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Location: Marcell is located 20 miles north of Grand Rapids on State Highway 38, which is the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway. The township comprises 56 square miles of the most scenic area of Northern Minnesota and includes all or part of 48 lakes.

2000 Census 1990 Census Pop. Change % Change
Marcell Township 394 309 85 27.5%


The Marcell area was first surveyed in 1870. Lumbermen like T. B. Walker took up land in the late 1870's and early 1880's. John Lundeen from Wisconsin filed for homestead in 1899 and was the first settler to offer a final proof of his claim. He and his wife Katie moved to an area near Marcell on Big Turtle Lake in 1901, where he built a store, a home, a restaurant and a sawmill intended to service homesteaders and people working for the Itasca Lumber Company. By the end of 1901, the railroad had completed a railroad spur to the lake and put two steamboats into Big Turtle to load logs.

In 1902, Katie Lundeen applied for a Post Office to be named Turtle Lake. The postal authorities said there were too many Turtle Lake post offices in Northern Minnesota, so she submitted her application with the name Marcell, a name honoring Andrew Marcell, the first conductor on the Minneapolis and Rainy River Railroad, more commonly known as the "Gut and Liver". In 1905 a petition was presented to the Itasca County Board of Commissioners to establish the township of Big Turtle Lake, and the first election was held in 1906. The first supervisors of the township board were Oscar Harbin, John Sundloff, and Matt Zimmer. Albert Jaynes was elected treasurer, and John Lundeen was elected town clerk. One of the first orders of business was to change the name of the township from Big Turtle to Marcell.

The town of Marcell at the Big Turtle Lake location did not remain there long. Lundeen's store, post office, and warehouse burned in 1910. The Deer River News reported a loss of $4,000, a considerable amount at that time. "Old Marcell" was no more. Today none of the old buildings remain.

Being an astute businessman, John Lundeen decided to rebuild in the area where the present community of Marcell now exists. There had been plans to extend the Minneapolis and Rainy River Railroad from Alder to the Canadian border, serving the towns along the way, and this would have put Lundeen's new store in an advantageous spot.

In 1914, Marcell built its first school, which was replaced by a larger school building in 1936. In 1957 the school district closed its many rural elementary schools, and elementary students now attend school at North Elementary School near Talmoon, and high school students are bussed into Deer River.

The railroad ceased running into Marcell in 1933, and was followed by the construction of Highway 38 which supplied a direct route to Grand Rapids and Bigfork. This opened up the area to tourism and many resorts came into being and flourished. Camp Idlewood, started in 1912 by Walter and Rose Stickler, was one of the better known operations and had a wide following.  There were 33 guest cottages with rates of $12 per day per person for room and board.

Another noteworthy resort in the Marcell area is Arcadia Park. Located on the west side of Big Turtle Lake, Arcadia has one of the most spectacular views in all of Northern Minnesota. Started in 1922 as a community of individual homes and cabins, Arcadia soon had a main lodge and cabins to rent.

Electricity came to Marcell in after World War II in 1945, and the area flourished.

More Marcell History

Township Hall PO Box 141
Marcell, MN 56657
 (218) 832-3965
Clerk Leola Sorenson  
Treasurer Peter May (218) 832-3808
Supervisor David Swanson (218) 832-3884
Supervisor Diane Coppens (218) 743-3399
Supervisor Jeff Kilian (218) 832-3770


Minnesota Department of Transportation Highway 38 Reconstruction Info
Major road work will start soon on Highway 38, Minnesota’s first Nationally designated Scenic Byway, known as the “Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway”.

According to the District 1 of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT), nearly two miles of this scenic highway corridor, from just south of the Richie’s Marcell Inn to the junction of Highway 38 with Itasca County Highway 45, will be constructed under a $3.1 million transportation improvement investment which is expected to be completed by late this Fall.

