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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Erie Mining Book

Looking for last-minute Christmas gifts?  TSHS has this beautiful, hard-cover, award-winning book available locally in Tower-Soudan-Virginia and other range areas.  Purchase price is $45.  Contact Linda at 218 750-0193 to reserve your copy and arrange pick up.
-This book has 352 full-color pages with photos, maps, charts, graphs, and vivid text. 
-It contains recollections of former employees, family members, and people linked with the Erie Mining Company.
-It has a fold-out timeline of historical events and production statistics.
-Book purchase includes internet access to over 150 oral interview transcripts, company newspaper articles, photos, organization charts, and more!

Another great Charlemagne’s Attic Sale


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


Watch for Dates in 2022!!!


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.


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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. 
Depot Museum Closed
Memorial Day
Weekend May 2022

Also available by appointment


Train Cars
for the Winter

404 Pine St

PO Box 465

Tower MN 55790

Cemetery Records


Cemetery Map


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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.

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.



Tower-Soudan Historical Society Receives $285,618

to Restore Tower’s Historic Fire Hall


We are excited to announce that the Tower-Soudan Historical Society was awarded a $285,618 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant for the Tower Historic Fire Hall Exterior Rehabilitation! The funds were awarded through the Minnesota Historical Society.  This grant award fills the funding gap for the $425,000 project which will start in spring 2022.  TSHS had already secured $140,000 in funding for the exterior masonry project through the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, Tower Economic Development Authority, Minnesota Power Foundation, Mortenson Family Foundation, Frandsen Bank and Trust and your personal donations.

This past summer, the TSHS completed the roof replacement on the Historic Fire Hall located at 504 Main Street in downtown Tower. Replacing the roof has enabled the TSHS to open the Historic Fire Hall as a public venue for the Tower, Soudan and Lake Vermilion community which it began to do this past summer. 

This exterior restoration project is a continuation of achieving the goal of the TSHS to develop and offer the community an updated year-round facility wherein you will become familiar with the history of the Vermilion Range and Tower and Soudan’s vital role the development of the iron ore mining industry; an industry that has shaped our regional heritage.  Folks will learn why the communities grew and how the Historic Train Depot in Tower initiated the beginning of Minnesota’s resort and tourism industry on Lake Vermilion.

The TSHS plans to further develop the Historic Fire Hall into a history education center and also offer an outlet for local artisans, making it a unique destination-shopping/educational experience.  The TSHS will continue to sponsor a variety of community pop-up events like the History Talks on Main Street offered this past summer.  The monthly Charlemagne’s Attic Sales, History Talk series and tours of the jail and city/fire hall will continue throughout summer 2022.   

The TSHS is currently requesting donations to install restrooms in the Historic Fire Hall so more public events can be held in the building.  Please consider making a donation!

TSHS is a 501(c)(3) organization that operates the Historic Train Depot Museum and Visitor Information Center at Tower’s western entrance; and is restoring the Historic Fire Hall History Education Center. Multi-year pledges to support preserving and sharing the history of our area can be made by contacting Nancy Larson at 218-750-7514 or Louise Gately at 515-229-8757, or at  Donations of any size can be mailed any time to the Tower-Soudan Historical Society, PO Box 465, Tower, MN 55790 or through PayPal by linking to our website 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.



2022 Board members are: Nancy Larson-President, Doug Workmann-Vice-President, Linda Folstad-Secretary, Diane Meehan-Treasurer, Cookie Bonicatto, Barb Burgess, Linda Haugen, Pauly Housenga, Elli Larmouth, Kathy Siskar, Jayne Sundeen.

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.

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.