Collecting, preserving, and sharing the history of Lake County Minnesota since 1925.
The mission of the Lake County Historical Society is to preserve the history of Lake County, Minnesota through the preservation, study and interpretation of artifacts, documents, photographs and historic sites and to tell the story of our past and present culture.
The first meeting of the Lake County Historical Society was held at the Hotel Agate Bay on November 25th, 1925. With the mission to “collect, preserve, and disseminate information about the County of Lake and its Surrounding environs” the organization built and filled a display cabinet in the local library. Thomas Owens, pioneer railroader in the area, was elected first president of the Society by its eighteen charter members.
William E. Scott was elected Secretary in 1929 expanding the Society’s collection of documents and manuscripts which were indexed and bound. Through hard work and perseverance the dream of a permanent museum became a reality.
In June 1960, the Society opened its first displays inside of the Two Harbors Depot. In 1962, the Society opened permanent exhibit space and administrative offices inside of the building. In 1984, with the centennial celebration of iron ore shipping at Two Harbors, the museum expanded to cover the entire ground floor of the Depot, which the society operates to this day.
In 1988, the Society was granted a lease by the US Coast Guard and began to provide tours of the light station. In 1999, the Society appealed to Congressman Oberstar and through a bill passed in congress, the ownership of the Two Harbors Lighthouse was transferred to the Lake County Historical Society. The Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast opened in 1999 to provide support for the preservation of the buildings and grounds.
In 1991, the Society purchased the John Dwan building where the articles of incorporation of the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company, now known as 3M. A year later it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and opened as a museum narrating 3M’s early years. As part of a centennial celebration of 3M th exhibit space was redesigned to showcase the company’s 100 year history.
Today the Lake County Historical Society continues to collect, preserve, and share the stories of Lake County, Minnesota. Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on happenings and events at the Lake County Historical Society!
The Lake County Historical Society has two affiliated organizations:
80 Outer Dr.
Silver Bay, MN 55614
5653 Little Marais Rd
Finland, MN 55603