Mn/DOT Project Engineer, Kevin Rohling, said that the project will enhance the highway’s routing through the community of Marcell with a context-sensitive “urban road design” that includes curb and gutter, sidewalk, six foot wide safety shoulders, street lighting at three major intersections and a significantly improved reconfiguration of the junction of State Highways 38 and 286 in Marcell.

Because of the scope of this major project, through traffic on Highway 38 will be detoured starting approximately thirteen miles north of Grand Rapids via Itasca County Highway 19, Minnesota Highway 6 and Itasca County Highway 14. Local traffic will be able to navigate the construction area, however, Mn/DOT said to expect significant delays and other inconveniences associated with driving through road construction zones.

The Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway
Celebrate our northern hospitality, hometown pride and the treasures of our natural heritage. Minnesota, midway between America's east and west coast, is the home to 12,000 lakes. It is filled with beautiful country and all the pleasures of the four seasons. The Edge of the Wilderness is the rustic slice of this great state, with more than 1,000 lakes and one mighty river nearby, all in landscapes of remarkable natural beauty. There are still more trees than people here -- offering you classic northwoods seclusion. The Edge offers some of Minnesota's most popular fishing, camping, trail, winter sports and resort opportunities. Take a fresh look!
Marcell Snowdrifters Snowmobile Club
The clubhouse is located in Marcell, south of Frontier Sports. There is plenty of parking to facilitate snowmobile enthusiasts that would like to ride the trails beginning from that point. 
Wilderness Willie Trail starts in Effie and heads North/East towards Togo. The 25 mile trail is maintained and groomed by the Snowdrifters, connecting the Effie Connection to the Circle T Trail. Effie Connection starts in Bigfork, heads North and then connects to the Caldwell Brook Trail which leads to Gemmell, Minnesota (the Blue Ox Trail system.) The Snowdrifters maintain and groom 16 miles of this trail. Of the Bowstring Trail, the club maintains and grooms a little over 15 miles of trail. Marcell Trail begins South of Marcell (at the North end of the Suomi Trail) and heads North connecting to the Bowstring Trail, the Cameron Lake Trail (the club grooming and maintaining 14 out of the 18 miles), the Effie Connection and the Bigfork Lions Trail (6 miles of which is the club's responsibility) which is a total of 25 miles. There are many little 'spurs' that the Snowdrifters maintain and groom also.
Snowmobile club craft show Third Saturday in June
Fall festival September




In 1914, Marcell built its first school, which was replaced by a larger school building in 1936. In 1957 the school district closed its many rural elementary schools, and elementary students now attend school at North Elementary School near Talmoon, and high school students are bussed into Deer River.

Morgan, D.
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Marcell Community Church 49103 State Highway 38
PO Box 62
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3200
1 Month Free!
Al's Lawn & Garden Maintenance 50532 Fox Lake Road
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 659-4325
Arcadia Resort & Restaurant 52001 County Road 284
Bigfork, MN  56628
(218) 832-3852
Arcadia Lodge has been a Minnesota resort vacation tradition since 1922.  We invite you to start your own family tradition here as well.

Located on the shores of Big Turtle Lake, Arcadia Lodge is located in northeastern Minnesota, 30 miles north of Grand Rapids, just off the Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway.  It is completely surrounded by the Chippewa National Forest.  Sparkling clear blue waters, the call of the loon, a soaring eagle and the tranquility of a new born fawn are all part of the true northwoods getaway that our guests experience.

We have 12 cabins and three new lodge units to choose from, ranging from a cozy single bedroom for two to a huge six bedroom cottage - perfect for family reunions.  Several of the cabins are winterized and feature modern conveniences like electric coffeemakers and microwaves.  All cabins also have kitchens and baths.  Some even have dishwashers and offer full baths.  Each cabin also has its own deck and/or screened porch with patio tables and chairs or picnic tables and a charcoal grill.

Big Timber Resort 47011 State Highway 38
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3735
Big Timber Resort on North Star Lake offers 7 modern lakefront housekeeping cabins with 2 or 3 bedrooms. The resort features 450' of shallow sand beach and a fantastic children's playground.  

