History of Rainy River
The Evangelical Covenant Church of Rainy River, Ontario, Canada is in the process of building a new church facility.The proposed new Evangelical Covenant Church is located in the town of Rainy River, Ontario. Marking the border between North-Western Ontario and Minnesota, is the longest river for it’s width in Canada, the beautiful Rainy River, which flows into *Lake of the Woods. In the mid 1700’s and 1800’s the river was used as a trapping route, with
many trading centres along her banks. One such post was the Hudson Bay Company where on this land stands the present day* ‘Oak Grove Tourist Camp.
Today we remain a paradise for the sportsman; hunting black bear,
*white tail deer and other wild game. Rainy River has since become renowned for it’s Bird Watching, attracting birders from afar.
In 1801 Alexander McKenzie wrote ” This is one of the finest rivers in the
Northwest“. For over a century , travellers have penned glowing
descriptions of the natural beauty and *fishing capabilities of the area. We
continue today with excellent fishing of sturgeon, bass, northern pike, and
walleye on the river. We still host one of the largest Walleye Tournaments
in Ontario every fall. | RRWT |
The first settlers built homes as early as 1874, and soon after there was a
great influx of immigrants. At that time there were several Indian settlements on the river using a burial area known as the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre. The Ojibway or Chippewa Indians often encamped at “The Pines” two miles downriver and where for many years were to be seen the Indian graves.
During our *Centennial “The Pines” was open and available to campers. At that time a small *sawmill was brought to the town site and in 1898 the sawmill was bought by The Beaver Mills Lumber Company. The old town which sprang up around the mill was known as Beaver Mills. You can still see evidence of these times in the name of our largest grocery store, Beaver Mills, as well as our town mascot, Millie the Beaver.
With the completion of the international *railway bridge in 1901, came the
Canadian National Railroad and station. The railroad equipment was way-billed to Rainy River), not Beaver Mills, and thus this point on the railroad was designated as Rainy River. The name stuck.
Several churches began to spring up along with a little log school house
which has long been replaced by the present day Riverview Elementary School and *Rainy River High School.
With the growing town came businesses, a skating rink, and baseball field. The town soon incorporated, planned a cemetary, police headquarters, recreational area (Hannam park) and Clubs began to develop, such as the Athletic Association now know as the Recreation Board. (pic of Recreation Centre) The local newspaper, Rainy River Record, was developed and continues today with two local papers, including the Westend Weekly.
With the boom of Rainy River the old Beaver Mills name was gone, and the
largest of homes began to appear. The town incorporated in 1904 and took it’s crest a beaver encircled by a wreath of maple leaves with the appropriate motto “Industry”.
Since that time it’s growth was rapid, yet healthy, and of a permanent
nature. In late Sept. of 1910 fires raged west of Baudette, Minnesota. Soon
the fires reached the town, the winds shifted with burning brands blown
across the river, setting the lumber piles afire. The people rushed to their
boats on the river for safety while the Rat Portage Mill was reduced to
ashes. It was never rebuilt. With the vast devastation of the area forests
it’s not a wonder that the Rainy River Lumber Company moved its mills to
Fort Frances, Ontario.
Since the days of the dog sled races on Main Street the town has continued to push forward. The operating businesses are a credit to the owners and the town, and speak well for the industry of the people.
Several active organizations such as the Hospital Auxiliary, Senior’s Depot, Rainy River Legion, Community Centre Recreation Board, Curling Club, Library, and several churches continue to flourish