Pine City, Minnesota facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Downtown Pine City
North. Nice and close.
Location of Pine City
within Pine County, Minnesota
|Incorporated||February 14, 1881|
|• Total||4.24 sq mi (10.98 km2)|
|• Land||3.84 sq mi (9.93 km2)|
|• Water||0.40 sq mi (1.04 km2)|
|Elevation||951 ft (290 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Density||820.13/sq mi (316.68/km2)|
|• Demonym||Pine Citian|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
55063 (pop. 9,927)
|GNIS feature ID||0649445|
|For additional travel information, see|
Pine City is a city in and the county seat of Pine County, in east central Minnesota, United States. A portion of the city is located on the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation. Founded as a railway town, it quickly became a logging community and the surrounding lakes made it a resort town. Today, it exists in part as a commuter town to jobs in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area.
- Present day
- Major annual events
- Pine City in pop culture
- Awards and nominations
- Notable people
The Dakota Indians were the first in the area. With the Ojibwa expansion, the area became a mixture of the two. By the early 19th century, the area became predominantly Ojibwa. They trapped and hunted on the land and traded furs at the nearby trading posts. With the Treaty of St. Peters of 1837, dubbed the "White Pine Treaty", lumbering began in the area. Lumbering, though, was limited by access to the available waterways.
In the late 19th century, European settlers came to the Pine City area, which was still heavily forested with thick stands of white pine, some of the largest in the state. When the railroad arrived in Pine City so began a logging expansion. Pine City prospered and grew into a city that had everything needed to serve residents, farmers, and the fast expanding lumber industry. Pine City was platted in 1869. The city was incorporated in 1881.
When Buchanan County was merged with Pine County in 1861, the county seat was consolidated to Pine City because it was already well-established. Because of its location on the far southern edge of Pine County, there have been attempts over the years to move the county seat to more centrally located Hinckley and Sandstone. However, being the most populous city in the county, Pine City always prevailed as the county seat.
In 2005, the city became the first in rural Minnesota with an annual gay pride event, East-Central Minnesota Pride, and one of only two rural communities to hold such an event in the United States. A book capturing Pine City's history in vintage photos was written as part of the Images of America series and became available in 2010.
- 1804 – The seasonal living of the Ojibwe changed when Europeans arrived.
- 1837 – With the Treaty of St. Peters, dubbed “White Pine Treaty", lumbering began in the area.
- 1848 – The Ojibwe community of Chengwatana forms as an official village.
- 1856 – Chengwatana became the county seat for Pine County.
- 1872 – Two years after a fire at the Chengwatana courthouse, by popular vote Pine City became the county seat and a new courthouse was built.
- 1881 – Pine City incorporated as a village west of Chengwatana due to the railroad’s location west of Cross Lake. Chengwatana declined into a ghost town.
- 1894 – Pine City’s Robinson Park became a staging area, a “ground zero”, for support and relief from the Great Hinckley Fire.
- 1903 – Adam Bede speaks at Associated Press annual dinner in New York City.
- 1939 – Pine City built a plain, yellow brick, two-story rectangle city hall but gave the building to the county after becoming nervous it might lose its county seat status because of the need for better office space. Even so, the words “Pine City village hall” were carved over the east entrance.
- 1952 –The towered, Romanesque Revival style courthouse building built in 1886 was struck by lightning, causing it to burn.
- 1954 – In a bond issue, the county raised the money needed for a new courthouse and added it onto the north end of the one-time city hall (which ironically is used in part by city hall today), using the same marble wainscoting and terrazzo floors. The words “court house” were carved over the north entrance.
- 1967 – Interstate 35 was completed through Pine City and by 1961 it was under construction north of Hinckley.
- 1978 - First International Polkafest held here.
- 1980 – Jean Lindig Kessler crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way.
- 1992 –30-foot tall voyageur statue erected on the north shore of the Snake River, near downtown.
- 1993 – Karla Nelson named AAU Ms. America.
- 2005 – People around the region hosted first annual East-Central Minnesota Pride in Pine City.
- 2007 – A few years after a failed attempt to split the county in two, a new courthouse was erected on the northern edge of Pine City near the freeway.
- 2012 – June 5, with H.R.3220 the Pine City post office was renamed the "Master Sergeant Daniel L. Fedder Post Office".