Uncrowded North Star Lake is one of the best fishing and recreational lakes in the area. It is over 3 1/2 miles long and about a half a mile wide, and has very clean, clear water, islands, bays, points, and underwater structure. It is known as an excellent bass and northern pike lake, but also holds good amounts of walleye, crappie, bluegill, and muskie.

Buckhorn on Caribou Lake 45101 Buckhorn Resort Road
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3723
Buckhorn is a unique group of five chalet-like cottages nestled among the tall pines along the shore of Caribou Lake.  A new addition is a large log cabin, open year-round.  Originally an early hunting & fishing camp, it has become a quiet, secluded hideaway for vacationers seeking privacy and relaxation.  The well-spaced cottages along 1,000 feet of Caribou's shoreline assure this luxury.  Our guests have the availability of quiet walks on our nature trails, mushroom & berry picking, or swimming, canoeing and fishing on the exceptionally clear waters of Caribou Lake.  Fishing continues to be a big attraction and many guests take advantage of the variety of fishing provided by the many lakes within a few miles of Buckhorn.
Camp Jack the Horse PO Box 7-B
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3421
Camp Jack-The-Horse Resort offers 5 modern housekeeping cabins on Jack The Horse Lake with either 2 or 3 bedrooms.  The lake is surrounded by mostly undeveloped federal land, and Camp Jack The Horse is the only resort on the lake. The resort specializes in providing a peaceful, relaxing retreat from everyday noise and disturbances.
Cedar Point Resort & Campground 38268 Cedar Point Road
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3808
Featured in the June 1998 National Motor Homes 30th Anniversary Magazine

"A Hidden Beauty" Cedar Point is in the Chippewa National Forest located on the Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic byway. Just 28 miles north of Grand Rapids, Minnesota and 3 miles from the town of Marcell.

Our guests are always commenting on our well shaded, lake level grounds. You will find plenty to do whether it be hiking, fishing, pontooning, or visiting the local towns of Marcell or Grand Rapids.

Our cozy log cabin lodge serves as a gathering place where guests may relax indoors or enjoy our outdoor deck facing the lake. After a day of fishing or just relaxing in the water, the lodge is a favorite place to stop in.

Fox Lake Resort 32158 County Road 45
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 755-9816

Our 79 acres, surrounded by state and undeveloped private land, ensures a quiet getaway. We are the only resort on Fox Lake. We have many wonderful activities for our guests! Our crisp, warm summer days allow for many hours of boating, canoeing, FISHING, or just taking a walk down our quiet lane. At Fox Lake you can enjoy Minnesota's beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Spend time on our walking trails or on the lake, where you can bird-watch and witness nature's miracles such as deer, eagles, loons, and otter. We also offer family activities including a playground for the kids, new basketball court, horseshoes, and shuffleboard. We have a canoe available to reserve for resort guests. Weather permitting, you can enjoy an evening with your family or group making use of our firepit. The peaceful Northwoods environment is just right for relaxing and playing with your family.
Frontier Sports & Grocery 48919 State Highway 38
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3901

Located in beautiful Marcell, Minnesota, and surrounded by lakes and trees, Frontier Sports can truly be called a "one stop shop". We offer a wide range of Sporting Goods for all of your hunting and fishing needs, and you'll want to shop in our gift shop area where we have a large selection of unique Northern Minnesota gift items. Frontier Sports is also a full-service convenience store, complete with groceries and a beautiful Deli area!  We now offer wireless, HIGH SPEED internet hook-up for your personal laptop!

