Boise Inc. has announced a celebration for employees and their community tomorrow to mark 100 years of paper manufacturing in International Falls.
“We honour the people who have worked in and around the International Falls mill for generations, helping shape the community and our company,” said Alexander Toeldte, president and CEO of Boise Inc.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will join community leaders at a celebration breakfast.
Congressman Jim Oberstar also will join the breakfast and a commemorative program, briefly breaking away from deliberations in the U.S. House of Representatives to attend.
Festivities include activity and display booths in Smokey Bear Park, followed by the commemorative program, community picnic, and mill tours.
At the turn of the 20th century, Minneapolis sawmill owner Edward Willington Backus viewed the powerful Koochiching Falls on the Rainy River and began to dream of what could be.
Workers from around the world came to build and work at the mill.
The first paper was made on June 6, 1910 and shipped to a newspaper in Great Falls, Mont.
The mill’s history is captured in a book, “The Mills at the Falls—100 Years of Papermaking on the Border,” by Bill Beck, which tells the fascinating story of how the people of the border country made Backus’ vision a reality during a century of challenge and opportunity.
Employees and retirees will receive copies of the book, and copies will be available for purchase through the Koochiching County Museum in the Falls.
Today, the mill at the Falls is the largest employer in Koochiching County, with 830 family-wage jobs.
Independent wood suppliers and specialized contractors add another 300 workers to area payrolls.
During its 100-year history, the mill has been regularly modernized.
It now has four paper machines, complemented by a coater and five sheeters that produce a combined 548,000 tons per year of office paper, and specialty, label, and release papers.