village of Federal Dam began as a railroad town. It was the
terminal or division point for
the trains going from Superior, Wisconsin to Federal Dam and
from Thief River
Falls to Federal Dam. The
line was completed
on September 24, 1910. Despite
snow the night before, the first train went through on November 14,
the building of the Soo Line and the choice of Federal
Dam as a division point, the village grew rapidly.
The village was incorporated on October 30,
1911, and separated
from Gould township on April 23, 1912.
Corps of Engineers issued its first license for a public
boat landing at Leech Lake in 1913. In
1935, the Federal Dam Improvement Club leased land for a campground for
tourists. For many
years, the village
was in the business of leasing land to launch services for
Brochures were distributed
far and wide. Trains
came out from Chicago on the Soo Line
for fishing excursions.
use continued to expand, and by the 1950’s,
recreational facilities at Federal Dam were booming. In 1955,
Federal Dam gained national attention
for the Leech Lake
Muskie Rampage. The
muskies started hitting
on a hot weekend in July and the phenomenal catch lasted about two
Federal Dam has decreased in population from
500 in 1920 to 101 in 2000, the village still serves as a center for
recreational activities such as fishing, boating, camping,
cross country skiing.
A book on the history of Federal Dam and Gould Township is
available through the Cass
County Historical Society Museum.