Pine City is reached as a day trip for tourists from the Twin Cities who enjoy the downtown's specialty stores and restaurants as well as a nearby casino and recreational opportunities, including the scenic St. Croix River valley. Also, a local historical site situated along the Snake River, the North West Company Post, has become a tourist draw; it was used by French fur traders nearly two centuries ago.
Pine City is also home to two golf courses, the Pine City Country Club, a nine-hole, par 36 public course that opened in 1971, and Pokegema Lake Golf Course, a course located just west of town.
The Pine County Fair takes place in Pine City each year in late July/early August. A highlight of the fair is a two-night demolition derby that is one of Minnesota's largest, drawing several thousand spectators each evening. The five-day event is a free gate fair and also features free on-site parking.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.91 square miles (10.13 km2), of which 3.44 square miles (8.91 km2) is land and 0.47 square miles (1.22 km2) is water.
The city has 12 city parks, which include two undeveloped parks (Cross Lake Preserve Park, Fawn Meadows Park); two passive parks, manicured but lacking recreational equipment (Meadow Ridge Park, Thomas Park); and eight active parks, with playgrounds and/or sports facilities, including:
- a community garden and a public fishing pier (Challeen Park)
- four ballfields (City Ballfields)
- three ice rinks (Hilltop Park)
- a public boat landing (Riverside Park)
- a performing stage (Robinson Park)
- a disc golf course (Voyageur Park)
- a skate park and a public beach (West Side Park)
- a Gulf War veteran memorial (Woodpecker Ridge Park)
Below is a table of average high and low temperatures throughout the year in Pine City.
|Avg high °F (°C)||21 (−6)||27 (−3)||38 (3)||54 (12)||67 (19)||75 (24)||80 (27)||78 (26)||69 (21)||55 (13)||39 (4)||25 (−4)|
|Avg low temperature °F (°C)||4 (−16)||17 (−8)||30 (−1)||40 (4)||51 (11)||56 (13)||56 (13)||53 (12)||43 (6)||32 (0)||21 (−6)||6 (−14)|
Places of interest
Presently, the Rush Line Corridor task force is studying the feasibility of rail service to serve area commuters and the Northern Lights Express passenger line is proposed to serve area residents as well as those traveling between the Twin Cities and Twin Ports. For travel within the city, there is local taxi service available.
Pine City is served by the Arrowhead Transit intra-county system. An intercity bus service called Jefferson Lines runs from Pine City to St. Paul or Duluth twice daily.
Pine City is located on rail lines owned by BNSF Railway and leased by St. Croix Valley Railroad.
There is a planned, non-motorized trail connecting the Twin Cities-to-Twin Ports areas called the James L. Oberstar State Trail, awarded federal and state funding to connect the Sunrise Prairie Trail, near North Branch with the Willard Munger State Trail, near Hinckley.
Utility providers are regulated monopolies. East Central Energy provides electrical utilities to the community and is a co-op member of Great River Energy. Minnesota Energy supplies gas and US Cable provides cable television. The city treats and distributes water and several local businesses provide garbage removal and recycling services.
The city's law enforcement agency is the Pine County Sheriff's Office, through contract, with 39 full-time staff including 23 sworn officers. The sheriff's office has two K-9s, named Chewy and Chaos. Besides performing routine patrol duties, the sheriff's office performs water, ATV, and snowmobile patrol, and search and rescue functions.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,043 residents, 1,222 households, and 734 families in the city. The population density was 1,076.3 people per square mile (415.2/km2). There were 1,275 housing units at an average density of 451.0 per square mile (174.0/km2).
Racial makeup (2010)
95.58% White, 1.54% Native American, 1.22% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 0.74% Asian, 0.26% African American, 0.19% from other races, 0.03% Pacific Islander and 1.67% from two or more races.
The city has continued to grow since it was incorporated. In fact, it is one of only three small towns in Minnesota, along with Mora and Litchfield, to have never lost population. Much of the growth of the area occurs around the lakes in the neighboring townships, in Pokegama, Chengwatana or Pine City Township, and as of the latest census, the Pine City Zip Code (55063) had 9,348 residents.
There were 1,222 households, out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.9% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.3% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 17.9% from 45 to 64, and 21.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,000 and the median income for a family was $37,000. Males had a median income of $30,000 versus $20,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,000. About 10.8% of families and 15.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.
Ancestry of Pine City residents is primarily German (36%), Norwegian (17%), Swedish (15%), and Czech (8%).
