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What Caused the 1918 Fire and Other Historical Facts About Cloquet – Our Town


Located just over 20 miles from Duluth and on the St. Louis River, Cloquet is featured this week as ‘Our Town’. Famous for a gas station, a fire and cooperatives, Cloquet is rich with history.


  • Cloquet started in the form of several little settlements clustered around three sawmills. These settlements were Shaw Town, Nelson Town and Johnson Town.
  • Officially became a town with a mayor and city council in 1904
  • Famed in American economic history because before and after WWII it was home of the strongest consumer co-op’s in the country.
  • In 1939 the co-op did 35% of the business in the town and 18% in Carlton County.
  • Famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed his only gas station in Cloquet. The R.W. Lindholm Service Station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The 1918 Cloquet fire was caused by sparks on the local railroads and dry conditions.
  • The fire killed nearly 500 people and injured nearly 52,000
  • 38 communities were destroyed
  • The fire caused $73 million in property damage. Adjusted for inflation, that would $1,111,026,158.94 in 2012.
  • The city library was formed in 1896.
  • 2 time Academy Award winning Actress Jessica Lange was born in Cloquet on April 20, 1949.

[via Wikipedia and Carlton County Historical Society]

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