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Balsam Minnesota Community Guide


Location:

 


Population:  
 Balsam (township) 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 1990-2000 Change
Actual Percent
Population 274 507 502 553 550 -3 -0.005
Land Area (sq. mile) 60.20 78.98 73.14 72.63 72.63 0.00 0.00
Density (persons per sq. mile) 4.55 6.42 6.86 7.61 7.57 -0.04 -0.005
Housing Units 341 620 637 650 -- -- --
Households -- 176 186 227 -- -- --
Persons Per Household -- 2.88 2.70 2.44 -- -- --

Geography:

Balsam Township is a township in Itasca County, Minnesota. According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 83.3 square miles (215.8 km˛), of which, 72.6 square miles (188.1 km˛) of it is land and 10.7 square miles (27.7 km˛) of it (12.83%) is water.  The elevation is 1,355 ft (413 m) above sea level.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Demographics:
As of the census of 2000, there were 553 people, 227 households, and 175 families residing in the township. The population density was 7.6 people per square mile (2.9/km˛). There were 650 housing units at an average density of 8.9/sq mi (3.5/km˛). The racial makeup of the township was 96.93% White, 0.54% African American, 1.63% Native American, and 0.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.08% of the population.

There were 227 households out of which 23.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.2% were married couples living together, 2.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.5% were non-families. 20.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.76.

In the township the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 4.5% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 35.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 106.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.6 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $42,813, and the median income for a family was $48,125. Males had a median income of $45,357 versus $19,063 for females. The per capita income for the township was $21,488. About 3.1% of families and 3.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including none of those under age 18 and 3.6% of those age 65 or over.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Children of Isaac Makinen, Balsam Township     Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society


History:  

From Pines, Mines and Lakes - The Story of Itasca County
© 1960 James E. Rottsolk and the Itasca Historical Society

Quite some miles north of Blackberry, Balsam Township along the Prairie River, like many other areas in Itasca County, had once been covered with beautiful pines. many furs must have been taken out of the area before the trees were cut. Loggers came cut the pine here very early; that gave later old-timers a few years to spin a few yarns about the good or days.

Old-timers still remember the steamboat run by Tony De Wire on Lake Wabana. It was used to haul logs and to haul supplies. came and went, always leaked and never sank — but once.

George N. Putnam, known as "Old Put," as a master boatbuilder who constructed tug boats and rowboats near Cohasset. Back the Adirondacks where he came from he was known as "the leaping panther." Most of his fame came from his tall stories rather than his unusual actions.

Another famous character who roamed often through the Balsam Lake woods was Bunga Buck, half Negro and half Chippewa. Old Bunga lived among the Chippewa, was a fur trader and claimed he was one of the first to arrive in that area.

The settlers who came after 1900 did not seem so quaint and mythological.


Charles Waisanan house, Balsam Township   Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

It was in 1903 that Matt Shumaker with his wife and seven children moved into a homestead on Prairie River. Most of his life Matt spent in logging, but he did raise some potatoes and had a few dairy cattle.

The following year Matt's brother-in-law, Thomas Kannas, rode the Powers and Simpson logging railroad to Crooked Lake in search of a homestead. A 160-acre tract that John Wolfetter had lived on, but was not satisfied with, attracted Kannas. Kannas and Wolfetter walked down to Grand Rapids where Kannas paid $100 for improvements on the land. Wolfetter relinquished his claim and Kannas filed on it. Within a year or two Kannas' brother Henry came up. They boated from Crooked Lake up the Prairie River to their homestead. Kannas' brother John came a few years later and bought the John Pelto homestead. Still later Kannas' sister, Mrs. Erkkila, came up with her family and settled on the Isaac Isaacson homestead.


This was Aleck Maki's homestead on Crooked Lake east of Wabana.
Logs at the corners and even for a partition were carefully jointed.

Quite a number of Finns settled in this area, too. Isaac Makinen came in 1905, the Waisanens in 1907. They were famous for their saunas and coffee-bread. They organized a cow club and built up good dairy herds.

After working several years as a cook for Powers, Andrew Tanberg built his home on Lower Balsam Lake in 1904. He with his wife and seven children soon had a good farm going.