The 2010 Census showed the Pine City area having some of the most same-sex coupled households of any rural area of the state.
While the largest religion in Pine City is none at all, with over half of the community unchurched, it is home to various churches of varying denominations, including:
|Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints||The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
|First Presbyterian Church||Presbyterian Church (USA)|
|Grace Baptist Church||Baptists|
|Hustletown Community Church||Nondenominational Christianity|
|Immaculate Conception Catholic Church||Catholic|
|Journey North Church||Gospel, Evangelicalism|
|Kingdom Hall – Jehovah's Witness||Jehovah's Witnesses|
|Living Hope Christian Center||Assemblies of God|
|Our Redeemer Lutheran Church||Evangelical Lutheran Church in America|
|Pine City Evangelical Free Church||Evangelical Free Church of America|
|Hands for Pine City||Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ|
|South Pine Baptist Church||Baptists|
|Zion Lutheran Church||Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod|
Pine City is home to several churches, of various denominations, including:
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
- First Presbyterian Church
- Grace Baptist Church
- Hustletown Community Church
- Kingdom Hall – Jehovah's Witness
- Living Hope Christian Center
- Pine City Church of Christ
- Trinity Baptist
Pine City's growing arts community placed it on 2010, 2011 and 2012 lists of "Best Communities for Music Education in America." The high school band and musical theatre program built its reputation under the former direction of Mr. Bradley Mariska, and musical ensembles at Pine City High School give free performances throughout the school year. A major recent development is the Pine Center for the Arts, which opened in downtown Pine City in 2009. The center is a regional arts facility that houses a variety of educational and performance-based programs relating to theatre, music, visual art, literature, and dance. Classes and special events take place throughout the year. Pine City has an active community theater, the Heritage Players, which performs semiannually. The Pine City Arts Council sponsors a variety of annual events, most notably a free Friday night summer concert series held in Robinson Park. An annual concert series is also hosted in an 800-seat auditorium at Pine City Junior/Senior High School. This new performance space opened in 2014.
Major annual events
The following community and regional events are held in and around Pine City.
Spring, summer, and fall
- Citywide Garage Sale - May 14, 2016
- Memorial Day Parade - May 30, 2016
- East-Central Minnesota Pride – June 5, 2016 (12th Annual)
- Freedom Fest – June 23-26, 2016
- Art Fest in Robinson Park – July 16, 2016 (39th Annual)
- National Night Out – Aug. 2, 2016
- Pine County Fair – Aug. 3-7, 2016 (124th Annual)
- Czech Booyah (stew) Festival, at Sokol Camp – Aug. 14, 2016 (85th Annual)
- Pine City PRCA Championship Rodeo, Labor Day Weekend, 2016 (10th Annual)
- Andersons Rock Creek Relics Threshing and Sawing Show - Sept. 10-11, 2016
- North West Company Post's "Rendezvous" Fall Gathering – Sept. 17-18, 2015 (38th Annual)
- Highway 61 Film Festival – Oct. 7-9, 2016 (6th Annual)
- Mystery at the Fur Post - Oct. 14-15, 2016
- Winter Frolic - Jan. 23, 2016
- (Ice) Fishing Derby, Pokegama Lake – Jan. 17, 2016 (47th Annual)
- Lawn Mower Races, Pokegama Lake - Feb., 2016 (TBD)
- Queen Charlotte's Ball - Feb. 13, 2016
- Pine Pond Hockey Classic, West Side Park - Canceled(5th Annual)
- Holiday Madness and lighted parade – Dec. 3, 2016
Pine City in pop culture
- Missing child Aaron Mitchell Anderson, of rural Pine City, appeared in the music video for Runaway Train (Soul Asylum song). After his picture was shown, his full name appeared in large capital letters on the screen along with the words "missing since April 7, 1989".
- During a battle with a rare form of Leukemia, Pine City resident and U.S. Air Force Cadet Brian Bauman appeared in the March 4, 1996 issue of People (magazine) after receiving a bone marrow match from his Korean homeland.
- In 2011, a Guinness World Record was set at the Frisbee golf course in Voyageur Park for most holes of disc golf played in a 24-hour period. Dan Schnabel beat the previous record set by over 100 holes and finished with 1,305 holes played including three aces during that time period.
