Carlton County History

Welcome to Carlton County!

Carlton County was established, with boundaries as they currently are, in 1857, and is home to over 30,000 citizens, including over 3,200 people of the Fond du Lac Reservation, the Lake Superior Band of Ojibway.  Our population is mostly rural, 34.8 persons per square mile, with ten cities.  Our largest city is Cloquet, which is home to 11,000 persons and the Fond Du Lac Tribal & Community College.  You can also visit the City of Moose Lake, one of our many caring communities. The City of Carlton has served as the county seat since 1871.

Carlton County is well known for the devastating Fire of 1918.  The Carlton County Historical Society and the Cloquet Public Library can provide you with more information on this chapter and other chapters of Carlton County history.

Carlton County genealogical information is
available through the County Recorder's Office

Image:Map of Minnesota highlighting Carlton County.png


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,267 km˛ (875 mi˛). 2,228 km˛ (860 mi˛) of it is land and 39 km˛ (15 mi˛) of it (1.70%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 31,671 people, 12,064 households, and 8,408 families residing in the county. The population density was 14/km˛ (37/mi˛). There were 13,721 housing units at an average density of 6/km˛ (16/mi˛). The racial makeup of the county was 91.75% White, 0.97% Black or African American, 5.19% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. 0.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,064 households out of which 32.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.50% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.30% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.40% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 28.40% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 15.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 102.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,021, and the median income for a family was $48,406. Males had a median income of $38,788 versus $25,555 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,073. About 5.40% of families and 7.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.20% of those under age 18 and 9.30% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and Towns

Cities Townships Unorganized
  • Barnum
  • Carlton
  • Cloquet
  • Cromwell
  • Kettle River
  • Moose Lake
  • Scanlon
  • Thomson
  • Wrenshall
  • Wright
  • Atkinson Township
  • Automba Township
  • Barnum Township
  • Beseman Township
  • Blackhoof Township
  • Eagle Township
  • Holyoke Township
  • Kalevala Township
  • Lakeview Township
  • Mahtowa Township
  • Moose Lake Township
  • Perch Lake Township
  • Silver Township
  • Silver Brook Township
  • Skelton Township
  • Split Rock Township
  • Thomson Township
  • Twin Lakes Township
  • Wrenshall Township
  • Clear Creek
  • Corona
  • Progress
  • Red Clover
  • Sawyer

For more information about the History of Carlton County visit the Carlton County Historical Society

Video documentary on the 1918 Cloquet Fire

Again, welcome, and thank you for visiting Carlton County.


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