Charles V. Smith with his wife Nellie and six children came by covered wagon to Arrowhead Point on Wabana Lake in the spring of 1903. He worked for Lounsberry and Simons two years and then in 1905 moved up to the old Cap Hasty Ranch in Balsam. Although Mrs. Smith did see Andy Tanberg on his way home with provisions from Grand Rapids 2nd perhaps a few other men working in the woods, she saw no other woman from November until August. The Tanbergs, their nearest neighbors, were only four or five miles away. In 1907 the Smiths built their famous three-story log house on a hill overlooking Balsam Brook. The home was 38 x 34 feet with a 16 x 18 foot kitchen added at the rear. It became a famous stopping place. One night a total of 84 men slept here on their way to logging camps. It later became a famous hunting lodge. Just recently, in the winter of 1957-58, the structure was destroyed by fire.


The C. V. Smith stopping place

The David C. Brandons moved into Itasca County in 1906. They bought a home in Grand Rapids and also built a log home on an 1100-acre tract which Brandon bought in Balsam. They lived up here much of the time, particularly during the warmer weather. Mrs. Brandon became the county's oldest living resident; she died the summer of 1958 at the age of 105.

Other early settlers in the Balsam area were J. C. Hendricks (1907), Harry B. Palmer (1908), John Casper, the Garners, Jack Hoyt, Irvin Martin, Fred Norman, Bert Pearson, the Forsmans and the Smiths.

To get supplies all of these settlers at first had to make a three-day trip to Grand Rapids. When Bovey was started they began trading there because it was much nearer. These settlers had to organize the area of four townships as one township in order to get enough valuation to build a road down to Bovey. The township of Balsam was organized June 1, 1907, and actually included Lawrence Lake, Wabana and East and West Balsam Townships. The whole area was bonded for $20,000 to construct the twenty-mile road. It took twenty years to get rid of the indebtedness. By that time it had cost the taxpayers $41,000. Now Lawrence and Wabana Townships have become separated from Balsam.


This was John Hoyt's home in Balsam Township. To keep those curtains so white by means of a scrub board in a washtub, and probably to take care of chickens and pigs as well, no doubt kept the housewife busy - and tired.

Apparently, like all the Itasca County settlers, these people were brim full of vim, vigor and vitality. They had large families. Several of them had seven children each. They worked hard. But they often gathered by sleighs or by wagons at some neighbor's home to dance the night through. The children were probably bedded down in the barn and the furniture was moved outside for the dancing. Lunch was served between midnight and two. Everybody reasoned that it was much easier to travel the woods roads by daylight; there was no sense in stopping before dawn. Only one fiddler was available in the area and he could play only three pieces — "The Bluebird Waltz". "Old Country Polka", and a two-step, "Red Wing." No doubt the people got to know these pieces quite well. Later on Don Garner, now a minister in Oregon, played the violin. His repertoire was larger; he knew at least six or seven tunes. Then, too, Millie or Esther Tanberg could bang out a few chords on an organ or a piano. Old Dad Smith could play a few jig tunes on his mouth organ. Julius Koppola played the accordion. Square dances, polkas, waltzes, and round dances were the favorites. Basket socials, pie socials, and necktie and shadow socials were more fun for the settlers. Sleigh rides and ski and toboggan parties, skating parties, blueberry picking, picnic - all these afforded energetic amusement for the hard-working settlers.

Pines, Mines and Lakes - The Story of Itasca County
© 1960 James E. Rottsolk and the Itasca Historical Society


Government:
Balsam Town Hall
41388 Scenic Highway
Bovey, MN 55709
 
Title Term Ends Name and Address Phone
Clerk 12/31/2018 Rebecca Olson
24974 County Road 51
Bovey, MN 55709
(218) 245-0146
Treasurer 12/31/2017 Cindy Hoppe
PO Box 272
Calumet MN 55716
n/a
Supervisor 12/31/2019 Ryan Ackerman
41037 County Road 332
Bovey, MN 55709
n/a
Supervisor 12/31/2017 Jerrad Bergren
23465 County Road 8
Bovey, MN 55709
(218) 245-2176
Supervisor 12/31/2018 John Kannas
40874 County Road 336
Bovey, MN 55709
(218) 245-1561

Post Office:

Served by the Bovey Minnesota Post Office


Professional Hosting fro Just Host


Utilities:
Utility Type Utility Name Utility Phone
Electricity n/a n/a
Natural Gas n/a n/a
Wastewater n/a n/a
Water n/a n/a
Telephone n/a n/a
Cable TV n/a n/a

Major Employers:
Employer Products/Services Employees
n/a


News:
Weather:

Click for Bovey, Minnesota Forecast


Map:


