The Tower-Soudan Historical Society Historical Center 404 Pine St. P.O. Box 465 Tower, Mn. 55790 Open Daily 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Daily Memorial Day to Labor Day 218-753-5021
We are located on about an acre of land at the western entrance to the city of Tower. The center includes a museum in the historic train depot. A steam locomotive, a railway passenger car, Caboose, and homesteaders cabin. The land, steam locomotive, coach and depot were donated to the City of Tower for historical purposes by the Duluth, Mesabi & Iron Range Railroad Company.
The Depot was built in 1915 through efforts of the city, the Historical Society, and the Tower Women's Club it has been kept in near original condition. The depot not only houses a museum with hundreds of artifactsand photos but also the information service for the Lake Vermilion Resort Association.
The Homesteaders cabin was located in the woods near Smart's bay on Lake Vermilion. It was built in 1915. It was brought to Tower in the winter by hauling it across the lake.
This year we celebrated the 125th anniversary of the first shipment of Iron ore from the Soudan Mine and the birth of Minnesota mining in Minnesota with our annual Depot Days event. This year was extremely successful and look for it again next year in June 2010.
RENT THE COACH OUT FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT BY CALLING 218-753-6060CLICK HEREFOR DETAILS
TOWER CEMETERY RECORDS ONLINE
There are on-going efforts to update this site and people doing research should check back periodically for newly posted information.
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Incorporated in 1884, is the oldest city north of Duluth.
First Family: The first white family to
take up residence in the vicinity of Tower was probably headed by
George E. Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler was a government agent at the Indian
Reservation and his wife was school mistress threre.
Survey the Townsite: George R. Stuntz
knew the Vermilion country better perhaps than any other white man,
excepting possibly the Wheelers. In l880 he was the principal guide,
explorer and advisor of Professor Chester and at the same time having
an important governmental commission, that of surveying the township.
Stuntz is credit with having surveyed the townsite of Tower in l882 for
the Minnesota Iron Company.
First Men to Arrive: The first
crew of miners did not leave Duluth until June 1882, however John Owens
was in Tower in April of that year. His job was to construct a sawmill
for the Minnesota Iron Company.
John Owens was also the first
building contractor in the area, working on the mill as well as company
buildings. The first independent contractor is said to be O. W.
Transportation Before the
Railroad: The Vermilion Trail between Duluth and Tower was no picnic.
It took three days and 2 nights to cover the more than 100 miles by
wagon. It was stated that only in the winter could teams be used. In
the summer, the swamps were many and long, and no horse could negotiate
the trail, so the only way north was by foot. Yet, at time there were
as many as 200 people at one time enroute for Tower and Soudan.
First Post Office: There was a
weekly mail service. The first post office was located in a log hut
southwest of the depot, John Anderson being the first postmaster. Mail
was brought from Duluth by dog trains driven by Barney Lynch.
Tower Incorporated: Tower was
incorporated as a village under the General Laws of the State of
Minnesota, which took effect on November 11, 1884. The first election
of village officers was held at the Cody House in Tower, a boarding
house erected by the Minnesota Iron Company and later known as the
First Village Officers: John
Owens, president; John G. Brown, John Sawbridge and James Bale as
trustees; Neil McInnis, treasurer; William N. Shepard, recorder;
Horace N. Blanchard and James W. Goss, justices and Michael O'Keefe as
First Council Meeting: The first council meeting was held in the office of James W. Goss on November 28, 1884.
First Marshal: On December 16, 1884, Michael O'Keefe was appointed village marshal at a salary of $50 month.
First Village Attorney: W. G. Bonham was appointed village attorney at at salary of twenty-five dollars a month.
Some of the Pioneers: Andrew Bystrom, Gus Bystrom, William Holter, M. Kellow and Ted Wheeler.
School History: A small schoolhouse was built in l885. A.W. Jones was the first teacher at a salary of $60 a month.
First Newspaper North of Duluth:
It was at Tower that the first newspaper of the Vermilion and Mesabi
ranges was started. The "Vermilion Iron Journal" was founded in l888,
by Dr. Fred Barrett.