This guy Dave over at Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want (PADWRailRoad) has a fantastic site on the history of the Port Arthur Duluth & Western Railway. He’s done an amazing job researching the railroad and the history of the area. I came across his site researching the Border Route trail. The particular site I link concerns a railroad that went down to Gunflint Lake during the turn on the century to support a logging operation. His full site is worth a read.
Also check out the book “Pioneers In the Wilderness; Minnesota’s Cook County Grand Marais and the Gunflint in the 19th Century” by Willis H Raff if you want an exhaustive history of the area dating back to white settlement times.