Military Funeral
Military Funeral

Funeral Pvt Charles Nelson 1st area casuality WWI taken in Soudan

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last steam train into Tower 1953

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Railway Tracks
Railway Tracks

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Military Funeral
Military Funeral

Funeral Pvt Charles Nelson 1st area casuality WWI taken in Soudan

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TSHS Annual Meeting Tuesday September 21 5:30 p.m.

A Time to Remember: The Memorial for Soudan's Fallen Miners

Presented by James Pointer, Interpretive Supervisor at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park.

Buffet dinner by Chef Marko Stefanich and Pam Abrahamson $16 Reservation required by Sept. 17th

Please call 218-753-5021 and leave message.

Erie Mining Book

Available for Purchase $45

Tower-Soudan is known as many things...
  • the home of the first gold rush in Minnesota
  • Gateway to Lake Vermilion
  • home of the coldest day in the lower 48
  • Cradle of Iron Mining
  • First settlement north of Duluth

...yet some simply know it as home. 

Another great Charlemagne’s Attic Sale


will be held in the historic fire hall in Tower at 504 Main Street. 


September 10 and 11 at 9:00 to 4:00.


Added feature is Weird and Wonderful antique and vintage vendor from southern Minnesota with antiques, vintage jewelry, vintage lamps and seasonal mixed media. 


All proceeds are used to restore this fabulous historic city hall, jail and fire hall that tells the story of the early development of Tower, Soudan and the Vermilion Range.


Please Share!

For all Amazon shoppers. 


Please consider ordering through their charity program to support the Tower Soudan Historical Society.


It’s the same shopping opportunity as Amazon but just not on page. It’s still Amazon but on their charity shopping venue:


It doesn’t cost you anything. When you register on select

Tower Soudan Historical Society.


.5% is automatically donated to TSHS.


Purchase as you normally do. Just be sure you are on the smile venue.

Depot Museum Closed
Memorial Day
Weekend May 2022

Also available by appointment


Train Cars
Open Daily
Morning to Evening

404 Pine St

PO Box 465

Tower MN 55790

Cemetery Records


Cemetery Map


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Tower-Soudan Historical Society Receives $30,000

to Restore Tower’s Historic Fire Hall


The Tower-Soudan Historical Society has received grant funding to replace the roof on the Tower Historic Fire Hall located at 504 Main Street.  This was the first fire hall built on the Iron Range, in 1895, and is the oldest existing public building north of Duluth.


A $20,000 grant was made from the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Culture and Tourism Program through taxes paid by Minnesota’s mining industry, and a $10,000 grant was made from the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.  The roof replacement will eliminate water infiltration and deter further building deterioration.


The roof replacement project is Phase 2 of the rehabilitation plan.  Original doors and windows and doors were restored as Phase 1 in 2019. Phase 3 will rehabilitate and repair the exterior masonry, planned for 2023. A $100,000 grant was recently awarded for Phase 3.  An additional $40,000 is needed as additional match to a Minnesota Historical Society exterior masonry grant request due in September.  Your donation of any size would be appreciated. 


Please contact the Tower-Soudan Historical Society campaign co-chairs, Louise Gately, at 515-229-8757, or Nancy Larson at 218-750-7514, with any questions.  Donations can be mailed to the Tower-Soudan Historical Society, PO Box 465, Tower, MN 55790.  TSHS is a 501(c)(3) organization.  You can learn more about the Society at


Tower’s Historic Fire Hall tells the story of Tower as the first mining town on the Range, and offers the community a look into the social history of early iron ore mining in Minnesota. The hall was built in 1895 and includes a cistern that held 30,000 gallons of water, filled using a pipe that extended from the building to the East Two River.


The building housed the city hall and jail, in addition to the fire department. It was used as a community center for social activities for many years after city hall and jail were relocated in 1935. It was sold to a private party and leased to businesses after the Civic Center was built in the 1970’s.  It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in the theme of social history. 


The building, vacant from 2008 until 2015, was purchased by the Tower-Soudan Historical Society with support from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation. Its unique features tell a story of the early years of Tower’s development as the first mining boom town, when wooden structures were built on crowded lots in a city without water and plumbing infrastructure.  After a series of dangerous fires in 1891, city officials purchased a horse-drawn steam-powered fire engine built by the Ahrens Manufacturing Co. The steam fire engine, the “James Tippet”, named after the Tower mayor, served Tower and the surrounding area until it was retired in 1928.


The “Tippet” continued to be the featured attraction in Tower’s Fourth of July parade for many decades and will be the featured centerpiece in the restored historic fire hall.


The restored fire hall will serve as a museum to tell the story of the early days when the Tower Harbor was a transportation hub and bustling commercial center a hotel, outfitters, and a boat builder.  Steamboats ferried train passengers to logging camps and resorts which were only accessible by water, thus pioneering Minnesota’s resort and tourism industry on Lake Vermilion in the early part of the 20th century several decades before tourism became an important industry throughout the state of Minnesota.



2021 Board members are: Doug Workman-President, Nancy Larson-Vice-President, Linda Folstad-Secretary, Sharon Legg-Treasurer, Cookie Bonicatto, Barb Burgess, Corrine Hill, Pauly Housenga, Diane Meehan, Mary Shedd, Kathy Siskar.

Postcard of fire hall in color.jpg

***New Display Announced for Visitor Center at the Soudan Underground Mine. (See links next to Home button at top of this page).  More information is requested from the Public.

Tower Historic Fire Hall

Restoration Project


Tower, named for mining financier Charlemagne Tower who established Minnesota’s first iron ore mine, the city of Tower is the oldest Minnesota city north of Duluth and became the first mining town on the Range in conjunction with its sister community, Soudan, directly adjoining the Soudan Mine.  City growth and civic organization brought forth demands for a fire department, city government and law and order.  The fire hall played an important role in the region as the first fire station built on the Iron Range.  The building was constructed in 1895 for multiple city purposes initially housing the fire department, city hall offices and jail.  It was used as a community center for social activities after 1935 and sold in the 1970s.


Preserving the Historic Fire Hall will bring its story back to life as a museum, community gathering place and outlet for local artisans.  It will offer a new venue for people to learn about Tower and Soudan’s social history, and vital role in the development of the Vermilion Range and iron ore industry that has had a lasting impact in shaping our region’s industrial and cultural identity.


The fire hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and being restored by the Tower-Soudan Historical Society.  The original doors and windows have been restored and the roof replaced.  The exterior rehabilitation project is planned for 2022.  The Tower Economic Development Authority received a $100,000 grant through the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation for this Main Street revitalization project.  Private donations and multi-year pledges to support the restoration project are welcome. Donations are appreciated to the Tower-Soudan Historical Society, Historic Fire Hall Restoration Fund, P.O. Box 465, Tower, MN  55790.  TSHS is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by federal law.

The TS Historical Society

We are located in the Historic Depot at the western entrance of Tower. The grounds consist of the depot, steam locomotive engine, passenger car, mancar, caboose, and homesteaders’ cabin, all open to the public.


The depot itself houses a museum with hundreds of local artifacts and photos. It also serves as the information center for the Lake Vermilion Resort Association and the Lake Vermilion Chamber of Commerce.

The land, steam locomotive, coach and depot were donated by the Duluth, Mesabi & Iron Range Railroad Company for historical purposes, while the additional cars and cabin were acquired and restored through the hard work of local community members.