Hill's Custom Hauling PO Box 80
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3580
Hillcrest Resort 41786 Turtle Lake Road
Bigfork, MN  56628
(218) 832-3831
Hillcrest Resort on Hatch and Turtle Lakes offers 7 modern housekeeping cabins with two or three bedrooms.  The lodge has comfortable guest rooms, available year round for "Bed and Breakfast." Lodge open year around, restaurant, gift shop, game room, playground, beach and much more. Great Large & Smallmouth Bass, Northern, Walleye, Crappie and Bluegill Fishing.
Klamm Mechanical 32670 County Road 45
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 244-8989
(218) 832-3777
Kokomo Resort 48301 State Highway 38
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3774
If you are looking for a great family vacation, with excellent fishing, lots of activities, and a very nice spacious vacation cabins while remaining in a quiet, relaxing north woods setting, look no further.  We provide all this and more on 28 beautiful acres!  We are nestled in with some of the largest pine trees in the heart of the Chippewa National Forest right off of one of the most scenic roads in the state, the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway 38.

We are open year round and provide some of the most spacious, nice vacation cabins around.  Our cabins are fully equipped, roomy and nicely decorated.  We pride ourselves on giving you a quality vacation cabin that is clean, comfortable and relaxing.  The fishing is excellent, with a rare combination of Muskies to panfish you are about able to catch anything your heart desires.  Our family resort offers plenty of activities to keep young and old busy all week, such as our excellent playground, our very nice sandy beach, and much, much more.  Plus, check out our location which is right off of Scenic Highway 38 with an asphalt driveway.  We have easy access to Grand Rapids, other lakes and all the area has to offer without driving down long dusty gravel roads.

Lakeside Lumber 49208 State Highway 38
PO Box 185S
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3300
Lakewoods Cafe & Laundromat Highway 38
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3531
Little Oscar Lures RR 1 Box 302
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3461
Marcell Auto Body Highway 38
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3210
Marcell Auto Repair 49261 State Highway 38
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3151
Marcell Family Center 49103 State Highway 38
PO Box 74
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3444
Marcell Motor Sports 38093 County Road 45
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3312
Marcell Plumbing & Heating PO Box 275
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3501
Marcell Snowdrifters Snowmobile Club PO Box 42
Marcell, MN 56657
MN Lakeshore Properties 48921 State Highway 38
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3121
(800) 832-3121

MN Lakeshore Properties represents all types of real estate offerings from lake homes to acreage; and we specialize in Minnesota lakeshore lots, lake cabins, exclusive retirement lake homes and seasonal acreage or property. We live and work in this area known for excellent hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, 4-wheeling and family recreation. Whether you're looking for residential or lake homes for sale, land for sale, or lake cabins and lake lots for sale, no other real estate company is better suited to assist you with your real estate needs.

North Pine Realty PO Box 295
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3700

Miserable Day Fishing Bumper Sticker

North Star Lake Resort PO Box 128
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3131
North Star Lake Resort welcomes you to your vacation home away from home. Relax amidst the beauty and solitude of Minnesota's great Northwoods.  Located next to the Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway, we are inside the 400,000- acre Chippewa National Forest.  There are more than 1,200 lakes within a 50-mile radius!

Some of the finest fishing in the area can be found on North Star Lake. This 1000 acre lake is very clear, with a maximum depth of 90 feet. North Star sports 15 miles of shoreline with many points, secluded bays and underwater reefs.

