09 November, 2009

Connections - A brief history of the Swedish Immigrant Trail Route

The Swedish Immigrant Trail has existed in a documented form for the last 150 years although the route was surely used in centuries past. The connection started life as a footpath stretching from the St. Croix River to Lake Ki Chi Saga or Big Lake. Transformed into a cartpath by immigrants and later a road, it carried people and supplies to settle what was for them, a 'new land'. The railroad arrived as a spur off the St. Paul to Duluth route from Wyoming in 1880 and connected the small towns along the path to the state and nation. Highways and the motorcar saw the trains last trip in 1948, only weeks before a man named Vilhelm Moberg visited the area. Today the route exists as a memory to some and a dream to others. Segments of the multi-use Swedish Immigrant Trail have been constructed in Chisago City, Center City and recently in Shafer, Minnesota.

Image - A still image from "The Swedish Immigrant Trail" promotional video, produced by Jerry Lakso and starring Bill Mobeck as Swedish author Wilhelm Moberg.  Here Moberg is visiting with a farmer in 1948 to learn more about life in Chisago County.  He borrowed a bicycle from the druggist in Chisago City travel from town to town.  Watch the Video by clicking here or "About the Trail" in the sidebar.