What’s in a Name? (Townships – Southern Beltrami County)

by Sue Bruns (from The Depot Express newsletter, Winter 2014)

Beltrami County consists of 51 named townships –not all of them organized — and a number of unnamed, unorganized townships in the northern part of the county. Most of these townships have stories behind their names. Here are a few of those explanations.

Bemidji Township, along with a village established in 1896, took the name “Bemidji,” a shortened version of the Ojibwe name for the lake “Bemejigamaug,” meaning a lake with water running through it.

East of Bemidji is Frohn Township, established in 1898 and named “Frohn” by a Norwegian settler. “Frohn” means “pleasant view” in Norwegian.

Next, to the east, is Ten Lake Township, which was not organized until 1919. Containing Lake Andrusia and parts of Big Lake and Cass Lake, the township got its name when someone started counting the lakes and stopped at ten.

Spellings and details about these townships from: Louis Marchand, Up North: Beltrami County’s Townships (Bemidji: Bemidji State University Printing Services, 1998). For more information explore the book in the research library at the Beltrami County History Center.

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