Repairing and repainting the historic Gunflint Trail entrance signs -Voyageur and Bear in a Motorboat - located in downtown Grand Marais.

For decades, the historic Gunflint Trail entrance signs - located in downtown Grand Marais at the foot of 2nd Ave W. in front of the public library - have welcomed visitors to the Gunflint Trail.

These signs - a Voyageur holding a canoe labeled "Gunflint Trail" and a bear driving a motorboat - have become an iconic part of the Grand Marais landscape. The two signs are located on stone walls, believed to have been built by the Works Progress Administration in 1938.

Interestingly enough, it's been a long time since these entrance signs actually marked the official entrance to the Gunflint Trail. For years, the signs' location was three blocks east of the actual entrance to the Gunflint Trail. In the early 2000s, the official entrance to the Gunflint Trail was moved to the east end of Grand Marais. Nevertheless, these signs are important Grand Marais landmark and have been captured in countless postcards and tourist pictures.

Time has taken its toll on the signs. Lettering on the Voyageur's canoe that once was bright red has completely faded. Both signs are desperately in need of a new coat of paint and the stone wall also requires repairs.

The Gunflint Trail Historical Society has received permission from the Grand Marais City Council, which owns the signs, to undertake repairs. The GTHS will be partnering with the Cook County Historical Society to complete this project.The signs will be removed in Fall 2012 and painted over the winter. All repairs will be completed in Spring 2013.

We need your help to restore these signs to their original glory so that they can continue to welcome visitors to the Gunflint Trail for many years to come. Your donation will preserve a vibrant piece of Gunflint Trail and Grand Marais history.

"These signs are a historic piece of Americana that we cannot allow to fall into a total loss," said John Schloot, the GTHS Trustee organizing the project. "A few bucks today will keep them good for 10-20 years."

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