- Jack Schultz, founder of a Midwestern economic development firm and author of the book “Boomtown USA” (Published February 1, 2004), said 12 small cities in Minnesota (including Pine City) that he coined "agurbs" were among a group of 397 nationwide to outperform major metropolitan areas and were poised to boom.
Awards and nominations
|1983||Star City Award||The City was recognized in 1983 by then-DEEDS Commissioner Mark Dayton for its leadership in working with local businesses to ensure continued growth.||John Sparling, Small Business Development Consultant||Won|
|2008||C.C. Ludwig Award – Mayor Jane Robbins||The League of Minnesota Cities' highest honor for an elected official, the C.C. Ludwig Award, was presented to the mayor for going the extra mile; for her contributions to improved municipal government, for the admiration and respect of the general public toward her, and for her selfless conduct focused on the greater good of the community.||Nathan Johnson, City Planner||Won|
|2009||Initiative Foundation "Outstanding Community"||The foundation chose Pine City to receive the award because of an uncommon spirit of citizen volunteerism and significant progress toward business, technology, environmental and early childhood issues. The award highlighted efforts to revitalize downtown, attract high-tech companies, preserve local lakes, promote early childhood education and restore community pride.||Nathan Johnson, City Planner||Won|
|2010||Minnesota Star Lake - Cross Lake||The Cross Lake Association was awarded this honor because of its care for Cross Lake, and managing local natural resources and protecting the environment.||Cross Lake Association||Won|
|2010||Horizons Community||Pine City successfully completed the Northwest Area Foundation's Horizons Program, an 18-month leadership development program for rural towns with populations of 5,000 or fewer and with poverty rates of at least 10 percent. The program aimed to help the community understand and alleviate symptoms of poverty, and build social capital and prosperity.||Nathan Johnson, City Planner, and Lezlie (Ballis) Sauter, Community Action Council Rep.||Won|
|2010||“Best Community for Music Education” in America||The award highlighted the community’s support of the arts and music and education, all in one.||Bradley Mariska, Pine City High School Band Director||Won|
|2010||Women in City Government Leadership Award - Mayor Jane Robbins||The mayor was awarded the award for her unique, individual achievements in Pine City, as well as her leadership and mentoring roles both inside and outside of the community.||Nathan Johnson, City Planner||Won|
|2011||Minnesota Community Pride! Showcase Award||This award highlights the celebration of diversity and culture in the community, particularly with East-Central Minnesota Pride and Pine City’s embracing of its people, as well as its courage and the fact that it is a welcoming community.||Nathan Johnson, City Planner||Won|
|2011||“Best Community for Music Education” in America||The award highlighted the community’s support of the arts and music and education, all in one.||Bradley Mariska, Pine City High School Band Director||Won|
|2011||Yellow Ribbon Community||The City was officially proclaimed a Yellow Ribbon Community by Governor Mark Dayton. To earn the status, Pine City developed a sustainable action plan demonstrating its commitment to service members and military families. In the plan, the community identified and connected leaders in key areas across the community, leveraging existing support activities, building awareness throughout the community and identifying ways of taking action.||Jessica Paulson, Yellow Ribbon Chair, and Cynthia Foster, Committee Member||Won|
|2012||“Best Community for Music Education” in America||The award highlighted the community’s support of the arts and music and education, all in one.||Bradley Mariska, Pine City High School Band Director||Won|
|2012||“Outstanding Conservationist"||The award highlighted the community’s consideration for the environment, particularly with a large-scale rainwater garden projects in the Woodpecker Ridge Neighborhood, the largest project of its kind in Greater Minnesota.||Pine County Soil & Water Conservation District||Won|
|2013||ArtPlace||Nominated for support from ArtPlace, an unprecedented private-public collaboration of nine of the nation’s top foundations, eight federal agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts, and six of the nation’s largest banks. ArtPlace supports creative placemaking with grants and loans, research and advocacy. Finalists will be chosen for their potential to have a transformative impact on community vibrancy.||John Nuechterlein of the American Composers Forum||Nominated|
|2014||“Outstanding Small Town and Rural Planner" - Nathan Johnson||Given to an individual in public service, academia or the private sector that has made an outstanding contribution to planning in their community.||American Planning Association STaR Division||Won|
|2014||“Outstanding Community" - Pine City Area Early Childhood Coalition||Recognized for its strong commitment to early childhood initiatives—from literacy campaigns to a focus on social and emotional well-being to school readiness programs. One of the hallmarks of the Pine City program is the “Dragon Wagon”, a mobile preschool that delivers books and other learning tools to remote areas to foster reading, literacy and learning.||Initiative Foundation||Won|
Lakeside Medical Center is one of the largest employers, with 140 employees. MINPACK, Inc. has 130 employees, and Atscott Manufacturing, 100; both have their headquarters in Pine City. Other large employers in the community include Walmart, Product Fabricators, Inc., Broekema Beltway, ISD 578, Therapeutic Services Agency, Pine County, Community Living Options and Lake Superior Laundry.
