The annual Twin Ports Festival of History celebrates the heritage of the Twin Ports region and the world and features events in Duluth, Superior, and Two Harbors. Running from March 30th to April 4th, the festival has many activities, including museum and archive open houses, history talks, lighthouse tours, and more.
The Two Harbors Public Library hosted two programs in their community room on Friday, March 31st. “Cup of History”, led by Dr. Steven Matthews of UMD’s Museum Studies, explored the history of the European discovery of America, as told by maps from the 16th and 17th centuries. Multiple Root Beer programs were also held for various age groups ranging from children to adults. These were led by the Dorothy Molter Museum Executive Director, Jess Endberg, and shared the story of Dorothy Molter, the “Root Beer Lady”.
The Archives Room of the Two Harbors Public Library had an open house from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., allowing visitors to explore the history of Two Harbors through archives such as photographs, newspapers, yearbooks, and microfilm. The library itself has a rather fascinating history, as I learned from visiting with Two Harbors Public Library Director Madeline Jarvis.
The Two Harbors Public Library was built to counteract the 22 saloons the small town (population around 600) offered in 1896. A small city library was created, kept in an office instead of an independent building, and boasted 481 volumes in 1897. In 1905, the library was moved to a room in the new city hall, and a Miss Anna Hanson was hired as a permanent librarian. Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was “richer than sin”, offered grants for libraries to be built, and in 1905, the city of Two Harbors and the library board began the process of securing funds for a “Carnegie Library.” In 1907, Two Harbors received a $15,000 grant from Carnegie, and a library was built, opening in 1909. Despite the beautiful space for adult readers, the children’s section was a last-minute thought, and the original children’s room was in the current archives room.
Other Twin Ports Festival of History events occurring in Two Harbors included a drop-in StoryCorps, a public conversation sharing stories on health and wellness, which was also held in the Two Harbors Public Library Archives room. At the Two Harbors Depot Museum and Store, there was an open house and a free shuttle to a tour of Lighthouse Point.
Local history is important to fostering a sense of community and place. Learning about the past can bring the present into focus. Local history emphasizes the fact that great historical change only comes about because of individuals who were dedicated to making a difference.
Thank you to our local resident-historians who are making sure our local history continues to be shared for generations to come.