Maps of Canosia Township

Canosia Township received its name from the local Ojibwa peoples. The word “Kanoje” or “Canosia” means “pike” its translation into English can be seen in the name of Pike Lake. Settlement in Canosia Township began soon after the first government surveys in 1856. The first platted towns in Canosia Township were called Valley Field and Canosia. These towns soon died out due to the financial panic of 1857. Settlement began again in earnest in 1862 with the Homestead Act. During the next two decades Canosia was settled by railroad workers and lumbermen.

 In 1870, the Township of Rice Lake was formed and included within its boundaries were the present day townships of Canosia, Fredenberg and Grand Lake. In 1887 Canosia Township splintered off from Rice Lake Township and became an independent township. During this time land speculators attracted many new residents by promoting its free land, bountiful supply of lumber and sawmill. Road improvements to roads such as Swan Lake Road also helped to bring more people into the area. The majority of Canosia’s early settlers were ethnic Germans or Scandinavians. There was also a smaller number of ethnic Poles, Irish, English and Scots.

Logging and farming were the two main industries in Canosia in its early years as these industries grew so did the population of Canosia. However, in 1918 Canosia was struck by a great forest fire which stretched from Moose Lake to the Duluth area townships. The fire claimed a number of settlers’ lives and drove many more settlers from their homes.

In 1907 a hydroelectric dam was built on the north side of Wild Rice Lake doubling its size. The 1950’s saw a large degree of growth in the population of Canosia Township. Greater mobility created by the automobile brought young families into Canosia. They came seeking the benefits of living in a rural community. The population remained fairly stable during the 1960’s. The Township has experienced fairly rapid growth during the 1970s through the 1990s in population, housing and commercial enterprises. Today, Canosia Township has become part of the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan area, but has still maintained much of its rural/suburban atmosphere.

The following dates reflect events and milestones which shaped Canosia Township and the Pike Lake area.


Canosia Township is surveyed.


Railroad companies receive land grants while timber companies and
speculators start recording transaction.


First Town meeting.


Miller Trunk Highway surveyed.


Many new settlers arrive.


Forest fire from Moose Lake to the suburbs of Duluth


54 miles of Miller Trunk Highway paved.


Pike Lake Auto Club established.


Frank LaJoy started holding dances in his portable tent. By the 1930’s
his “Rollerdome” was in operation up until the mid-1970’s.


First meeting of Pike Lake Community Club.


Club requests County Health Engineer to address the proper septic
tank system at meeting.


Dam was built at outlet to stabilize water levels at the request of the


Pike Lake shore owners contract for DDT spraying for insect control
of approximately 350 acres of frontage. About the same time the DNR
treated the lake with copper sulphate to kill snails responsible for skin
rashes. The lake was later treated to control weeds.


Lakeshore zoning by Township defeated.


Town Board creates a committee to study possibility of City water at Pike Lake.


Township zoning begins.


Committee requests and receives $1,000 for engineering study on a
local sanitary district.


Canosia and Grand Lake Town Boards petition State of Minnesota for
the formation of a sanitary district.


MPCA issues report estimating costs for sewer system to be in excess
of $1.5 million.


Western Lake Superior Sanitary District formed and included Canosia
Township in future waste disposal plans.


Pike Lake Association formed.


Pike Lake Area Wastewater Collection System (PLAWCS)
joint powers between Grand Lake Township.  Canosia Township formed.