North Itasca Electric Co-op PO Box 227
301 Main Ave S
Bigfork, Minnesota 56628
(218) 743-3131
North Itasca Electric Cooperative is headquartered in Bigfork, Minnesota. The co-op, which employs 19 people, provides energy and related services to approximately 4,800 consumers in Itasca, Koochiching and Beltrami counties. North Itasca Electric's plant investment totals $16.8 million; the co-op owns 911 miles of overhead distribution line and 275 miles of underground line.
Out of The Blue HC 1 Box 553
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3760
Richie's Marcell Inn 48644 State Highway 38
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3906
Richie's Marcell Inn offers comfortable motel rooms with direct access to three area snowmobile trails. Restaurant, liquor lounge, gift shop, game room, live music. Great fishing in the immediate area.
Scheff Logging & Trucking 49301 Choke Cherry Lane
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3542
Spider Lake Resort 43859 Spider Lake Resort Road
Marcell, MN 56657-2105
(218) 326-8286
Spider Shores Resort 43637 Spider Shores Road
Marcell, MN 56657-2113
(218) 326-2031
The resort is located at the north end of beautiful Spider Lake, surrounded by the beautiful Chippewa National Forest. Spider Lake has many miles of undeveloped shoreline with many bays and points.  The lake is nearly 4 miles long and offers fishermen numerous opportunities to catch walleye, muskie, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, perch, crappie, bluegill and sunfish.  Spider Lake has a reputation for producing trophy-size fish each year. See our fishing page for more information.  The resort is open April through November with 10 housekeeping cabins that include amenities like microwaves, automatic coffeemakers, gas heat, decks, and charcoal grills.  All of the cabins offer a view of the lake so you can enjoy the beautiful Spider Lake sunsets. There is a screen house overlooking the lake and a swimming area with a cedar diving platform for the use of all our guests.  Pets are allowed for a minimal fee, provided they are kept under control at all times.
Timberwolf Inn PO Box 8
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3990
Timberwolf Inn is a newer 12 unit,
log-sided inn with a large corner fireplace. The Inn houses a full service restaurant with full menu & a liquor lounge. Off sale is available. There is direct access to three area snowmobile trails. 
US District Ranger Highway 38
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3161
The Marcell Ranger Station was constructed between 1934 and 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps from the Inger and Day Lake CCC Camps. The Corps worked under the direction of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The facility was built to serve as the administrative headquarters for the Marcell Ranger District, which was established in 1933-34. Originally consisting of six Rustic Style buildings, only five remain today. The Main Office was replaced in 1967 by the current office building.
Valley Forest Resources 48985 State Highway 38
Marcell, MN 56657
(218) 832-3611
Wildview Lodge 32084 Wildview Road
Marcell, MN 56657-2109
(218) 326-8406

Other Web Links:
Edge of the Wilderness Resort Area

The lure of Minnesota's Northwoods is unmistakable.  Generations of families vacation here year after year, returning to bask in the ambience of the tall pines, the clean fresh air, cool, clear lakes and rivers, and warm hospitality.  Sportsmen are drawn to the area in search of the magnificent fishing and hunting opportunities offered within our thousands of acres of state and federal public lands.

North Central Research Station - Marcell Experimental Forest
The USDA Forest Service Marcell Experimental Forest (MEF) is an 890-ha tract of land located 40 km north of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The MEF has been reserved for long-term research with the cooperation of the USDA Forest Service North Central Research Station, the Chippewa National Forest, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Itasca County, and a private landowner. It is operated by the North Central Research Station, Research Work Unit 4351: Ecology and Management of Riparian and Aquatic Ecosystems, located at the Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 1831 Highway 169 East, Grand Rapids, MN 55744.

The MEF contains six watersheds, each consisting of an upland portion and a peatland that is the source of a stream leaving the watershed. These unique features provide a wide range of hydrological environments to study.

The Marcell Experimental Forest has a large historical database concerning soils, hydrology, and chemical cycling and transport. Climatic and hydrologic data have been collected continuously at monitoring stations since 1960. Six peatland / upland forest watersheds have been instrumented, and have been studied in detail, including hydrology, nutrient and mercury cycling and behavior, and release of organic carbon and acidity. Hydrologic monitoring and other related research continues at the MEF.

Northern Itasca Joint Powers Board

The Northern Itasca Joint Powers Board is comprised of five units of government in northeast Minnesota within Itasca County. The communities associated with the board lie 225 miles north of Minneapolis/St. Paul and 135 miles west of the seaport of Lake Superior, Duluth. The population of the area, commonly referred to as the "Edge of the Wilderness", is relatively sparse, with approximately 2,000 people residing in total. The population increases during the summer months with an influx of seasonal residents drawn to the numerous lakes for which the area is noted.

Wood News

Local news, weather, area info and Links to the northern Minnesota communities of Marcell, Bigfork, Effie and others. Located in the Chippewa National Forest, it also is home to The Edge of The Wilderness Scenic Byway. Located in Itasca County in northern Minnesota.


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