button on the toolbar to return to
The map shows Red Lake, Buena Vista, Blackduck, Turtle River, Leech Lake, Walker, Park
Rapids, Detroit, Fosston, and Crookston.
The map represents the area in about 1920, after the railroads had come through Bemidji. The
small towns east of Fosston on the Great Northern and the towns between Walker
and Bemidji on the Northern Pacific date from 1898 or later. Those northeast of Bemidji
On the Minnesota and International came after 1900 or later. The Soo line northwest of
Bemidji came last of all.
Buena Vista sits atop the Continental
(Laurentian) divide in a place the Native Americans called "the top of the world." On its
south is Little Turtle Lake, whose waters eventually flow into the Mississippi and the
Gulf of Mexico. On its north is Lake Julia, whose waters flow into Red Lake and eventually
into the Red River and beyond to Hudson's Bay. (Lake Julia was named in 1823 by the Italian
explorer Giacomo Constantino Beltrami.) Today the only original Buena Vista building left
standing is the schoolhouse (1898), now the Turtle Lake Town Hall; but the site is filled with
memories of settlers, immigrants, transients, loggers, sawmills, school teachers, and saloons. It
is a place of geographic and historic significance and a place of great natural beauty in summer,
winter, and -- with its flaming maples -- spectacularly so in the fall.
Lake Julia at Sunsetfrom the Ski Hill atop the Laurentian Divide
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Making of the Red Lake Indian
The Red Lake Line
in Beltrami County to 1897
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008 William and Madeline Sutherland
Copyright information and property rights are listed in the section
Copyright Notices, and Acknowledgments.
July 11, 2008
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