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Saint Louis County (abbreviated St. Louis County) is a county located in the state of Minnesota. Based on the 2010 census, the population
was 200,226. Its county seat is Duluth. It is the largest county by total area in Minnesota, and the second largest in the United States east
of the Mississippi River by land area, after Aroostook County, Maine.
Saint Louis County is included in the Duluth, MN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Named for the St. Louis River. The St. Louis River was named by the French explorer Verendrye in honor of being awarded the order of St. Louis by the King of France in 1749.
County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts
Saint Louis County was founded on February 20, 1855, as Doty County, and had its name changed to Newton County on March 3, 1855. It originally consisted of the area east and south of the Saint Louis River, while the area east of the Vermilion River and north of the Saint Louis River was part of Superior County. Superior County was renamed Saint Louis County. Then on March 1, 1856, that Saint Louis County became Lake County, and Newton County was renamed Saint Louis County and had that eastern area added to it; it was also expanded westward by incorporating parts of Itasca County, which then also included most of Carlton County. On May 23, 1857, Saint Louis County took its current shape when Carlton County was formed from parts of Saint Louis and Pine counties.
As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,860 square miles (17,800 km2), of which 6,247 square miles (16,180
km2) is land and 612 square miles (1,590 km2) (8.9%) is water. By area, it is the largest county in Minnesota and the second largest in the
US east of the Mississippi River.
Saint Louis County is known for its spectacular natural beauty. Voyageurs National Park, established in 1975, is located in its northwestern corner, on the south shore of Rainy Lake, on the Ontario, Canada border, and is popular with canoeists, kayakers, other boaters and fishermen. The county also includes parts of Superior National Forest, established in 1909, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness within it on the US-Canadian border, established in 1978. The BWCAW is a 1,090,000-acre (4,400 km2) wilderness area designated for fishing, camping, hiking, and canoeing and is one of the most visited wilderness areas in the United States. Saint Louis County has over 500 lakes, including Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake, Namakan Lake, Sand Point Lake, and Crane Lake. The largest lakes are Pelican and Vermilion.
The "Hill of Three Waters" on the Laurentian Divide lies just north of Virginia. Rain falling on this hill runs to three watersheds: Hudson Bay to the north, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the east (via Lake Superior), or the Gulf of Mexico to the south and west (via the Mississippi River). The county is drained by the Saint Louis, Vermilion, and other rivers.
Saint Louis County has one of the most important fresh-water ports in the United States, located in Duluth on Lake Superior.
The county encompasses part of the Iron Range, which has a significant taconite mining industry, particularly in the city of Virginia.
Bordering counties are as follows: