two harbors mn minnesota
From the first shipment in 1884, iron ore had been the foundation of the city of Two Harbors. Gigantic lakers [ships that sail the Great Lakes; salties are ocean bound ships] continue to maneuver around the ore docks in Agate Bay, where the historic tug, Edna G. is docked. Stroll the Sonju Trail [details below] from the waterfront to the other bay, Burlington Bay, home of the town beach.
As the largest town on the shore, Two Harbors has a number of non-tourism related businesses and community events, which you may find interesting and are most welcome to attend. Stop at the R.J. Houle Visitors Center on the northeast end of town for up-to-date events. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, this log cabin was once the Cloquet Lake fire station; read more about it on the plaque just outside the center.
Mileage starts at the Duluth Lift Bridge
The uptown area of Two Harbors is strung along Highway 61 and includes shops, services, restaurants, motels and hotels, the headquarters for the Superior Hiking Trail and visitor information.
Walk from Agate Bay near the iron ore docks along a 1-mile paved walkway, the Sonju Trail, to Burlington Bay.
Agate Bay attractions include the Edna G tugboat, the Railroad Depot museum, the Two Harbors Lighthouse museum and gift shop, and working ore docks – watch ships enter the harbor, dock and load up with pellets. Skip stones, picnic and search for agates along the cobblestone beach of Burlington Bay.
Two Harbors and Lake County non-native settlers came primarily to work the mines, cut timber or commercially fish Lake Superior. Uncover about this aspect of history at the historic 1907 Duluth and Iron Range Depot. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Depot is a museum and home to the Lake County Historical Society and work-in-progress Judge William Scott Library.
This global business started in the leased space of one of the founders, John Dwan, which now houses the 3M Birthplace Museum. The original concept in 1902 was to mine corundum, a very hard crystallized mineral, and sell it to grinding wheel manufacturers out East. But the mineral turned out to be something softer and the business was sold in 1905 and moved to Duluth. Stop by the museum to find out what happened.
Open 11am-4pm, Friday – Sunday, May 27- October 22.
Minnesota’s oldest continuously operating city band plays every Thursday evening in summer at 7pm. Bring a lawn chair and savor some small town fun. The bandshell is located within the Thomas Owens Park, a lovely little green space for letting the kids run, eating an ice cone, or having a cuppa.
An informed and engaged community needs a gathering place where they can connect with each other and the wider world. The Two Harbors Public Library provides a welcoming space with a wide variety of resources in print and other media for the education and enjoyment of everyone – children, youth, and adults.
Open Monday through Friday at 11 am. Part of the Arrowhead Regional Library System
Visit the oldest operating lighthouse in Minnesota; on the National Register of Historic Places. Tour the Fog Horn Building, which focuses on fishing and shipwrecks, and a pilot house from the iron ore ship Frontenac. The light keeper’s quarters are now a B&B. The complex is part of the Lake County Historical Society.
The Civilian Conservation Corps [CCC] originally built this log cabin as a residence for the fire ranger at the tower in the Isabella Ranger District [north of Hwy 61 on MN Hwy 1]. The building was moved to Two Harbors in 1927 and is graced by Peter Toth’s Native American totem pole.
Stop in for tips and info.
Walk the Beach
Flood Bay State Wayside offers a nice long pebble beach. Amble, search for agates, wade, picnic, relax. The walkway to the beach goes through a wetland that is sometimes home to waterfowl, otters, and beavers. Offers a seasonal restroom.