The Lake County Historical Society was established in 1925 to "collect, preserve and disseminate information about the County of Lake and Surrounding environs." Mr. Owens, a pioneer railroader in the area, was elected first President of the Society by the eighteen (18) charter members.
The Society continued to grow under the leadership of Mr. Owens and Mr. Scott who was elected Secretary in 1929. Through Mr. Scott's efforts thousands of documents and manuscripts were collected, indexed and bound. Later, Mr. Fowler, President and Secretary for many years, guided the development of the Society and the museum.
The society opened its first museum operation in the Duluth and Iron Range Railway Depot in 1960 through the generosity of the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railroad who donated the building to the County and remodeled it for use by the Society. Located within this building are over 4,000 square feet of interpretative exhibits highlighting the chronological historical development of the Region. Also the Society offices, archival and artifact storage facilities are located in the building.
The Society's collection of artifacts includes almost 3,500 separate items. There is a collection of almost 5.000 photographs, mostly from pre-1930 and over 150 feet of manuscripts and archival material. A Board of Directors governs the Lake County Historical Society. The Society also has an Endowment Fund, which is administered by a separate Lake County Historical Society Board of Directors.
The Society operates with four (4) full-time staff members, an Executive Director, an Administrative Assistant, a Gift Shop/Museums Operations Manager and a Maintenance person. Also four (4) part-time staff are employed year round for the B&B, taking evening reservations and bookkeeping. During the "high" season twelve additional part-time staff are hired to work at the historical sites.
The Society has three affiliates, Bay Area Historical Society (Beaver Bay and Silver Bay) , Finland Historical Society (Finland, MN) and the Toimi Community School and Wayside (Toimi , MN).
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