History of Lake County, 1800-1900

timeline1.jpg In 1854 the Treaty of LaPointe was signed opening up the north shore of Lake Superior to white settlement. Beaver Bay was the founded in Lake County in 1855 and served as the first county seat until developments at Agate Bay warranted moving the county seat to Two Harbors. Beaver Bay was first successfully settled by the Wieland Brothers who built a sawmill, a grist mill, and a tannery. The industrious Wieland families were supported by many natives in the area most notably the legendary John Beargrease, son of Chief Beargrease, who along with many other outstanding accomplishments was the pilot for the Wieland's schooner, Charlie.
timeline2.jpg Beaver Bay was one of the very few settlements all along the north shore to survive the Financial Panic of 1857. Many settlements with now distant names like Buchanan, Marmaba, Encampment, and Burlington were all but abandoned.

For many years several expeditions explored the mineral opportunities of northern Minnesota. Some of the earliest led by Christian Wieland out of Beaver Bay, led to the discovery of gold and silver bearing quartz fields touching off the Vermillion Gold Rush of 1865. Although no one struck it rich in gold, in 1868 a state surveyor named George Stuntz discovered an "Iron Mountain" on the southeast shore of Lake Vermillion.
timeline3.jpg Although the exploitation of this mineral deposit was post-poned by the U.S. Civil War and a second economic collapse in 1875, eventually Stuntzs' Iron Mountain would lead to the creation of Charlemagne Towers' Minnesota Iron Company and its holdings including the Duluth & Iron Range Railroad and the Bruiting Mine.
timeline4.jpg The 3 Spot locomotive arrives at Agate Bay to be the construction locomotive for the new Duluth & Iron Range Railroad in 1883.
timeline5.jpg In 1884, the first shipment of ore left Agate Bay, marking Minnesota's entry into the iron ore industry. In 1890, the Merritt brothers discovered the Mesabi Range further expanding the importance of iron mining on the economy of the region.
timeline6.jpg With the coming of Swedish and Norwegian immigrants to the North Shore, during the late 1880s, commercial fishing began on Lake Superior.
timeline7.jpg The Two Harbors Lightstation was built on Agate Bay in 1892.
timeline8.jpg 1896 saw the arrival of the Edna G in Two Harbors.
timeline9.jpg In 1899 the Alger Smith Logging Company headquartered in Knife River, and its railroad, the Duluth and Northern Minnesota began operations that would last for twenty years laying track into the most difficult terrain to harvest the old growth timber throughout Lake County. In addition to the Alger Smith many companies along the North Shore harvested timber through train logging. Many of the roads still in use today started as these early railroad grades.