Knife Island originally received it's name from two sources. The first is from the early voyageurs portage days. Located on the 1858 survey map of Carlton County are a series of portages for the early voyageurs traveling on the St. Louis River. The largest of these, the maple portage, ends one Island down river from Knife Island and thus that Island received the name "Maple Island". Where Maple portage ends another portage begins called the Knife Portage. The Knife Portage name was given by the early voyageurs because they often cut their moccasins on the sharp slate. Knife Island was named after the Knife portage.
Another story about the naming of Knife Island is recorded with the Duluth Herald that tells of an Indian Princess and her lover from another tribe. The name of the story is Wawina, and written for the Duluth Herald in 1937. An Indian Princess from one tribe fell in love with an Indian Prince from another tribe. The two had purchased a knife and a cross to honor their love. The lovers tried to intervene in a dispute between the two tribes that was sure to lead to war. They were rejected so the Indian Princess killed the Indian Prince and then stabbed herself, somewhere near what is now known as Knife Island.
In 1922 the Risberg family started Knife Island Cabins utilizing old mining cabins on the Island along with some new ones. Knife Island Cabins ran from 1922-54 with 1954 being their last legal license to operate.
In 1988 Marcie stopped at this overgrown rundown property and fell in love with it. A life long commitment was now in process. Marcie promised the owner that she would care for the property just as the owner's Mother had taken care of the property. In 1988 Marcie changed the name to Knife Island Campground with the intent to pass this Campground to her children.
In 1994 Johnathan was born and in 1998 Marcie started meetings and paperwork to rebuild the campground for her son's future. Johnathan began working in the office at the age of 8 making change, taking reservations and greeting guests. Also in 1998 Johnathan's sister Tekla, was born and that year Hammarlund Nursery aided Marcie and her family in rebuilding their heritage "Langtree Apples " with the intent that this family heritage would belong to Tekla as part of her future.
A new title was created in 1998 and Knife Island was now called the Knife Island Estate - A family run business.
Marcie, Johnathan and Tekla
I could never have done all of this if it wasn't for the aid of friends and family who worked in building this campground with little or no pay. I would like to thank my father Louis Lang, Hammarlund Nursery, Kurt Sorenson, Pat McIntosh, various state agencies as well as Carlton County and Thomson Township.