Courtesy Google Maps - Click map to zoom or enlarge


John Hendricks hunting near Balsam, 1915.  Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society


Events:

none


Attractions:
none

Recreation:
 


Lakes:
Lake Name Size
(acres)
Lake info Lake Map Rec Map Topo Map
Balsam Lake 710
Black Island Lake 107
Bray Lake 196
Burnt Shanty Lake 182
Burrows Lake 291
Camerton Lake 95  
Christmas Lake n/a    
Crooked Lake 418
Cutaway Lake 257
Grass Lake n/a    
Haskell Lake 86
Hendricks Lake n/a    
Holmes Lake n/a    
Issac Lake n/a    
Jack Lake n/a    
Kennedy Lake 92
Lawrence Lake 395
Little Island Lake 61
Lost Moose Lake 101
Lower Balsam Lake 283
McAlpine Lake 45  
Mole Lake (Thirty One) n/a  
Moon Lake 25
Moonshine Lake 25
Moose Lake 109  
Nose Lake 96
Pickerel Lake n/a    
Plantation Lake 76
Rahkos Lake 22  
Ruby Lake 243
Sand Lake 157
Scrapper Lake 153
Shoal Lake 286
Skeeter Lake n/a    
Snaptail Lake 146
Spider Lake 1,349
Spring Lake 27      
Sunrise Lake 34
Thirty Lake 114
Trestle Lake 78  
Trout Lake 1,753
Upper Hanson Lake 107
Willey's Lake 48  

Health Care:

none - see Bigfork or Bovey


Schools:
Balsam School
Scenic Highway
Bovey MN 55709

Old Balsam School, Balsam Township Minnesota


Churches: 
Balsam Bible Chapel
41516 Scenic Highway 
Bovey, MN 55709
Phone: (218) 245-1960
Balsam Bible Chapel, Balsam Township, Minnesota
Balsam Lake Mennonite Chapel
Scenic Highway 7
Bovey, MN 55709

Balsam Lake Mennonite Chapel, Bovey Minnesota

Lawron Presbyterian Church
Bovey, MN 55709
Phone: n/a
Lawron Presbyterian Church, Balsam Township Minnesota

Media:

Served by Iron Range media

 
Motels:
none

Resorts:
   

Campgrounds:
   

Balsam Store
DJ's Balsam Store, 2005
Lakesnwoods.com Photo

Balsam Store in Balsam Township, near Bovey Minnesota, 1953
Balsam Store, 1953
LakesnWoods.com Postcard and Postcard Image Collection


Businesses:
Balsam Bible Chapel
41516 Scenic Highway 
Bovey, MN 55709
Phone: (218) 245-1960
Balsam Bible Chapel, Balsam Township, Minnesota
Balsam Fire Hall
41388 Scenic Highway 
Bovey, MN 55709
Phone: (218) 245-2099 
 
Balsam Lake Mennonite Chapel
Scenic Highway 7
Bovey, MN 55709

Balsam Lake Mennonite Chapel, Balsam Township Minnesota

Balsam Memorial Hall
41388 Scenic Highway
Bovey, MN 55709
Phone: (218) 245-1676
Balsam Memorial Hall in Balsam Township MN
Balsam Store
41050 Scenic Highway
Bovey, MN 55709
Phone: (218) 245-2340
 
Big Balsam Camp
45683 Big Balsam Camp Road
Bovey, MN 55709
Phone: (218) 245-2202

E-mail:
bigbalsam@uslink.com
 
DJ's Balsam Cafe
41025 Scenic Highway
Bovey, MN 55709
Phone: (218) 245-1166
DJ's Balsam Cafe in Balsam Township, near Bovey Minnesota
Lawron Presbyterian Church
Bovey, MN 55709
Phone: n/a
Lawron Presbyterian Church, Balsam Township Minnesota
Northwoods Excavating
Scenic Highway
Bovey, MN 55709
Phone: (218) 245-3659
Northwoods Excavating, Balsam Township Minnesota
Petrich's Store
34438 Scenic Highway
Bovey, MN 55709
Phone: (218) 245-1310
Petrich's Store in Balsam Township - near Bovey Minnesota

Aerial Photo:    [click photo to enlarge, zoom in or zoom out]



Courtesy Google Maps - Click map to zoom or enlarge


Topographic Map:   [click map to enlarge, zoom in or zoom out]

Topographic Map of the Balsam Township Minnesota area
Topographic map is courtesy of the Minnesota DNR - click map to zoom or enlarge

 

 

  
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