The Pine City Scrapbooking Company in downtown Pine City was featured on CBS News Sunday Morning.
The Pine City Pirates compete in town team baseball in the Eastern Minny (now North) League, which is part of the Minnesota Baseball Association. Amateur baseball has been a part of Pine City culture for years and has enjoyed many successes in the past. The Pirates had several state appearances including: 1950, 1952 B 2nd, 1953 B 3rd, 1961 and 1962. The team was defunct for a period before being revived in 2017.
The Pine City Public Schools (Independent School District #578) serve more than 1,600 area students through one PK–6 elementary school (Pine City Elementary), a 7–12 Junior/Senior High School, which was named a U.S. News & World Report "Best High School", and the Pine City Area Learning Center. Pine City is also home to St. Mary's School (Catholic), which serves preschool and K–6 students.
Pine Technical and Community College is a two-year institution that is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and it offers technical and general education courses. Pine Tech's gunsmithing curriculum is one of the only programs of its kind in the country and draws students from throughout North America.
The Pine City Public Library is part of the East Central Regional Library. The ECRL holds nearly 400,000 volumes and serves over 65,000 cardholders in the region. Pine City is also home to the George E. Sausen Memorial Law Library, located inside the Pine County Courthouse.
- ECFE/Community Education (early childhood)
- Pine City Elementary School: grades K-6
- St. Mary's School: pre-school
Junior high schools
- Pine City Junior High School: grades 7–9
Senior high schools
- Pine City Senior High School: grades 10–12
- Pine City Area Learning Center (ALC): grades 9 - 12
- Vision School
Colleges and universities
- Pine Technical and Community College
The following list includes those who were either born in, or who have resided (or presently reside) in Pine City:
- Ryan Anderson (musher) – professional musher
- James Bede – politician, US Representative 1903-09
- John "Sparky" Birrenbach – activist
- Al Blake – professional wrestler a.k.a. Vladimir Petrov, or "The Russian Assassin"
- M. A. Brawley – politician, MN House 1876
- Ben Boo – politician, mayor of Duluth from 1967 to 1975
- Randall K. Burrows a.k.a. R.K. – politician, MN Senate 1874
- Roy Carl Carlson – politician, MN House 1975-76
- George I. Clem – politician, MN House 1947-48
- Frederick A. Hodge – politician, MN Senate 1895-98
- Dorothy Swanda Jones – Alaskan politician
- Joe Karas – politician, MN House 1949-56
- Mesa Kincaid – radio personality, KQRS-FM, WCCO-FM and KSTP-FM
- Otto Kuss – professional wrestler
- Johnny Mold a.k.a. Jammin' – professional snocross racer
- Bob Mould – musician, Hüsker Dü, Sugar (American band)
- Adolph Munch – politician, MN House 1872
- Karla Nelsen – bodybuilder; 1993 AAU Ms. America
- Anna Dickie Olesen – politician, first woman to be nominated by a major party for the United States Senate
- L. C. Pedersen – politician, MN House 1919-22
- Thom Petersen – Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture
- Jason Rarick – politician, MN House 2015–19, MN Senate (present)
- Allison Rosati – news anchor, WMAQ-TV
- Jon Rydberg – four time United States Paralympic athlete, formerly ranked #1 among US players. NCAA wheelchair basketball national champion with the University of Texas-Arlington Movin' Mavs.
- John Sayer – fur trader
- Rudy Takala – public policy commentator
- Joseph Edward Therrien a.k.a. Joe – politician, MN House 1923–30, 1943-46
- Glenn Truesdell – politician, MN House 1959-60
- Rube Walberg – professional baseball player, New York Giants, Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox
- Jeff Warner a.k.a. J.W. Storm – professional wrestler
- Steve Zahn – critically acclaimed movie star
Pine City, Minnesota Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.